Corporate globalization these days is a common objective for many organizations that are trying to build a legacy of international expansion. In order to execute global strategy, companies need to assess talent, culture, capabilities, and structure that allow them to serve their customers and meet shareholders expectations. Knowing this background, companies that are experimenting a hyper growth and/or are targeting international expansion in emerging markets, are facing common people challenges (who are responsible to implement business strategy, serve customers and drive innovation) on how to attract, developed, retain and engage talent across global operations with an impact in organizational effectiveness and financial results.
One of the big questions is how to manage globally if there are many cultures, countries, and ways to do business in different developing economies?. For instance, a company can have a strong North America leadership team, however, if they do not have any exposure to other cultures or experience managing without boundaries, the risk of failing to design and implement a global strategy is high since local strategy doesn’t necessarily work and or match global scalable operation’s needs.
Based on my experience, in this article, I want to focus on how you, as a senior leader, needs to focus to make sure you succeed leading managing globally:
1. Be surrounded by the right people:as a senior executive, you have to be aware of your strengths and areas of opportunities. At the same time, you need to be surrounded by people that know the new markets that would allow you to understand local business requirements and have insights about local differences in how people are motivated, developed and compensated. For example, motivational aspects in South East Asia are totally different than Europe. You need to understand those cultural differences to make sure you understand the employee life cycle in order to support organic growth
2. Manage by building trust and credibility:there are many decisions and projects that are not going to be the priority for other executives within your organization. Hence, you need to create “network relationships” and become an “office politician” to be able to influence others. At the same time, you need to build credibility across different level of management and internally within your team. Make sure to spend some time understanding the company’s value creation (especially if you are new). In addition, develop what is call “emotional and psychological mindsets” so you can understand different realities and cultures. Finally, make sure you understand the corporate cultural aspects to assist you in navigating policies and building strong relationships.
3. Engage your team and celebrate success together:alignment is critical for your success, the only way to do it is dedicating time in your agenda to build a team, understand their needs, aspirations, and motivations. You are there to give them support and to create a “collaboration mindset”. Spend time understanding their local operations and partner with them if they do not understand how to execute projects within their regions or simply need support. Remember that you are going to deliver results through your team and their engagement is critical. Be a people leader, not their boss.
4. Be open to listen and learn:culture and business practices can be different at any organization, having experience in other regions and/or organizations does not guarantee success in your new role. Local law regulations and cultures can be different; for example, Argentina employment (an unionized culture) is completely different than the US employment (where employment at will is the king). In addition, be honest about your expertise and share it with your team. They will understand that you need them to be successful but also, they can see that you can be open and honest and willing to learn from them. Make sure you canalize their experience and energy to achieve team accomplishments and enjoy success. Keep in mind that to execute projects you need the right talent and if they trust you, things are going to move forward easily. Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about your team.
5. Lead by example:people follow leaders, they get inspired by them and most of the time are willing to do more than the “extra mile” to show commitment and engagement to the company and the team leader. They are always looking at you to see how you engage them, how you support their growth and success and how the organization sees you. Make sure you practice what you preach. Be the example. Respect people differences and give them the attention and consideration that they deserve to build a high performance and engaged team.
Follow these basic tips and think about to modify progressively your “people leadership style” and you will see how you gain the trust and confidence with your team and across the organization.
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Albert Loyola is Managing Partner with Ignite Organizations, a talent and organization consulting firm. He serves as a trusted advisor to leadership teams on future workforce strategy, HR technology capabilities and integrated talent and HR solutions, he enables clients to address their future workforce needs and lead change in the face of digital transformation.
Albert is a People Technology Advisor & Speaker on the Future of Work, Employee Experience, Design Thinking and Artificial Intelligence in HR. His work has been featured on different business and HR tech magazines. Albert holds a Master Degree from Cornell University, in Human Resources