Friday, October 05, 2007

Being 'born global'

From "What Makes a Global Leader?":

...They are driven by technology that requires them to expand in many countries at once. They need scale economies; they need first-mover advantages. The Apple iPod is an example. Any place that has computers understands the iPod immediately." Companies that are born global, he adds, "tend to have high-tech products that immediately find acceptance in many different cultures and societies. The differences in selling across countries is not as important as they might be if you are selling toothpaste or packaged food or clothes."

And what is the key trait that defines such a global mindset? According to Black, it's inquisitiveness. "When in a new country, high-potential global leaders seek out new experiences. They want to try the local food, not the internationalized cuisine at some five-star hotel. They pick up the local newspaper; they talk to local residents."

...Shell rotates high-potential managers through positions in various aspects of the enterprise, including overseas postings, so that "by time they hit 40 and want to enter senior management, they have in their mind's eye what it looks like to be in an oil field in Nigeria when the call comes that there's been an explosion and the local mayor wants to shut the operation down," says Useem.

Useem recalled sitting down several weeks ago with Indian executives and asking how they rated Indian leadership talent compared to U.S. and European talent. "The essence of their answer was that it is good, but they primarily have people who have worked only domestically, in India. By contrast, they saw that in European firms, nearly everybody in middle to senior management had worked outside of their home countries,"
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