Regardless of whether the head office is in Mumbai or Frankfurt, London or São Paulo, one of the biggest challenges of operating a global business today is effectively and consistently managing a diverse workforce across many countries and cultures. That challenge will become only more daunting as companies seek future growth by expanding into new markets, whether from West to East or from East to West. That’s because one critical consideration never changes: the need for talented, highly motivated and innovative people.
This theme is a thread common to a number of articles in this issue of Outlook. The cover story looks at the big picture as it explores what is required—the right talent in the right place, global leadership skills, a system of appropriate rewards, different kinds of organizational and governance structures—to create a unifying corporate culture and set of values while at the same time respecting local differences.
Other articles touch on this topic from different perspectives. One looks at the concept of “Intelligent Cities.” Given the extraordinary growth of urbanization throughout the world, cities will compete for talent just like companies do, and so they must become attractive places for people to live and work if they are to thrive.
Another article shows how high-performance businesses have developed processes to ensure that the best new ideas, no matter where in the global enterprise they originate, are part of the company’s strategic decision making.
The importance of cultural awareness extends beyond human resources policy to include business strategy, as seen in an article on the promising new opportunities for financial services companies in Africa. Here, caution the authors, business models adapted to local needs are far more likely to succeed than traditional models imported from the West.
Local credibility matters in a multi-polar world, and at all levels of an organization. I hope you find this reading insightful as you continue on your own growth journey.