The business world has changed. No longer are businesses tied to one location or even one country. With this being the case, the questions then become:
- How does one keep up with a global economy?
- Are our business executive, managers, leaders able to meet what is demanded of them?
- Do we understand how to manage a workforce from a different culture, how to motivate those in another country?
Gone are the days of large local companies being situated where you can keep an eye on your employees and greet each by name. And even your customers are no longer in your general area or even just a few states away. Being a leader of a global business requires a different skill set in addition to the traditional skills we associate with leadership. For those that find themselves as managers and leaders in a global company, here are some important skills that will be critical to your success.
An Understanding of Cultural Diversity
Time must be spent in learning who you are conducting business with and what they will expect of you. You must understand their beliefs and how they will differ from others. It may be difficult to do, but in many instances, this understanding is the key to successful business. You may be called on to tolerate deep-seated beliefs that are the polar opposite of your own. A failure to do so leads to vanishing opportunities.
Conducting business with those from other cultures demands an understanding of cultural courtesies and faux pas. Depending on where you are and what you are dealing with, failure to follow local traditions and customs can be extremely insulting to those you are trying to work with. Common actions, such as touching someone with the left hand or sticking chopsticks into rice, could be taken as offensive behavior. Experience will lend you the knowledge to avoid making such mistakes but a great business leader in the global arena must have the interest to learn.
Thinking in Terms of a Global Strategy
It is imperative to have a global perspective as a global business leader. When it comes to managing the business, you must consider economies other than you own, and consider how they will impact your business, but more importantly, your employees. To make the best decisions for your company, you must have a deep and clear understanding of how business works on the global scale.
Create a Global Presence
You are working with people from around the world. They have to know who you are and that you can be trusted in your dealings with them. Creating a presence where you cannot physically be is one of the biggest challenges global business leaders face. If possible visit your team on a regular basis. A face-to-face meeting will go ten times further for motivation and education than a conference call or video chat. Little things like learning how to properly greet your employees or clients in their native tongue can go a long way towards establishing your presence as well. Creating a global “presence” as a leader may be difficult, but it is arguably one of the most important tasks at hand when unifying a global team.
Leading a global business or department is a demanding, and often times presents unexpected and unanticipated obstacles. However, by following the tips above, and continuing to invest time in developing a global mindset, you will truly find success on a global scale.