The challenges for corporates associated with thinking global are many. One major pain area faced by leaders today is finding and keeping the right talent! We know for a fact that there are many brilliant executives with tremendous potential in today’s corporate world. But despite being technically sound and seemingly confident, they often fail to speak up and stand their ground when confronted with their global counterparts. The culture scapes within which this workforce has grown up inadvertently shadows their expertise and competence. Yet many organizations have realised where the gap lies. They are not equipping them with proper sails to stay afloat but instead hope that they will learn to swim when pushed into the deep sea.
The Real Issues
Don’t worry, not everyone is drowning. With increased pressure from global markets, a few companies have taken some initiative to provide their workforce with international skills. However, in my opinion, these have largely been limited to cross-cultural sensitivity training on language and etiquette, which are just the surface level enablers and are hardly sufficient. The real issues that need to be addressed for real growth and success are altogether different.
Deep Dive Into The Global Cultural Mindset
The journey from ‘orientation on cross-cultural sensitivity to ‘developing cross-cultural competence’ is a long one. What is required is a deep dive into the global cultural mindset and familiarity with the core values of a nation to connect and interact meaningfully as international equals and negotiate business deals confidently across the borders.
To quote an example here: Walmart tried selling trendy products with a short life in Germany, a country like which holds in high regards its value for quality and longevity. No wonder they failed to make a mark even though they are extremely successful in the USA, where variety and novelty are valued.
Developing Global Talent Is Non-negotiable
As is evident from this example, culture plays a big role to be effective in global markets and therefore, we can no longer afford to mask the need on the pretext of availability of time or people. That would be as naive as cutting a tree without sharpening the axe. If it is important, it has to be a priority. Developing global talent is non-negotiable. Fortunately, technology is a huge enabler and can be optimally leveraged to achieve this with minimal impact on business.
As quoted by Greg Gunn, “It’s not a choice for our business whether or not we can be global-we have to be.”