GLABB – something not only at the very foundation of my company, but of who I am as an individual. Having spent over 25 years in global business, I feel somewhat qualified to speak from my experience and knowledge as I have worked with and for some of the most well-known global companies around the world leading Global Service Operations. As I continue to talk with clients through the years about the true essence of global leadership (GL) and how it translates into real business results, I am continually intrigued by the variations and perceptions associated with the term Leadership. I started this series describing my definition of the word “Global“… so now what do I mean by “Leadership”, in context? An overused, ambiguous term to be sure… However, when used purposefully, the word leadership is very distinctive… and very powerful.
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I was recently speaking at a conference and I was asked about a term that is near and dear to who I am – Leadership Across Boundaries & Borders. You will see (or hear) it in almost everything I do – you will hear me refer to it when I speak publically… in general conversations… and when I write. You see it on my blog header… on our membership site (The Global LABB or GLABB)… and on our corporate site, as well. Although I refer to “Leadership Across Boundaries & Borders” frequently, this was the first time I can remember that an audience member stood up and asked about LABB in a public forum. I found this so interesting – it is so much a core part of my being… yet I realized I had never stopped to actually define it for others outside of myself and those closest to me. I have been unfair. I will try to remedy my faux pas through not only explaining my terminology as a core component of myself, but also by defining each piece of it from my view of the world over the next few weeks.
So, I will begin by talking a little about history and about the definition, my definition, of Global…
Those of you who have followed me from the early days know I have had a very unique and fortuitous background. My “global career” actually started at a fairly tender age. My father, a Fire Chief, began moving our family around the world – exposing us to language, food and all manner of culture when I was just twelve years old (and I was none too appreciative at the time!). We did not typically live with other Americans – we lived with the locals… as the locals (again, not perceived as a plus as a teenager). In Spain, we played with the local children in the abandoned plaza de toros and ate in the local ventas, while in the Philippines we hiked deep into the jungle with the aborigines, exchanged candy for hand-made weapons and attended indigenous festivals in the local villages… just a few examples. I unknowingly learned what it meant to be a global citizen and what it was to See The Forest Through The Trees… forming my earliest impressions of local innovation, and how, when taken in context, it can be leveraged for global knowledge. I understood and integrated with the local flavor, while realizing the value of global scalability. Funny how things you learn come back into focus again and again throughout your life if you pay attention… Continue Reading…
When my daughter, Savannah, was in elementary school she was quite the know it all and acquired the nickname “Google” because she would start nearly every sentence with, “Did you know…” followed by whatever fact fell from her rather significant brain and out of her very pretty, little mouth. Still today, she is not so different… if occasionally more contained.
As I think about our world today, how we are made up, and the rapidly expanding global marketplace, perhaps we (a little like Savannah) have become Google incarnate:
Google is a vast pool of knowledge – broader and deeper than most of us can even begin to fathom – while, as humans, we are a vast pool of diversity and complexity that spans the globe. We take in information, aggregate it… and determine how we will present it (or not). That is not to say we necessarily understand it…
Innovation is the catalyst to growth. Innovation means doing something different, smarter or better that will make a positive difference. Innovation applies to every aspect of your business – you can be innovative with products, services, methods or business processes. Innovation is free and unlimited – if you actively tap into it as a leader.
Incorporating innovation into your business can help you save time and money, and give you the competitive advantage to grow and adapt your business in the marketplace. Because innovation refers to making things better, it can significantly increase the likelihood of your business succeeding. Research (and real life examples) have shown that businesses that innovate create more efficient work processes and have better motivation, productivity and performance overall.
The customer experience today is a battlefield in the global marketplace, as well as one of the only truly sustainable sources of competitive advantage. Today’s customers share their opinions around the clock and around the globe, making the customer’s experience central to your business performance. The obvious truth is that it doesn’t take many bad experiences to lose a customer.
In a recent global customer experience study by AchieveGlobal, 93% of companies said they would refuse to do business with a company again after three or fewer bad experiences. Multiple sources indicate businesses can lose 20-30% of their revenue from poor customer experiences – yet many fail to focus on the their customer experience strategy, creating a global performance chasm.
The Customer Experience Does Drive Your Business Results
Every organization is comprised of people with different worldviews. It is inescapable – recent statistics indicate upwards of 90% of business’ have a culturally diverse workforce. What does this mean for you as a leader? It means… You Can Run, But You Cannot Hide. It means… if you want to succeed, Cultural Integration should become a critical component of your business strategy.
We all have different worldviews based on our various life experiences. In today’s business environment, bringing people from different backgrounds together and appreciating the diversity of viewpoints and perspectives in a cohesive way becomes very complex. Cultural Integration is really, in its simplest form, about bringing those diverse people together to leverage the unique strengths of the individual parts to create a stronger, more competitive whole.
So what can you do to build Cultural Integration into your organization?