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As CEO off a small business in the domain of hardwood flooring I cannot consider my company to be a global one. We certainly sold in the past years to United States but we don't do business there anymore. We only export to western Canada and this can still brings us some problems in managing physical distance, logistical chain, time lag, and also some differences in local environment that can affect the quality of installation because the weather is different. Also the workforce is different, they have less skilled people than in Quebec and this brings some training problems and complaints that should not happen. So even thought I cannot consider myself working in a global environment I face in a limited scale some of the problems that can arise when you go global. In this paper I will explain first what I think how managers face in today's global environment. In this process I try to project myself in a more global situation based on my personal view of globalization and my personal reflection before and following our week in Argentina. I will explain why it is important to develop skills in a global management which can be express as Worldly mindset. I position myself in stating that having a worldly mindset is and will be a competitive competitive advantage in today's economy.
A company can be global without being worldly, but my pretention is that to be successful in the future, multinational corporations cannot just be global. They have to have some level of worldliness in their organization, at least to be in the leading ones. Multinational-company executives who set strategy in emerging markets need to stop saying that those markets may someday be at lest as important as drivers of consumption as they are platforms for low-cost manufacturing or services- and to start acting as if that day was near. (Lowell Bryan , June 2010). It is an important part of a worldly mindset, it's not just something in the brain it's something in action. In this essay, I am going to show that being worldly is a necessary ingredient to being successful, both at the individual and the corporate level. In particular, I am going to concentrate on the concept of worldliness in the business field. Most of the companies that succeed nowadays have clearly set goals and objectives, and have devised systems which enable them to keep up with competition. Globalization has helped many of these large corporations to spread out and infiltrate other markets, but this is not the main reason that has enabled the best them to perform so well. The main reason, as I am going to adumbrate, is the worldliness that the managers of these corporations have and utilize.
The latest shift in economic paradigm has brought a profound change in the business world. The markets have become extremely competitive, and this has called for the increased aggressiveness in infiltrating diverse markets. Companies are coming up with new ways of running business and trying to out-do their competitors. One of the latest trends that is taking place, so that the companies can achieve that objective, is globalization.
Globalization has made the world seem like a small community by melting national borders and facilitating economic integration (Passaris, 2006). It has also enabled many corporations have an edge over their competitors due to the increased market share. These corporations are able to thrive in an unpredictable environment because of their increased resources. They are able to exploit most of the opportunities available, hence they continue to grow.
These companies utilize their workforce and encourage the employees to create synergies that will propel them to higher heights. For this to continue to happen, companies need to develop the right mindset. This correct mindset will involve looking at the business environment from a worldly perspective. If the employees are not motivated enough, then the performance of the firm is likely to deteriorate. This can be devastating to any business, regardless of its size. The people involved in it, therefore, should have the right attitude and must be competent in their undertakings. This calls for the formation of a pragmatic solution by managers who should steer the company in the right directions. These managers, according to Henry Mintzberg (Henry Mintzberg 2009), need not be overqualified; they should be normal and clear-headed.
A careful study of business internalizations shows that businesses who succeed enter various markets after a thorough and meticulous research on how they are going to trade in those markets. If a business finds out that it will not have any clients in a certain area, due to some factors such as cultural background or religion, then the business will either experiment with a different product or will desist from entering the market altogether. The former is not likely to occur naturally since must companies like dealing with a particular product alone, especially in globalization. This implies that the product dealt with is homogenous and this tends to limit the company in its expansion. This is one of the factors that hinder many large corporations from infiltrating more markets. This limitation, however, can be overcome by having a worldly view about business (Henry Mintzberg, 2009).
Managers, of small and large companies all around the globe , have now started investing in consumer satisfaction and employees welfare programs. This has helped the employees to become more motivated, and hence there has been an improvement in production. Consumers have also derived more satisfaction from the products offered and have become loyal to these companies especially with the branding. Managers who are myopic in their views are not likely to succeed in the turbulent and rapidly changing environment that has engulfed the business world. This calls for a change in their attitude and world view so that they can articulate a program that will enable them to face the increased competition (Passaris, 2006).
Most corporations have expanded their business mostly due to technological advances. Managers have come to learn that in order to maintain their hold in the market, they would need to come up with well defined plans. This calls for good entrepreneurial and management skills (Passaris, 2006). The people who are not able to step up will most likely close their business in the near future. Because of this notion, businessmen are getting out of their comfort zones and diversifying their business to include new products. This means that they adopted a worldly mind set which will enable them face the competition.
Worldliness in the business
From the ongoing, it has come to light that globalization is most successful if it is backed by a sense of worldliness. This implies that managers should have the right mindset that will propel them forward. They should be able to face the stiff competition that has risen, and even out-do it. Also, they should not be limited to certain levels; they shouldn't feel as if they have to conform to certain capacities or standards. And finally, they should be able to use their diverse experiences to influence decision making and also create more opportunities.
Many managers who have engaged in business have found the idea of being worldly an invaluable asset even thought they don't use the word. They have been able to deal with more people and even expand their customer base. This is because they have acquired extensive experience, and have used it to influence other people. They, most of the time, use this experience to encourage employees to work and reach out to more clients. This in turn expands the business and keeps everyone happy and satisfied (Henry Mintzberg , 2009).
The idea of being worldly, and the success that arises from it, is not only confined to business. This means that it can be viewed from another perspective: from an individual point of view. Most of the individuals who succeed in life have diverse experiences. This implies that they are not limited to what they can do. They are able to interact with people from other cultures and racial backgrounds, and create a good rapport with them. This camaraderie that sprouts from such interactions can be a source of immense opportunities, both financially and socially.
Managers have come to the conclusion that they need a proactive system that will expedite the production process while at the same time, make sure that whatever is produced is sold. This will ultimately make the companies perform better than before and more importantly, better than their competitors. This system would need a careful plan formulated by a clear-headed manager with the ability to lead a team. This manager would have to have an international mindset (Passaris, 2006).
Since the dawn of the twenty-first century, managers have realized that globalization alone is not the key to succeeding in business. They knew that there was something arcane that made business successful and they wanted to get it. The search for that tacit knowledge should end up revealing that what they are missing is the worldliness aspect that enriches successful business ventures. They should notice that most of the people who engage in well-renowned business have a worldly view about life. These people are down to earth, and yet they are very diverse in their experiences and capabilities. They have good public relations skills and could easily influence other people. This should enable managers to have a better understanding of investment and how to run a business.
It is now evident that the private sector is running most of the businesses while the public has shrunk behind ( Pressaris, 2006). This, in effect, has made the competition to become very stiff since the companies are competing in the same markets. This means that the companies that will live to see the end of the day will have to have an edge over the others. This is very hard, and even though globalization offers a solution, the solution is, at best, a provisional one. In the end, the companies that will remain standing are the ones where the managers are thinking outside the box. These are the companies that have embraced a worldly view of the business environment and hence will be able to adapt to changes and face the challenges head on.
A case study
A good example of a case where this aspect is used is in a business that my friend engaged in. He, Yvan, is a partner in a engineering consulting firm. Several years ago in participated in a venture helped by CIDA and opened an air pollution control division in Philippines. Since that period the business was not so great but enough to continue and stay there. Years after, one of the person who helped him open his division there approached him to be partner in a new business, selling service of coffee delivery in this country. The business model is now so successful that according to some sources they are be the second coffee provider in Philippines after Starbucks. What makes them different? First both partener coming form Québec have a different view of how to treat people when working and dealing with them, compared to Japanese by example. They are more respectful of being fair with them. They first started by having just franchisees which they support with not only first quality product but also with marketing, CRM and training. There business model is different since there locations don't have seating, they deliver to apartment and offices where there franchisees have there equipment on the first floor. One day a supplier disappeared with there stock. After that day they decided to have there own chain of supply. So now they have several millions of coffee trees planted. It's in that part of the business that they say they differentiate the most. Even thought Philippines is a producer of coffee from a very long time. These Canadians strangely brought expertise to improve the quality and yield of the plantation because one of the partner gained experience in South America. They also implemented a different type of partnership with the workers. They pay a fair salary instead of negotiating hard and squeeze producers every year. In that way they have steady quality supply. They bring expertise by themselves but also because the have a put up a partnership with specialists from a university. It's a win-win situation since they gain support in developing new crops and testing the products. They give subsidies for children of people working for them to go to university. There business is so successful that they are in the process to do an IPO to sustain there growth.
To me it's a perfect example of a worldly mindset. How could you imagine that two Canadians could have a so great success in having a chain of coffee shops in Philippines , teach people there how to improve their production and control the whole chain of supply without that openness. I can surely say that coming from Québec and having some experience elsewhere on the globe brings to the table a different view of how to do things. And in a sense they are up to the beat of some aspect of the market that ask more fair trade. The business is very promising due to the worldliness by which they have been doing it. Now, they have managed to employ several hundred workers who are very committed to their work. They (workers) are very satisfied with their job because they make them feel as if they are more of colleagues and less of workers. They also pay them on time and this keeps them motivated. This a typical aspect of a worldly mindset. And up to now seems to be a competitive advantage for them.
The idea of worldliness has worked for Yvan, who is an entrepreneur, at the individual level. It has also worked for him at the corporate level. Yvan and his partner had an international mindset when they started the coffee firm and after the plantations. This doesn't mean that they wanted the company to be global, nor does it mean that he didn't want it to. It simply means that they had a worldly view about the company.
Yvan is not the only one who has used this idea and made it big in the rapidly changing economic environment. There have been numerous cases of people succeeding in their own businesses after developing the right mindset. Schumpeter has develop long time ago the theory around the idea that innovation and technological changes come from entrepreneurs. In today's time this idea could be applied to the idea of worldly mindset. This mindset is not restricted to certain areas; the entrepreneurs can engage in different areas which they had not planned for, before. However, this doesn't mean that they should blindly engage in any type of business. It means that these businessmen can do a careful research about a product and the market, and if the venture is viable, they can then engage in it.
Working in a foreign markets develop a more general ability to learn an learning to learn, first of all, to learn to act mindfully, i.e. to acquire particular local styles of action, secondly, to learn to make sense and to interpret. These two learning processes in turn develop action capacity and interpretive capacity of individuals. Subsequently, through interaction , dialogue , and participation in communities of practice with employees, individual interpretive capacity stimulates a collective or organizational action and interpretive capacities. Managers in charge for international expansion may not be able to have experience from all the markets, but enough that you have developed interpretive capacity and action capacity ( ability to reflect while in action, learn quickly and join in the context) which they can use in other markets. (Modestas Gelbuda, 2003). In the case of Yvan and his partner this is fully applicable and can be a good description of a worldly mindset.
Most of the managers nowadays should have a worldly view when it comes to business. Like I have illustrated in the above example, the idea of worldliness is not restrained to the individual level. It works at both levels: the individual and the corporate level. However, though the concept might seem rather easy, it is a bit trickier than it seems. Many corporations have not been successful because the managers did not have a worldly view. The individual cases of such companies are everywhere and I need not list them here. It's, however, important to note that many of the companies that have succeeded have used this concept, and used it well. By example in an article published in Mckinsey Quarterly (Jeff Galvin et al, 2010) we can see that a lot of top executives in American based multi-national corporations don't treat China with a worldly mindset. ``It's not impossible for a US based executive to develop the mind-set , gain the exposure, and stay sufficiently current on the Chinese market to make good, timely strategic and operational decisions,. But it's hard-which is why we believe more companies will need to place significant leader in China , as Wal-Mart didâ€¦``. (Jeff Galvin et al, June 2010). We have the example of a Irdelo Access a Dutch software company that moved its CEO and global headquarter in China. They even innovated in having a split dual core headquarters between Beijing and Amsterdam. This brings uniqueness in their way of thinking and is clearly a worldly attitude. They reports having very good results from that way of doing things,
From our trip in Argentina we learned that unions there are at the opposite of the worldly mindset. They are entrenched in their position , they know (ask discussed with Pablo Topet a union leader of the main confederation of unions: CGT) that the world is changing but they don't n act upon. They are in a wait and see position. This is an important aspect of the worldly mindset. It's not enough to be connected, have internet, CNN and all sort of sources of information. We are to fast to equate that our children are citizens of the world because they communicate everywhere in the world in matter of seconds. The worldly mindset is more that that. It's a concept of be connected in action. Like Yvan the entrepreneur who is a very good example of that connected action or this Dutch CEO. To the contrary some big global companies or unions like in Argentina lack a sense of worldliness. In an interesting article (Niron Hashari,, Tamar Almor, 2002) we can see there is new phenomena of born global companies, in particular with the ones in technologies. Is it a different way to internationalize or is it an extension of the application of the Uppsala model? Researchers and scholars will continue to debate about the topic. But to me these companies have a better chance to be up to the particularities of the world differences in markets, customers needs and best in class practices. Although again is the way to internationalize of the Google and Facebook are really so worldly ? Maybe not , they probably also have things to learn like in the example of Google in China, so be connected is again not probably the unique criteria to be worldly.
From the above, we note that there are two words that are occurring very frequently. These are globalization and worldliness. The two terms mean different things. The first term is used to refer to expansion of various companies to different parts of the world. The latter implies a start of mind - this state is achieved by a person after gaining a lot of experience so that he views the world in a different way.In this essay, I have asserted that globalization is limited. This can be improved by using a worldly view which will enable a person to diversify and experiment with other products and ways of doing things. I have also postulated that worldliness is not restricted to the individual person. It can also be used at the corporate level.
And this is this mindset that can be learn by local companies and entrepreneur like me. You don't have to be global to be worldly. For sure you cannot be worldly in this fast pace changing environment without being connected. But more important to use this knowledge to apply a worldly mindset to your local operation. In my own personal situation doing business in a different part of the country can be done a lot more efficiently if I use this mindset in my work. Is it so surprising since our country is large enough to equate tens of countries elsewhere in the world. And maybe living here and having top export could be a competitive advantage that I could use in a future opportunity to export in China.
Today's competitive environment is based more on capabilities than assets. New market dynamics can create more instability in the profitability of the companies. With new products, services and competitors emerging rapidly, competitive pressure is more intense and is harder for organisation to achieve market leadership and to stay on that position. Finally having a worldly view is a must for anyone who wants to succeed in life. It's not a choice. This is because it's the one ingredient that will propel anyone in the right direction, and also enable him or her face the stiff competition that exists in the business world of today.
Bryan Lowell, 'Globalization's critical imbalances', Mckinsey Quartely , june 2010, https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/home.aspx
Galvin Jeff, Hexter Jimmy and Hirt Martin, 'Building a second home in China', june 2010, https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/home.aspx
Gelbuda Modestas et al, 'Learning in the internationalization process: a case for organizational identity and interpretive capacity', paper presented at LOK conference , December 1- 2 2003
Hashai Niron, Tamar Almor, 'Small and Medim Sized Multinationals: The Internationalization Process of Born Global Companies.', September 2002
Mintzberg Henry, 'Managing', Berrett- Koehler Publishers, 2009
Passaris Constantine E (2006) "The business globalization and globalization of business":
Journal of comparative International Management July 4, 2010