By Kevan Hall, CEO, Global Integration
During my corporate career, I was managing a project for my company on how to develop global management skills and I thought I would start by asking companies who had been developing the skills of managing and leading in a global context for years.
I went to Paris to meet with the French head of global management development for a multinational oil exploration company. I asked him what was the “secret” of building a truly global management group?
He told me “No secret, there are just 2 simple steps.
- First – you recruit people around the world in proportion to your business, if 10% of your business is in Nigeria, 10% of your managers should be Nigerian. Nobody begins as a global manager
- Second – You mix them up. If they never leave their homes they never become global managers, send them on visits, expatriate assignments, put them in global teams and projects so they mix with their colleagues around the world and learn to be adaptable.”
“What next” I asked
Nothing” he replied “If you just do these 2 things, in no more than 50 years you will have a truly global management group.”
It as still one of the best answers I ever got to my question – though my boss was not happy when I told him it could take 50 years!
His basic message was a good one – recruit for diversity to match your environment and build experience and common ways of working to get things done
It takes time to develop a truly global mindset and management capability and, for companies relatively new to working internationally it can be a whole management generation before people with this global management capability work their way through to the top of the organization in sufficient numbers to really make a difference.