Matrix Management / People and purpose / Virtual Teams

What happened in 1994 that changed leadership practice

1994 was a memorable year for many reasons.

  • The Channel Tunnel, connecting the UK and France, opened to the public
  • Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa, after the end of apartheid and the first multiracial elections
  • The FIFA World Cup was held in the USA, and Brazil won their fourth title by defeating Italy in a penalty shootout
  • The popular sitcom Friends debuted on NBC, and became one of the most successful TV shows of all time
  • The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East
  • The first ever PlayStation console was released in Japan on December 3, and revolutionized the video game industry

In 1993 the European Union had established it’s single market – abolishing border controls between member countries, and launching free movement of people, goods, services and capital. This stimulated a huge wave of integration of European businesses, moving from single country focused organizations to European ones. Suddenly it was both easier and more necessary to coordinate across geography; international, remote and matrix working became much more common.

As a manager at Mars Inc in the early 90s, our founder Kevan Hall was living in Strasburg in France (a Brit enjoying freedom of movement – remember that?) and operating as part of a global team. He was travelling every week, reporting to a steering group of HR directors (think herding cats), leading a remote team and encountering new cultures as Mars started to build businesses in Eastern Europe after the fall of communism.

The technology to enable remote working was rudimentary. Teams relied heavily on e-mail, telephone and travel. Video conferencing existed but wasn’t in widespread use or very capable. Kevan’s personal travel budget in 1993 was just under €200,000 at today’s values, it was pretty inefficient and tough on family life, but (on balance) a lot of fun.

He thought there must be a better way and tried to find training in this new way of working for his team, but it didn’t exist. After complaining for about 6 months, he realised this was a gap in the market and decided to start Global Integration by launching the world’s first remote and virtual teams training. It was an immediate hit.

1995 to 2000 was the technology / boom, fuelled by the widespread adoption of the Internet. Many of today’s most successful technology companies started to grow outside of their home markets and to develop overseas operations. We helped them build new international management capability.

Since then we have expanded into most industry sectors and geographies, training hundreds of thousands of participants and working with hundreds of leading organisations focusing on remote, hybrid and virtual teams, matrix management, and finding purpose and engagement in a complex world of work.

Our training and books have helped people cut out unnecessary travel and meetings, take ownership for their own clarity, empowerment and engagement, and build confidence and capability in navigating increasingly connected and complex organizations.

In 2024 we are celebrating our 30th Anniversary with a series of blogs and activities. Keep reading our blogs for opportunities to get involved over the next few weeks.

And if you have worked with us over that period, thank you, we plan to be around for the next 30.

Educate yourself further with a few more or our online insights:

30 years of experience learning with a range of world class clients

We work with a wide range of clients from global multinationals to recent start-ups. Our audiences span all levels, from CEOs to operational teams around the world.  Our tools and programs have been developed for diverse and demanding audiences.

View more of our clients
Two woman talking with a cup of coffee

Tailored training or off the shelf modules for your people development needs

We are deep content experts in remote, virtual and hybrid working, matrix management and agile & digital leadership. We are highly flexible in how we deliver our content and ideas. We can tailor content closely to your specific needs or deliver off the shelf bite sized modules based on our existing IP and 30 years of training experience.

For more about how we deliver our keynotes, workshops, live web seminars and online learning.

Discover our training solutions