Some transitions have been constantly disrupting organizations, communities and markets for the last few decades: internationalization, innovation, crises, organizational changes…
These transitions do not occur at random. They are essentially caused by globalization and follow patterns.
Understanding and managing them gives us a major competitive advantage and most of all, leverage.
Please find below some pointers to what can be done.
Globalization is not limited to the disappearance of trade barriers.
It involves concrete, clearly identified processes, that affect management, team building, organization, strategy or personal fulfillment.
We can take advantage of these changes if we understand them, and this usually requires outside help (training, advice…).
The rules of globalization are not always visible through conventional filters (marketing, sales strategy, human resources policy, research & development…).
Moreover, decision-makers are often overwhelmed by their operational duties and cannot complete analyzes themselves.
One of the key rules is to move. Not moving in a changing environment is actually backtracking, or drowning.
Globalization is a transition from one state to another. Its local speed depends on many criteria (sectors, connection to the global economy, history…).
Nobody knocks at a company’s door to announce: “this is globalization, we are going to change your customers’ behavior, your employees’ mindset, massively introduce new technologies, turn your strategy upside down and unleash competition”.
The evolution is progressive. We often prefer to view globalization accidents (bankruptcies, crises, layoffs, takeovers, brutal strategic disruptions…) as the result of fate or strategic mistakes.
Globalization is not just a matter for international traders. All chains of value, organizations and sectors are affected.
The disruptions caused by globalization can take various shapes
- Clashes between departments, positions, hierarchical levels
- Race against the clock
- Sudden change of behavior from partners or customers
- New players (suppliers, competitors, stakeholders, partners…)
- Loss of control over a business, sector, department, quality, technology
- Confusion over the strategy or its implementation
- Increased workload unconnected to results
- Vulnerability to forced mutations (international, standards, performance, technology…)
- Endless changes.
Working more is not enough. Things can get worse if we try to progress only by increasing the workload.
After a while, there is no more room for maneuver and it is even harder to change tack.
We often see things coming. We know that we need to learn languages, that a technology is doomed, a competitor is getting stronger or a customer bound to disappear.
Solutions stems from analysis, collective approaches, involvement of experts and third parties, rather than brute force.
Executives and leaders are prepared for years, before and during their career, to take up challenges and get personally involved to secure the success of their missions.
It is thus often harder for them to take a step back and question the work there are fully involved in.
Many of their co-workers are not prepared for these situations and get hit hard by globalization. Managers need to help and lead, but sometimes they do not know how to do it.
If we want results (energy, money, time), we need to invest.
Transitions increase this investment. Globalization generates gigantic changes that we have to accommodate.
An organization cannot operate today with the investments required for a static environment. Work has to be done to deal with the challenges, and there is no free ride.
Competitors face the same challenges.
Performance is not about limiting expenses, it is about maximizing returns.
The challenges of transitions are real, overcoming them is not business as usual, it required genuine efforts, but conversely using the right methods will generate positive outcomes.