Nov 5

The world is changing


Ara Ohanian
CEO & Chief Happiness Officer

As borders become more porous and the internet enables greater reach, it’s tempting to see the effects entirely from your own point of view. For American organizations working internationally this has tended, in the past, to lead to “Americanized” management across the globe.

It doesn’t work anymore.

New research just released by Bersin & Associates reveals that highly-successful leadership varies widely and predictably country by country.

It seems the American way is not the only, or even the best, way in most of the world.

Bersin & Associates analyzed 30,576 leadership assessments from ten countries using the SHL data and leadership model. Results demonstrate that great leaders focus on different things in different territories.

What are the implications of all this for leadership development internationally?

Bersin say the crucial step is to build a strong set of global competencies and values but to allow individual countries to manage their businesses best to suit local conditions. They have a term for this : “the glocalization of business”.

Certainly my own experience of running a global company with international clients is that it’s impossible and ill advised to direct everything from the center. Both for ourselves and for our clients operating global learning implementations we use, where possible, a federated model where some things are set at the centre but where much control is seeded to our outlying territories. I always find I learn a lot from conversations with our offices in different parts of globe.

One implication I see from this fascinating piece of research is that almost certainly there is good practice lurking in the corners of every organization. Whether based in Manchester, Lyons or Chennai the manager will have something in his or her practice to benefit every other manager in an organization. So perhaps as well as setting central standards when we approach leadership training we should also build in social learning and communication between people internationally. There is a lot to learn about working in this highly connected world and we can learn it best and fastest from each other.

To read more about Bersin & Associate’s research “Global Leadership: Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Around the World please click here:

Thank you,
Ara Ohanian

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