Global Leadership

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Fighting the “Headquarters Knows Best” Syndrome

Belief that headquarters knows best can be damaging to the long-term success of a company operating in global markets. One company’s solution: a decision to operate out of dual headquarters, in the Netherlands and China. “No longer a prisoner of its home base, the top team was viewed as mobile, agile, and geographically dispersed,” write Cyril Bouquet et al. “The company was able to make more effective resource-allocation decisions informed by diverse thinking and divergent points of view.”

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How Global Is Your C-Suite?

New research shows that the vast majority of the world’s largest corporations are run by CEOs native to the country in which the company is headquartered. Does that matter? Some studies indicate that national diversity in the top management team can be associated with better performance. What’s more, the presence — or absence — of nonnative executives in a company’s top management team can send a signal to employees outside the home country: It indicates the long-term career prospects for foreign middle managers already in the company as well as for potential hires.

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Are You Giving Globalization the Right Amount of Attention?

Too little — or too much — attention from head office executives can cause problems in a company’s global operations. Research with senior executives in 135 multinational companies found that management of executive attention can have a significant impact on the performance of global companies and that relatively few companies seemed to optimize global attention. Most seemed to either spend too little or too much time and mental effort on global issues.

Image courtesy of Nestle.

On the Rocky Road to Strong Global Culture

Companies often approach the process of developing a global culture as a one-way process dominated by corporate headquarters, exemplified by common terms such as “cultural transfer” “and “culture dissemination.” Also, core values often originate at corporate headquarters and fail to reflect and incorporate diverse cultural influences. This approach breeds skepticism about global culture among overseas employees, who may perceive headquarters’ core values as ethnocentric and parochial.

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How to Retain Talent in India

Research shows that attention to pay and benefits is necessary but not sufficient to retain talent. So why do so many corporate leaders continue to use compensation as their primary retention tool? And what should they do instead to keep their best people, particularly in emerging markets such as India, where both local and global employers are clawing for talent?

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