Multinational Companies

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Business Needs to Pay Off Its Climate Debt

As the world gears up for a new round of climate talks, companies need to step up and make sustained, multi-year commitments to absolute reductions in their carbon footprints. It’s been calculated that the U.S. business sector needs to reduce emissions by more than 3% per year to avoid the worst climate scenarios — but this option is surprisingly cost-effective. Although many of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases haven’t yet stepped up, Gregory Unruh argues that they must do so now — or face catastrophe.


The Perils of Attention From Headquarters

Visits from corporate headquarters to operations in markets such as China are often seen as overly time-consuming and unproductive. According to one China country manager of a European luxury-goods group, “Not only do they come often, but they want to spend more time, and they all come on weekends! For my team, it means that nearly every weekend, there is somebody to entertain.” The authors offer a set of recommendations for healthier dynamics between corporate headquarters and affiliates.

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Be a Good Sport With Social Media

Reaching out to customers on social media platforms can be a double-edged sword, particularly when the subject is sports. As airlines KLM and Delta discovered, there is a fine line to be walked between supporting the home team and offending a multitude of potential customers. Social media expert Gerald Kane offers some lessons derived from the Twitter errors made during the 2014 World Cup.


Building Your Company’s Capabilities Through Global Expansion

Today, the task of the global strategist involves not only identifying where to leverage a company’s strength but also how to enhance and renew its capabilities. The experience of many global companies suggests that expensive mistakes are often made when companies don’t ask key questions before making internationalization decisions. By better understanding their own competitive advantages and how they might fit into or complement a new market, companies can improve their chances of success.

Image courtesy of Xerox.
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Strategies for Selling to Underserved "Next Billion" Consumers

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Significant growth opportunities lie in second- and third-tier cities and rural areas. But although consumers there are some disposable income, they have limited resources. That’s forcing multinationals to rethink how they design products and services to reach them.


Image courtesy of Nokia.

Mobilizing for Growth in Emerging Markets

There are four elements to an effective “network orchestration” strategy, which brings together local and global innovation partners in emerging markets. The elements: Multinationals should 1) extend innovation partnerships beyond the usual channel partners by engaging key community stakeholders such as government bodies, universities and NGOs; 2) engage innovation partners strategically with a larger purpose; 3) trust but verify in a transparent manner; and 4) designate local partner network managers.

Image courtesy of Shell.

Six Principles of Effective Global Talent Management

Although organizations must pay attention to things like recruiting and performance management, competitive advantage in talent management doesn’t just come from identifying key activities and then implementing “best practices.” Rather, successful companies subscribe to six key principles: 1) alignment with strategy, 2) internal consistency, 3) cultural embeddedness, 4) management involvement, 5) balance of global and local needs and 6) employer branding through differentiation.

Image courtesy of Flickr user utpal.

Should Top Management Relocate Across National Borders?

International relocations of entire corporate headquarters are rare. But the relocation of top management team members is happening more and more. For instance, a desire to be close to its major global customers led Halliburton Co., an international oil services group, to relocate the company’s CEO from Houston to Dubai. But there are strategic costs and benefits of such decisions. Deciding which option to pursue depends on the strength and interplay of the relocation drivers and barriers.

Image courtesy of KONE Corp.

The Art of Piloting New Initiatives

Successful multinationals get that way by finding better ways to leverage operational improvements across the entire company. But developing such superior processes is not easy. New operational ideas fail for many reasons. One of the most common is not that the idea was bad, but that the developers set up a pilot that failed to persuade managers in the units that the process was an improvement. Successful pilots share three qualities: credibility, replicability and feasibility.
Image courtesy of Flickr user gak.

Flat World, Hard Boundaries – How To Lead Across Them

While technological innovations have revolutionized the workplace, it is ironic that relational boundaries — obstacles to productive human interactions — remain largely unchanged. This article identifies five types of such boundaries, and suggests that all five of them may be overcome when collaborative and creative leaders engage in six boundary spanning practices: buffering, reflecting, connecting, mobilizing, weaving and transforming.



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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Choosing the best places to innovate

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Countries are adopting a variety of innovation strategies and policies — and that’s something executives should keep in mind, according to John Kao.



How to Win in Emerging Markets

Though competitive barriers in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe are many, a look at the companies that are thriving there reveals some secrets that make success more likely.

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