Global Strategy

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What It Takes to Reshore Manufacturing Successfully

The process of bringing assembly work back to U.S. factories from abroad is more challenging than the economics would predict. In the United States, many key resources, including the manufacturing workforce, have atrophied. Author Willy C. Shih (Harvard Business School) recommends that to reduce turnover, companies that embrace reshoring — bringing assembly work back from abroad — encourage workers to complete training and certification.

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How Facebook is Delivering Personalization on a Whole New Scale

As Facebook becomes more mobile-centric, it’s also becoming adept at laying its customer data over brand data and third-party data to create uniquely customized experiences for its users. In a Q&A, Blake Chandlee, vice president of global partnerships at Facebook, details the power that comes from being able to overlay all that customer information. “Historically, we’ve never had the ability to have the scale of a mass media along with the personalization that digital provides,” says Chandlee.

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Are Companies Ready for the New Global Executive?

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HR executives believe that tomorrow’s leaders will be a more diverse group than today’s and will face special challenges as a result. A survey of 197 human resource executives from global companies finds that “leaders from highly diverse backgrounds will need to work together more effectively.” The challenge is that diverse groups often have more disagreements than homogeneous groups, demanding proactive skill development in group dynamics.

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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.

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How to Compete in China’s E-Commerce Market

A surprising number of high-profile Western companies have stumbled in e-commerce in China, including Amazon and Google. This article offers a list of workable strategies to succeed in Chinese e-commerce, gleaned from U.S. companies’ experiences.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, in a market like China’s, where local knowledge and culture are crucial to success, more thought should be given to how to better serve local customers and adapt in a rapidly changing market.

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Building Effective Business Relationships in China

As China’s growth and integration into the world economy continue, many companies are looking for ways to build effective business relationships with Chinese companies. China’s ways of doing business are becoming more Westernized, but non-Chinese executives must still work hard to build trust in relationships with their Chinese business partners. But developing trust between Chinese and Western executives takes time. This article explores methods for developing cross-cultural trust.

Image courtesy of Nokia.

Mobilizing for Growth in Emerging Markets

The article offers four recommendations for an effective “network orchestration” strategy, bringing together local and global innovation partners in emerging markets. Multinationals should extend innovation partnerships beyond the usual channel partners by engaging key community stakeholders such as government bodies, universities and NGOs; engage innovation partners strategically with a larger purpose; trust but verify in a transparent manner; and 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.

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Is It Time to Rethink Your Manufacturing Strategy?

Since the mid-1990s, many companies have outsourced or offshored their manufacturing operations. For most, one crucial enabling factor was cheap oil: Long supply lines were economically feasible because transportation costs were relatively low. Hence, companies emphasized reducing manufacturing costs through (1) offshoring or outsourcing; (2) plant rationalization; and (3) consolidating distribution centers and warehouses to reduce inventory levels and minimize fixed facility costs.

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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 Flickr user Electrolux Design Lab.

Should You Have a Global Strategy?

Senior executives weighing strategies appropriate for today’s global economy will hear contradictory advice. Some say you need to move quickly, before competitors, to establish a worldwide presence; others cite data showing that this approach is often less profitable. The reality is that neither approach is appropriate for every circumstance. Therefore, executives need to understand when to pursue one route and when to pursue the other.

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.

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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.

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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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The Practice of Global Product Development

Best practice in product development (PD) is migrating from local collaboration to global collaboration. Global product development (GPD) represents a transformation for business, and it applies to a range of industries. The objective of this article is to present frameworks that can help companies address strategic and tactical issues when considering GPD. The concepts have been developed through discussions with more than 100 companies in 15 countries in North America, Europe and Asia.

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Networks of innovation

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Two innovation experts see great potential in “creation networks” that include companies from a variety of regions with specialized technical expertise.

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