Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Manging ambiguity

Growing multinationals, whether they are based in the United States, India or elsewhere, all face a common problem: developing leaders who can manage global enterprises and take advantage of strategic opportunities. But do global leaders require a set of skills entirely different from those needed by their domestic counterparts? Yes they do!

Global Leaders need to develop is a consistent set of attitudes. This set includes curiosity, flexibility, willing to take risks, tolerance for ambiguity, open-mindedness, non-judgmental, openness to change, integrity, and optimism.

The reason that a Global Leader needs special characteristics is because doing business globally is fraught with uncertainty. This sense of never being fully "certain", is amplified by cultural differences. Of the characteristics that I have just mentioned, I think that the ability to tolerate ambiguity is vital.

In order to be able to develop tolerance for ambiguity Global Leaders need to "learn how to learn" in new situations. This critical skill is less valued in a purely "domestic" environment. A Global Leader has to be able to function successfully in new and unfamiliar situations and must know how to integrate this new understanding with existing skills and knowledge.

The Global Leader knows that he or she does not have al the answers. But the Global Leader knows how to find the answers, leveraging the knowledge of his collaborators. Line managers are the ones who most especially need to be attuned to learning to learn across different cultual environments

Different skills are needed for CEOs and top managers vs. line managers. It comes down to a difference between corporate strategy and business strategy. The leadership at the top is more responsible for managing the portfolio and doing due diligence, and for weighing whether it is better to acquire a firm or develop a strategic alliance. The line managers in businesses or SBUs are concerned with how to compete, how to overcome cultural differences and respond to local tastes, and how to integrate key functions or processes within the business to achieve local success.

Keogh & Associates Consulting , LLC has many services to help your company compete by developing a global mindset.

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