We all make resolutions, don’t we? Some of us in a more structured way, others very informally, but I guess the majority of us mark the change of year by reviewing what happened and, more importantly, making new goals, promises and resolutions for the year ahead. For example, the scientific journal Nature shared the New Year’s resolutions of nine scientific leaders. Apart from being generally an interesting read, I find that some of these resolutions are very motivating and relevant also for multinational companies and global leaders.
For instance, Ellen Stofan, chief scientist of NASA, wants to achieve a significant progress towards sending people safely to Mars, and do that while increasing both gender and global diversity of the current and potential employees involved. Another inspiring goal comes from Yi Xie, a leading professor of chemistry, who resolved to communicate and collaborate more across disciplines in order to overcome today’s grand challenges. Similarly, Lanjuan Li, director of the Chinese State Key Laboratory for Infectious Diseases Diagnosis and Treatment, plans to widen his lab expertise by creating more opportunities to travel and meet people in different countries. Finally, Athene Donald from Cambridge University aspires to increase gender balance among college students. The topics of cross-cultural collaborations, gender equality, employee diversity and travel seem quite familiar, don’t they? If global scientific leaders make such resolutions, what should global business leaders opt for?
Based on the multitude of global mobility-related challenges discussed in my blog in previous years, I would hope for several resolutions on the part of global business leaders.
First of all, I hope that global leaders dream big and have sound plans for executing these dreams. As demonstrated by my colleagues Pankaj Ghemawat and Steven Altman at IESE business School the world is far less globalized than we are used to think. Therefore, in 2015 we will most probably also hear about further globalization, emerging markets and new attractive expat locations. As suggested by business and brand strategist Martin Roll in his latest INSEAD blog post, CEOs should attempt to harness emerging markets.
Secondly, harnessing new markets is unlikely to be successful without acknowledging the diversity of cultures, regions and customers. I hope that global leaders make resolutions to learn about and notice the similarities AND differences and account for them in their globalization strategies, so as to balance centralized global practices and local needs and strive for glocalization.
Finally, no list of global business resolutions is of value without some goals in terms of global employees. ‘Empower, develop and engage your employees’ would be a resolution to support in my opinion. As Bersin by Deloitte Predictions of 2015 suggest, employers should prepare for rethinking and reshaping the way of attracting and retaining their employees. I would say that CEOs need to invest into their people, be it by using technological opportunities to improve communication, by enhancing gender, culture and age diversity to build a sustainable talent pool, or by providing proper expatriation support and management to retain employees.