“We’re not any country’s company−we’re a truly multicountry company”− B. Becht, CEO of Reckitt Benckiser, HBR April 2010.
The merger of two companies, one British and one Dutch, formed Reckitt Benckiser. Right after the merger, Becht took special interest in mixing the national cultures of all their operations. Hence today, they have an Italian running their UK business; an American running their German business; a Dutchman running their U.S. business; an Indian running their Chinese business; a Belgian running their Brazilian business; and, a Frenchman running their Russian business!
According to Becht, they have a very simple strategy to do business. Focus on 17 powerbrands in fast-growing categories, innovate and invest behind them−and do so in every market. Sounds a lot like a blog we published back in June 2009. It is called International Markets: Stars, Cash Cows, Question Marks and Dogs.
Consequently, products launched by Reckitt Benckiser in the past 3 years account for 35% to 40% of their net revenue! They were all the result of global cross-fertilization. Wouldn’t you like to enjoy similar success?
But in the same issue of HBR, M. Javidan, M. Teagarden and D. Bowen of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, argue the following. A good track record at home is not a predictor of success in the global arena and that assigning the wrong executive overseas can be a painful and expensive proposition. We all bring our different ways of thinking and communicating. We are not all well versed in how to deal with diversity.
How to Succeed Internationally?
So what will it take for you to be successful overseas? Their answer: Have a global mindset to include intellectual, psychological and social capital. This includes global business savvy, cognitive complexity, cosmopolitan outlook, passion for diversity, thirst for adventure, self-assurance, intellectual empathy, interpersonal impact and diplomacy. But they also add that a global mindset is often developed early in life.
Did I peak your interest? Take their test at www.gmitest.com. If you score under 4, this blog should be on your reading list! Also you may benefit from checking out our eBook: Enabling Globalization opens in a new window.
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