The role and impact of people in digital globalization comes to play in many ways. People and processes come first. This fact is a major incentive to lead the globalization of content and products like business founders would, even when leaders in that area did not initiate such efforts and took such activities over from other people. Adopting an ad hoc mindset matters as much as defining strategies to grow internationally. From this perspective, time and cost effective execution depends significantly on human factors. Here are a few reasons why business founders should be an ongoing source of inspiration and development for globalizing organizations willing to address local markets or accelerate their digital globalization journey.
- Globalization should never be taken for granted–Founders demonstrate how important agility and resilience are in global business at all times. Challenges and changes are always around the corner, and mostly driven by customers and/or competitors. Engaging with international audiences and delighting local clients tomorrow may not look the same as it did today. Founders know that success demands even more endurance when it means performing across international markets. This applies to internal operations as well. Founders are good at mentoring and teaching other people the way to get things done. Therefore globalization leaders should always bear in mind that their teams, stakeholders, and colleagues may not buy in right away–regardless of how frequently and deeply they are exposed to global dependencies.
- Globalization requires alignment and leadership–Most founders cannot succeed without being supported and lifted up by others who help power a cross functional and cross disciplinary engine within the organization. An efficient globalization framework implies bringing people together and making leadership a priority. In other words it means explaining, training, developing, mentoring, and elevating people at all levels of the organization and with diverse backgrounds. Founders invest a lot of time and money in human interaction, both collectively and individually.
- Globalization is a strategic investment rather than a mere cost–Many founders see what they spend to grow as a long-term investment for their business. Globalization leaders should follow that example as far as their mission is concerned, given it is at the crossroads of digitalization and globalization imperatives as well as at the intersection of content, product, and technology management. This perspective must be at the heart of globalization efforts in order to turn them into valuable assets as well as to secure future investments ensuring sustainable growth.
- Globalization takes place on a customer centric battlefield–Some founders start their business in a niche. Eventually others come along and broaden the existing product and service offerings. In any case, they have to fight relentlessly to win the business of customers in the digital age. Either they have to challenge and stay ahead of competition or they have to capture and retain demanding customers. They have to be on both fronts more often than not. It becomes even more necessary and permanent when they want to grow beyond borders. Customer centricity remains a major competitive advantage and this is what globalization is all about. Global business may be considered an abstract concept as long as it does not become truly concrete. It thrives only when local customers make it real and profitable. Business founders and globalization leaders must share this focus on customers and articulate their respective plans around it.
- Globalization requires intrapreneurship–Since digital globalization may be running in a fragmented fashion within multinational organizations, globalization leaders should better brand themselves as intrapreneurs to unify accountability and (re)create end-to-end value chains delivering products and services. Like company founders they should build a robust foundation and team with a great deal of personal “motivaction.” Entrepreneur skills such as anticipation, empathy, perseverance and resilience are vital to unleash the full potential of digital globally. Yet they have to avoid doing this by creating a silo that would prove to be counterproductive eventually.