Cross cultural training Cultural Intelligence
September 3, 2014
It is useful to take a moment to reflect on the CQ success stories and consider what the key principle and techniques were that led to some positive outcomes; and to consider those not so successful outcomes and learn from them. Rather than always reinventing the wheel we would do well to examine how other industries, organisations and governments succeed and fail in their CQ endeavours, strategies and practices.
The Kraft Experience – You may have heard of the Kraft blank cheque principle. It is just that – a blank cheque that is signed by company leaders and distributed to teams in a bid to make them feel more invested, responsible and empowered to make decisions in the pursuit of increased revenues. The concept is that when workers are free from budgetary constraints there is greater creativity and innovation. To qualify for a blank cheque teams must create a business model that demonstrates realistic and viable potential.
The blank cheque principle has had more successes than failures and has supported opportunities to do things differently in other parts of the world. One example is Cadbury India. In 2010, Cadbury India had its best year ever, with almost 28% revenue growth — doubling original growth targets and exceeding the $500 million blank check target. The momentum continued in 2011 with more than 30% growth.
Oreo in China, Tang in Brazil and the Dairy Milk Chocolate Bar in India are further success stories owing to the blank cheque principle. In terms of the Oreo in China it led to further investment in local talent that enabled Kraft to become closer to Chinese consumers. Sales of the diary milk chocolate bar in India exceeded expectations by teams employing alternative methods of displaying, marketing and distributing the chocolate bar. Tang in Brazil followed suite by employing Kraft’s global technology resources to develop flavours that are more in touch with local preferences and tastes such as tamarind and horchata in Mexico, mango in the Philippines, passionfruit and soursop in Brazil.
The Honda Experience – Honda has demonstrated flexibility and innovation as they have entered new emerging markets. Senior management toured some local villages in India to observe and understand the environment and local market needs and demands. Some of the observations and changes that were incorporated into the design of motorbikes for the Indian market were:
The Starbucks Experience – CEO Howard Schulz made a visit to India in 2011. From this visit came a variety of localised initiatives:
The Lenovo Experience – When Lenovo a Chinese computer company acquired the personal computer division of IBM in the U.S. only one member of the team spoke English. Even when the Chinese executive team began learning English it was quickly recognised that the cross border challenges were greater and deeper than anticipated. Different management, communication and decision- making styles were just some of the obstacles the Western and Chinese managers identified.
Some of the initiatives that have and continue to evolve are:
There is a lot of value in documenting, exploring and sharing where successes have been made and lost in terms of going forward. Too often I see global organisations making the same mistakes within their organisations because there is no cross fertilization of information across departments, regions and countries.
If you have any CQ success and/or failure stories please click here and share them with us.