I was reading a paper recently by McKinsey and they were talking about the state of the world. As you may know, McKinsey created the acronym BRIC, by looking at globalisation and growth in the globalised world and then anticipating that Brazil, Russia, India and China were the main markets. Of course, now they’ve come up with a new term and this new term is called ICASA.
ICASA is where they’re saying that growth markets are going to be, and ICASA stands for India, China, Africa and South East Asia. Here’s a couple of other things they mentioned in their article which I actually found quite thought-provoking. One was that there are now close to 200 billion emails being sent every day. The world population currently is about 7.4 billion people, yet there are 16 billion devices. 2.5 billion people have some sort of connection with someone outside their country. Finally, 250 million people are currently working outside their own countries.
I found all of those statistics quite fascinating because as a global leader, your role is becoming even more important. The challenge of being able to manage and lead across cultures becomes far more important because of the greater level of interaction that’s occurring across the world. The tune of globalisation is changing. Traditionally, if you think back 10 to 15 years ago, we looked at globalisation as being the great saviour. It would equalise the world, it would bring wealth and prosperity for everybody.
The reality is that it has not done that. Yes, many parts of the world have really benefited from globalisation and yet others have not, so therefore we see the issues that are occurring now in many parts of the world where people are thinking, ‘No, I’m not sure I want to be part of a greater union and I want to pull back.’ You’ll find there’s always a paradox. On one side, we have globalisation and on the other side we have, in fact, localization.
As a global leader, it’s really about being able to straddle the two. I do like that quote by the chairman of GE, Jeff Immelt, who recently said, ‘What we need to be is a global organisation with a local footprint.’ It’s about finding a balance, and what I want you to think about as a global leader is that the world today is interconnected, and your role as a global leader is actually linking the different cultures, the different parts of the world, the different parts of your operation. Linking your suppliers, your stakeholders, your customers, your teams, your staff. How do you bring all that together and keep people focused on the common picture? How do you create alignment?
My reflection point is how are you leveraging the current state of the world? How are you creating connectedness between the different parts of your business, your enterprise? Finally, how are you as an individual connecting with the different parts?