Right Quarterly_ global mindset leading across borders & cultural alignment


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“Right Quarterly” is published every quarter by Right Management, providing relevant perspectives on current challenges business leaders face in optimizing the performance of their workforce.

We are pleased to share our latest edition of Right Quarterly on the important aspects that encompasses both talent management and career management: having a Global Mindset.

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Right Quarterly_ global mindset leading across borders & cultural alignment

  1. 1. Right Quarterly THE Fourth Quarter 2013 Culture Collaboration Agility VUCA Global Mindset
  2. 2. ManpowerGroup at a Glance… Nearly 3,500 offices across 80 countries around the world Interviewed 12 million people in 2012 and connected 4 million to meaningful work USD 21 Billion revenue in 2012 with over 85% generated i h d outside the U.S. Over 30,000 employees l across brands Largest global vendorneutral MSP provider p Over 400,000 clients ranging from SMB’s to Global F t Gl b l Fortune 100 companies The world’s largest IT professional resourcing f i l i firm Nearly 70,000 people placed in permanent roles each year Global leader in Recruitment Process Outsourcing The world’s largest outplacement firm
  3. 3. EDITORIAL & FOREWORD 02 by Chaitali Mukherjee RESEARCH STUDY Leading across borders by Andy Lowe 04 Client Reference Story Driving cultural alignment by Priyanka Jaitly Babbar 08 POINT OF VIEW ARTICLE A perspective on global mindset in Japan by Hiroyuki Izutsu 12 A glocal country manager: a must for a global organization by Ronnie Tan and Ric Roi 16 Copy Editor Tuhina Panda Layout & Design Editor Ritesh Hellan For a copy of ‘The Right Quarterly’, write to us at right.quarterly@right.com GLOBAL MINDSET 1
  4. 4. Editorial & Foreword by Chaitali Mukherjee Country Manager - Right Management India With 2013 having come to a close, the time to reflect is upon us. We look back at the year gone by and want to know if the journey was worth it. We’ve achieved success across many initiatives, learnt new things, made mistakes and helped others in their time of need. But the biggest reflection which we all hope to have is whether any of our actions helped build our own capabilities and have pushed the organization’s business ahead. Did we break new boundaries? Did we challenge our fears? Did we set new benchmarks vis-à-vis the goals we had set at the start of the year? We also have the opportunity to define a new plan for the next year which will help us take the business to a level higher. A clear objective of many companies continues to be becoming more global in their outlook and approach, irrespective of being a player in the domestic market or one with operations in multiple countries. Even in today’s ‘flat world’ very few companies can say that they are truly global. In our earlier edition of the Right Quarterly, we spoke about Talent Assessment with a clear focus on exploring how this space has been redefined is the past few years. For our last edition of 2013, we wanted to talk about an important aspect that encompasses both talent management and career management: having a Global Mindset. A Global Mindset could be defined as ‘having agility of mind to learn/adapt to diverse cultures and markets, and use that understanding to enable collaboration and bring about synergy across teams, organizations, businesses and cultures.’ Over the past decade or more, building a pipeline of global leaders has become a priority for most organizations. Even after expanding their operations across multiple 2 THE RIGHT QUARTERLY countries, a key issue that remains is bringing about cultural alignment. We start this edition with an article on Leading across borders, which talks about how leadership practices differ across countries and what is the typical approach to building cross-national teams. But how can one manage multicultural, multi-national, diverse teams unless you are an expert in the practices of each of those regions? Through a recent interview with David Ringwood (VP Client Development) from Management Research Group®, our strategic partners, we have the opportunity to share with you key highlights from their research on leadership and management practices of 96,000 leaders in 26 countries, 8000 organizations, and 30 industries over a 10 year period. We hope this gives you some interesting insights into how to build a global organization and what to focus on when cultivating a global mindset in your employees. The second article on Driving cultural alignment is a client reference story from a recently concluded project in India on bringing about an alignment of culture and global work practices. The client is in the process of an organization transformation exercise, where the global organization has recently acquired an Indian business. The first objective in ensuring the alignment was to familiarize and align the Indian leadership team with the work practices of the larger company. The Right Management India team delivered a robust solution, starting off with a diagnostic to identify the working style gaps that existed. The engagement was designed to help bridge these gaps by providing clarity of expectation
  5. 5. for the Indian leadership team, with a detailed plan on how they can work on their individual styles as well. between the local and global work practices, and also build the team’s capabilities to allow them to pursue possible global opportunities. But what does it take to build a global mindset for an entire country? How can organizations be global if the home country’s culture and policies don’t support the same? “A perspective on global mindset in Japan” is a very insightful and thought provoking piece on how Japan’s increasingly ageing working population is becoming more and more misaligned with global work practices. Though the cultural alignment within Japan is very strong, to allow its people and businesses to reach higher benchmarks it will need to encourage its younger workforce to be more aware of global practices, gain experience through global opportunities and apply their learning to businesses in the home country. With boundaries based on language and culture slowly disappearing across the world, it is even more important for leaders across nations to talk with a more aligned mindset. Developing capabilities which can allow your employees to understand business, markets, products and services more universally can not only allow them to feel engaged, but also deliver more business impact. It should be the objective of every business to grow not just across different markets, but also make an impact at the regional level by contributing to the local economies. This can only be achieved by cultivating a global mindset in our future leaders, no matter which region, industry or function they are in! If you want your organization to adopt a more global approach and be aligned across different regions, it is for certain that the right leadership is needed to guide the way forward. In our final article “A glocal country manager: a must for any global organization” we explore the traits of a country manager, and the various aspects one must look at when hiring one. Where do you start? Should you promote someone internally? Hire an expat with global experience? Or just get a good business leader who can stabilize the business quickly once the previous leader has left? Can a leader from another region be considered? The options may be many, but the outcome has to be the same – finding a leader who can grow the domestic market, ensure that the region is visible at the global level, bring alignment Stepping into 2014, we wish you a very happy and prosperous new year! It is never too late to make the whole world your stage. - Chaitali Mukherjee GLOBAL MINDSET 3
  6. 6. Research Study Leading across borders Does Leadership Differ Significantly by Country? As the global leader in talent and career management workforce solutions, we know only too well that the world of work is experiencing unprecedented levels of change. For one, technology is connecting people in a way unimagined even 10 years ago. This gives organizations the opportunity to unleash talent, innovation and team work like never before. But how does one lead across this geographically dispersed, multinational, multi-generational, multi-cultural world of ours? As part of ManpowerGroup we operate in 88 countries and we have a clear point-of-view that developing leaders to lead across borders and cultures is critical for many organizations. But what does it take to manage multicultural, multi-national, diverse teams? I put a similar question to our strategic partners at Management Research Group® David Ringwood (VP Client Development) shared some fascinating research they conducted recently comparing the leadership practices of 96,000 leaders in 26 countries. David summarises their research for us. “We found common leadership practices do vary substantially by country. In particular, leaders and managers differed significantly in their approach to problem solving, initiating action, managing change, and building teams. Understanding these differences is an important component in successful leadership across geographic boundaries” The Research Understanding how individuals in other cultures approach the task of leadership and management is a key first step in building mutually effective and satisfying 4 THE RIGHT QUARTERLY interactions throughout the organization. This is especially important for leaders given the task of building effective crossnational teams. Even in cases in which the team exists entirely within one country, the increase of labour migration makes it likely that there will still be individuals from more than one culture in the mix. Right Management has a strategic partnership with Management Research Group (MRG) who’s mission is to provide their partners with assessment tools that can be used for leadership and organizational development across the globe. In this recent investigation of country differences in leadership, MRG studied the leadership and management practices of 96,000 leaders in 26 countries, 8000 organizations, and 30 industries over a 10 year period. The data is draw from the Leadership Effectiveness Analysis™ (LEA), a broadly descriptive assessment describing those fundamental management and leadership practices and behaviours most commonly found in a wide range of organsiation settings and cultures. Specifically, the LEA measures twenty-two leadership practices in six functional areas: Creating a Vision, Developing Followership, Implementing the Vision, Following Through, Achieving Results, and Team Playing (see Reference 1.1). As MRG explains; the underlying LEA model is descriptive rather than prescriptive. The assessment describes behaviours and practices, rather than competencies per se. The model assumes that the effectiveness of any specific leadership practice depends on the context in which it occurs; the broader culture, the organizational culture, the managerial role, unique aspects of the situation, and the individual characteristics (e.g., personality, ability) of the manager and the people he or she works with. Additionally, the model assumes that each
  7. 7. Reference 1.1 Functional Areas Critical Behaviours Creating a Vision Traditional; Innovative; Technical; Self; Strategic Developing Followers Persuasive; Outgoing; Excitement; Restraint Implementing the Vision Structuring; Tactical; Communication; Delegation Following Through Control; Feedback Achieving Results Management Focus; Dominant; Production Team Playing Cooperation; Consensual; Authority; Empathy leadership practice or behaviour has assets and liabilities, with effectiveness again depending on the specific context. The leadership practices included in the LEA model describe important aspects of the management/leadership role, independent of time and culture. While the emphasis on some behaviours may wax or wane according to leadership fads, the set of practices does not vary significantly. For example, transformational leadership is seen to be strongly correlated a combination of Persuasive, Excitement, Management Focus, Communication, Consensual, and low Restraint. Other types of leadership would be described by a different combination and emphasis of practices albeit the underlying leadership practices exist to varying degrees in most managerial settings. As David Ringwood explains, “Here we set out to see how these may differ by country”. Findings Not unsurprisingly leadership practices were found to vary widely by country. One approach to describing common similarities and differences among countries is cluster analysis. In the current context, cluster analysis was used to group countries into categories (called clusters) so that countries Reference 1.2 Similarities among countries based on leadership practices. Countries with the same circles are more similar to each other than they are to countries outside their circles. Results are based on hierarchical clustering. Denmark Netherlands Russion Federation United Kingdom Ireland Germany Sweden China Mexico Singapore Canada United States Australia New Zealand Spain France Columbia Peru Finland India South Africa Italy Brazil Hong Kong Belgium Switzerland GLOBAL MINDSET 5
  8. 8. within a cluster are more similar to each other than they are to countries in other clusters. The results are summarized in Reference 1.2 Countries that are within the same circles tend to be more similar to each other than they are to countries outside these circles. For example, Canada and the United States are similar, as is Australia and New Zealand. All four countries are more similar to each other than they are to Singapore. All five countries are more similar to each other than they are to Denmark, and so on. Another way of presenting this data, which can be useful to help individuals leaders understand how practices may be different, is to present the practices data relative to one’s own country of origin, otherwise known as the median euclidian distance from the reference country. It is important to note that the goal of cross cultural research is not to promote stereotypes but to develop an understanding that norms vary across the globe, although leaders within countries obviously differ from each other with regard to approach and emphasis. The purpose of the current research to assess the importance of country differences in understanding the myriad ways human beings approach the role of leader. It can help to identify possible points of miscommunication and misunderstanding. In Reference 1.3, the ‘distance’ from reference country, in this case USA is presented in descending order, such that Canada and New Zealand are seen to differ less in overall leadership practices (median score) than say Netherlands or China, relative to USA. In order to understand differences further the data can be cut country by country and reveals some fascinating differences. Leadership profiles between two countries can differ markedly. Take a comparsion between the United Kingdom and South Africa for example where very large differences (20-30 percentile points) are observed with regard to Strategic, Outgoing, Production, and Cooperation. Compared with the United Kingdom, leaders in South Africa are more likely to emphasize the importance of analyzing the current and 6 THE RIGHT QUARTERLY Reference 1.3 Leadership Differences with US Netherlands Sweden Germany Denmark France South Africa Peru Spain Russian Federation Finland China Colombia Switzerland Mexico Italy Belgium India Brazil Hong Kong Ireland Singapore United Kingdom New Zealand Australia Canada 0 20 40 60 80 future impact of decisions (Strategic), and leading by setting and pushing to meet aggressive goals (Production). Compared with South African leaders, leaders in the United Kingdom are more likely to lead in an extroverted, informal, and gregarious manner (Outgoing) and accommodate to the needs and interests of others in order to obtain organizational goals (Cooperation). While there is insufficient space to present the similarities and differences among all 26 countries on each leadership practice, we hope that this short article has piqued your interest. There is ample evidence that leaders differ in their fundamental behaviours by geographic region, and an understanding of these differences is
  9. 9. important for organizations intending to work effectively in global environments. Conclusions MRG and Right Management’s point of view is that there is no one single right or best way to lead. Effective leadership depends on the context — the characteristics of the situation, the task, and the people involved. Effective leaders and managers are aware of these components and are able to meld their needs with the diverse needs and expectations of others to achieve desirable results. Understanding how others operate in business settings is key to being able to present one’s ideas and goals in a manner that they will understand and accept. Understanding differences can help a leader to forge a working relationship with others that is comfortable and mutually beneficial. Finally, developing sensitivity to the different leadership approaches that others use can help build a team of individuals who benefit and gain strength from their diversity. Increasing globalization and diverse workforces are a fact of life. In order to succeed, managers must work effectively with individuals from many countries — individuals who have different backgrounds, beliefs, experiences, and approaches and responses to leadership. The challenge for managers is to identify how these differences can strengthen their teams and organizations, and to adopt approaches that reduce resistance or misunderstanding and forge stronger and mutually beneficial working relationships. MRG has some of the largest global normative databases available — a vast repository of data describing the behaviours and motivations of hundreds of thousands of individuals, including executives, managers, salespeople, and others in more than 5,000 organizations worldwide. by Andy Lowe Principal Consultant Australia GLOBAL MINDSET 7
  10. 10. Client Reference Story Driving cultural alignment Context The client is a global leader in performance materials and chemistries – sophisticated products engineered to enable advances in research and laboratory processes, and provide an unmatched foundation of chemical quality, purity and consistency to support innovation and creation of next generation products and processes. At present, they are in the middle of an organizational transformation. Formerly an Indian company, they now represent the powerful combination of a global organization’s quality systems and production expertise with their unmatched indigenous knowledge of the India region’s dynamic and expanding market – all backed by the shared commitment to help their customers innovate with confidence and perform without compromise. Consequently, the working culture of the organization in India is undergoing a significant change. The Indian leadership which has so far focused on independently running the Indian market, now reports into their respective offices in US and Europe. Since there is increased interaction between the Indian and international counterparts, it was felt that there is a need to enhance the cultural sensitivity of the Indian Leadership Team, and make them more familiar and aware of the western way of working. Also, as the global headquarters of the organization are in Pennsylvania, 8 THE RIGHT QUARTERLY the focus of the engagement was largely towards orienting the India leadership to the American work culture. Recommended Solution To understand the situation in greater detail, Right Management conducted a detailed Diagnostic study which included oneon-one conversations with each of the members of the India Leadership Team and also their reporting manager based in the USA or Europe. The purpose of the conversations was to understand the specific issues, the expectations from the concerned leaders and their current leadership style and perceptions. The following were the key issues that emerged from the diagnostics: • The Indian team was by and large perceived to be over-committing and under-delivering • It was felt that they could not, or would not be direct and share what they were truly thinking, occasionally leaving their global counter-parts in a confused state • The global team felt that the India team had to think global, and not just limit themselves to operating like a small and independent Indian organization • From the perspective of the Indian team, they felt their roles had shrunk with all decision-making powers vested with the global team. What they had to realize was that they were familiar with the Indian market much more than the global team,
  11. 11. Reference 2.1 Recommended Solution Diagnostics Sensitization Workshop Coaching One-on-one interviews Realizing the differences Personalized Coaching Online Questionnaires Respecting the differences Individual Development Plans Reconciling the differences Regular Progress Reviews and therefore, had a huge role to play in terms of influencing the global team in the right direction. Therefore, there was an urgent need for the India leadership team to align with the global way of working and be more sensitive to the cultural differences between India and the United States of America, so as to work better with their global counterparts. The leaders also undertook a psychometric tool, the Birkman Profile, along with a 360 degree feedback survey to enhance self awareness about their personal leadership style. Based on the inputs we received from the diagnostics, we designed a 1-day Culture Sensitization Workshop with the following objectives: • To learn and practice ways to overcome the cultural gap in order to work more effectively It was considered important to complement the learning from the workshop with more focused inputs to enhance current individual performance, and also to gauge and work on the readiness for the next level. Therefore, we followed up the workshop with three one-on-one Executive Coaching sessions. Benefits to the Client Shared here are some benefits which the client experienced through the process: • Clarity on the expectations their global counterparts have from them as India leaders • Better understanding of their individual personality and leadership style • To understand the importance of India in the Client’s global context • Enhanced awareness and appreciation of the American culture • To understand the cultural differences between India and the USA • Constant support and hand-holding in their effort to bridge the gap between expected and demonstrated behavior • To experience how cultural differences affect personal and professional relationships In a nutshell, in addition to creating awareness of the American culture, this GLOBAL MINDSET 9
  12. 12. Reference 2.2 Overview of the Process & Deliverables Expected Outcome Intervention Diagnostics Workshop Design and Key Areas of Concern Workshop Basic overview of various working cultures, sensitization towards cross cultural dynamics Coaching Intervention 1 Setting expectations, creating IDP, getting commitment Coaching Intervention 2 Review 1 and course correction (if required) Coaching Intervention 3 Final review, next steps intervention has tried to help the Indian leadership team be more open and forthcoming towards other cultures and perspectives which may be very different from the typical Indian way of looking at things. Client Feedback The 1-day Culture Sensitization Workshop was received exceptionally well by the participants, with an average feedback score of 4.6 out of 5. The leaders specifically thought that the examples and analogies shared were extremely relevant to them, and felt prepared to apply learnings from the workshop at work. Similarly, the leaders have established an excellent rapport with the coach, so much so that the relationship now is more personal than being restricted to professional matters. 10 THE RIGHT QUARTERLY Many a times learning inputs provided are not seen to translate into behavioural changes. However, a focused intervention like this, touches upon two of the 4Es we propagate – Education and Exposure. Learning inputs were provided through the 1-day Cultural Sensitization workshop, and those were followed up by specific one-onone guidance by an experienced executive coach through a series of three coaching sessions. The experience was wholesome for the client because through the coaching sessions, we could reinforce the desired behavior and also take stock of the progress made by the participants in adopting the same. Having said that, culture as we all know, is a vast topic, and is deeply ingrained in the psyche of an individual. Therefore, it needs to be constantly worked upon in order to bring about significant and prominent change.
  13. 13. Participant feedback “ I understood more about the culture and typical behaviors of our American colleagues which was very important. The workshop was well designed and we feel equipped to appreciate and handle the cultural differences between India and the USA. ” All the key messages were captured perfectly through the one day program. by Priyanka Jaitly Babbar Project Leader India GLOBAL MINDSET 11
  14. 14. Point of View Article A perspective on global mindset in Japan 30% less students learning outside japan in six years First, let me start by defining “global mindset” as “a willingness to communicate, think and act beyond national or regional boundaries”. As a Japanese person, I am sad to report that Japan has been described as hesitant about accepting a global mindset, especially when compared with other rapidly developing Asian countries. Will the situation in Japan improve? I am not optimistic. Below I will consider why this is a frequent subject of discussion and explain the reasons for my opinion. Let me start with an indicative trend, the recent drop in the number of Japanese students ilearning outside Japan (OECD ”Education at a Glance”, 2010). For a time Japanese studying abroad saw a dramatic increase, going from 14,297 in 1986 to 82,945 in 2004, a 580% increase in less than two decades. Since then however, there has been a decline to 58,060 in 2010, a 30% decrease against 2004. This recent drop has been frequently cited in Japan as an indicator of the rapid decrease in young Japanese people interested in developing a global mindset. Many people in Japan (including me) are of the opinion that there is strong correlation between the level of global mindset as a country and the number of its students 12 THE RIGHT QUARTERLY studying abroad. Unlike many other countries, Japan is highly homogeneous and has a large population using its own unique language. This means that linguistically Japan has a “critical mass” that results in most information being available to most people in Japanese, making foreign language ability unnecessary for many. However, this means that most news disseminated in Japan is filtered through Japanese points of view, which is sometimes significantly skewed away from the global standard. For this reason, I believe Japan is one of the countries of the world that still sustains a very unique culture, something which has many positives but perhaps as many negatives. The difficulty facing the younger Japanese generations is obvious; can they contribute and compete commensurately without being exposed to global culture? To learn a global mindset within highly homogeneous Japan is difficult. Thus, it is important for Japan to have more students going abroad to learn. That is why I believe that from the standpoint of learning a global mindset the number of students studying abroad is a much more significant number for Japan than other countries. Yet this number has dropped by 30% in just six years. Naturally, this decrease is often cited as one of the crises we are facing. There are several reasons why this decrease is happening. I discuss them individual below.
  15. 15. Reference 3.1 Number of Japanese college+ students studying outside Japan 90000 80000 70000 60000 50000 40000 30000 20000 10000 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 0 Decrease of Younger Generations in Japan The first factor is a decrease in the absolute population of students in Japan. Japan is said to be one of the fastest aging countries in the world. One reason for this is Japan having the longest average lifespan in the world, but another is the fact that Japan suffers from one of the lowest per capita birth rate. For example, there were 16.5 million Japanese aged 25 in 1986, but this number had decreased to 16.0 million in 2004 and 14.4million in 2010. A decrease of 13% within 24 years is significant. Yet this alone does not explain the drop in Japanese students going abroad for studies. After all, this number increased 580% during the 1984-2004 period even though the 25-year old population decreased by 3% during the same period. Similarly, during the period from 2004 to 2010, Japanese students going abroad decreased by 30% while the 25-year old population decreased by only 10%. What can be said is that the decrease of students going abroad after 2004 greatly exceeds the decrease in the population of young adults in Japan. Earlier Recruiting Activities of College Students Although it is not discussed deeply enough in Japan, I believe the primary reason for fewer students going abroad is earlier recruitment of college students by employers. For a country where ‘lifetime employment’ is still alive, choosing which company to work for after they graduate from college means a lot more for both the students and for the companies. Thus, both sides spend a long time in selecting each other.ii Before 1996, colleges and corporate employers had an agreement whereby companies could only extend an offer of employment to university students after October 1 of their final academic year. When this agreement was in force, college students only started doing job interviews after summer of their final year of college. However, this agreement was terminated in 1996 as a result of which companies have started recruiting students earlier in their academic careers. Now recruiting interviews tend to start in the fall of the third year of college – a time when college students in many countries take the opportunity to study abroad. This earlier recruiting has made it more difficult for Japanese students to spend a long time abroad, since they may lose the opportunity to obtain a job with a good employer as a result. Although universities are trying to address this problem, we have seen little improvement in the situation so far. Unfortunately it means that our younger generations are losing an important opportunity to learn a global mindset. This situation needs to be remedied in order to reverse the current trend. Unemployed Younger Generations of OECD Countries Although there are many in the younger Japanese generations who are willing to challenge to get jobs at non-Japanese firms or to get jobs outside Japan, they face the higher unemployment rates among young people in other OECD countries. The unemployment rate of younger generations of OECD countries (average) was 13% in 1990, but this figure rose to 16.7% in 2010. In Japan, the figure rose from under 5% in 1990 to 9.4% in 2010, but the figure is still significantly lower than that of OECD average (ILO Report, 2012). Increased unemployment in the younger generations is common across all OECD countries, and Japan is no exception. Every day in the Nikkei (Japan’s leading business paper) there are articles describing how tough it is for college seniors who have not yet found a job. The difficult employment situation means that students must devote more of their student days to getting a job offer. However, the situation in Japan nonetheless seems better than in other OECD countries. I believe this recruiting toughness outside GLOBAL MINDSET 13
  16. 16. Japan is one of the major reasons for making the Japanese students not willing to study abroad and to challenge overseas opportunities. Salary Level Issue (Japan vs. non-OECD countries) The next obstacle to developing a global mindset is the salary level gap between Japan and many non-OECD countries. This issue is not limited to younger generations. The ManpowerGroup sees many Japanese applicants who show an interest in overseas job opportunities. In addition, many companies in countries such as China, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam want to hire Japanese managers, engineers and specialists. However, few of these potential matches reach fruition due to the fact that the salary levels in such other countries is much lower than what they can expect in Japan. “Minimum wage (US$)” Japan OECD Australia UK France USA 1,222 1,557 1,431 1,402 1,014 Other countires Taiwan Korea Philippines Thailand China Indonesia Vietnam India 955 815 424 304 204 142 120 113 ILO, Global wage report 2008/9 Japan=Ministry of Welfare and Labor 2013 $1=JPY100 The above chart shows the difference of minimum monthly wages, but the same discrepancy applies to specialists and engineer salaries as well. When this gap is taken into account, it is only logical for the younger Japanese to be less motivated to challenge themselves in these growing countries. English Capability Issue The Japanese language is quite different from English, which has become the de 14 THE RIGHT QUARTERLY facto global language. In that sense, Japan suffers from a handicap when dealing with the rest of the world. The extent of this gap is suggested by a study showing how long it takes an English speaking American to become highly fluent in various foreign languages (”Expected Levels of Absolute Speaking Fluency in Language Taught at the Foreign Institute”(’73, Kirihara), Foreign Service Institute, an affiliate to the Department of State, USA). The study categorizes languages into four groups according to ease of acquisition. For example, Dutch is in Group One, the easiest languages to learn for an English speaking person. On average it takes 960 hours of study for an American to become highly fluent in Dutch. On the other hand, to achieve the same level of proficiency in Group Four languages (which include Japanese as well as Korean, Chinese and Arabic), it takes 2,400 to 2,760 hours. Such levels of difficulty naturally apply going the other way – English is a very difficult language for Japanese people to learn. The study time involved can result in language capability gaps and can hinder the development of a global mindset for nonEnglish speaking Japanese people. So Japan suffers from a linguistic handicap. However, when we compare among speakers of some of the Group Four languages, it is disappointing to find out that the Japanese are lagging behind in this group as well. Comparing TOEFL scores in China, Korea and Japan (TOEFL being widely used to evaluate English capabilities for college and graduate school applications in the US and other English-speaking countries), we see that all three countries were at about the same levels during the late 1970s. By 2000 Japan lags far behind China and Korea – why? The widening gap coincides with a significant change in Japanese education policies. In 1993, the Ministry of Education significantly relaxed educational requirements in response to much criticism over so-called “cramming education”. The resulting more relaxed educational policy continued until 2009 and also overlaps the drop in the number of students pursuing overseas study opportunities that require the use of English. Fortunately, in 2009 this relaxed policy was
  17. 17. changed to require more hours of study in major subject areas. With respect to English, the number of hours of English study during the three years of junior high school (ages 13 to 15) was increased from 315 hours to 420 hours. Nonetheless, it was still a painful experiment in trying “yutori” (=relaxed) education that caused a generation of young people to be less competitive globally. (Study result: “TOEFL, TOEIC and English Capability of the Japanese”, Kumiko Torikai, 2002). TOEFL Scores of 3 Asian Countries Late70s 84/86 95/96 99/2000 496 499 504 Japan 483 China 501 556 559 Korea 504 518 533 Immigration Policy of the Government The final factor is Japanese immigration policy. In 2008, there were 2.2million non-Japanese residents in Japan, which is 1.74% of our total population. However, this low level means Japan ranks 170th among all the 230 countries in the world. This compares to 41% of Singapore, which shows the highest figure among the Asian countries, but Japan also scores very low when compared to countries such as Australia (26.7%), Germany (13.1%), USA (13.0%), UK (12.0%), and the Netherlands (11.4%). On this point, I do not think we can blame the Japanese Government, because immigration policies reflect the Japanese people’s generally negative opinion towards accepting “aliens” into our own culture. (The notion of excluding “outsiders” is deeply rooted even within Japanese society – for someone like me, a normal Japanese person living in Tokyo, it would be very difficult to live in many parts of rural Japan. I believe this exclusionary tendency will continue for at least two more generations (sigh!).) Unfortunately, this “comfortable homogeneous atmosphere” is maintained at the very high cost of lowering our “economic voltage within the country” (“Population Drop”, Toshihiro Menju, 2011), as well as missing the opportunity to learn the global mindset within our country. If we are to proceed towards growth and accept the global mindset (which is the only way, I believe), we need to change our current attitudes. by Hiroyuki Izutsu Representative Director and General Manager Japan i In the context of studying abroad, “students” refers to students admitted to a recognized course of higher education in a country of which they are not already permanent residents or nationals.. ii According to Nikkei (https://job.nikkei.co.jp/2014/secretariat/99965261/blog/post/1/2/?navi_hplink), an average Japanese college student makes inquiries (web-based applications) to 89.1companies, submits formal applications to 23.6 companies, takes 16.0 employment tests administered by companies and conducts interviews with 11.4 companies. iii OECD countries = Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development GLOBAL MINDSET 15
  18. 18. Point of View Article A glocal country manager: a must for a global organization Your company is expanding. More offices are being set up in different regions around the world, each requiring a new head. Who you hire to lead these teams can make or break your company’s regional plans and strategies. Thus the role of a country manager is a critical decision that is recommended companies pay close attention to. A country manager by definition is responsible for the overall performance of a particular geographical directory. In general, there are two broadly differentiated types of country managers, those who head call centres and those who drive profit centres. The focus of the first type primarily covers how to drive efficiency, employee retention and response time. For example, the manager of a call centre in India has the responsibility to deliver the type of service to their regional headquarters or to their parent company from their particular directory. For country managers who run profit centres, they have to really look at driving top line growth, ensuring bottom line profit outcome from this growth, as well as keeping competitors and new entrants at bay. To achieve these effects is no mean feat, and without a strong team it is almost impossible to do. The main priority of a country manager should thus be to build a cohesive team that works with him/her to make the 16 THE RIGHT QUARTERLY company an engaging and inspiring place to work. This team will also be the talent pool considered for any succession planning initiative, so in the event a country manager decides to leave, there will not be a big gap between the country manager and the second-in-charge. In Asia-Pacific especially, strong managers with experience are hard to find and hard to keep due to mobility of skills. Therefore, having a good team leaves room for the country manager to concentrate on being a talent magnet and retaining top talent. Top qualities of country managers Good business acumen is the first and foremost trait to look out for in a potential candidate. As all managers go, they must be able to maintain the ongoing viability of the business, preferably with proven P&L experience. Businesses cannot survive by maintaining the status quo, hence country managers have the responsibility of growing revenue lines regardless of economic conditions. But what else contributes to making a good country manager? They are not just the business leaders for their regions, but also the link between the region and head office. They represent everything the region stands for and contributes to the larger organization. Hence the country manager must be someone who is a global
  19. 19. agility information thought leadership strategy culture VUCA collaboration synergy leader, while also understanding and aligning the local regions expectations and culture – a glocal leader. People Leadership Each country has culture and norms unique to its own. Inbuilt into the expectation of leading a strong team is the need for country managers to be sensitive to the team’s needs and priorities. Through effective communication, country managers learn to understand the practices of locals. Once that is established, they can begin to apply their influencing skills and build a reputation of being a good person to work for or work under. Consequently, this will attract talents to join the ranks of the company, leading to stability. Thought Leadership Many country managers when elected achieve success in the first 3-5 years of their role, but without knowledge and awareness of current trends in the industry it is hard for them to maintain their performance beyond that. By keeping in touch and being updated with the changing landscape of the industry, country managers will evolve with the times. Hire internally or externally? The eternal debate of whether country managers should be hired internally or externally really depends on the situation. However it is recommended that companies should look internally first. There are many advantages to this move, most of which come from the knowledge and understanding the internal candidate has of the company culture. If no suitable candidate is found in one particular office, the search can be extended to offices in other regions. The outcome of internal hiring is not just obtaining a country manager who can produce results faster, but such a move sends a strong signal to other employees that career progression within the company is possible. This has a huge impact on talent retention. It also sends a message to employees that a global mindset is necessary for a country head role. Historically speaking, 60-65% of external candidates fail coming into a senior position due to a variety of reasons. Firstly, they lack the depth of understanding of a company’s history and culture, and secondly by trying to change an organization from the outsidein, they often face the challenge alone. A prime example would be Sony, who brought on an American as their CEO but have yet to experience a successful turnaround in their P&L. To improve success rate of external candidates, companies should look through their professional network referrals first, rather than advertise the availability of the role through recruitment for example. Better assessment occurs by knowing someone personally, compared to interviewing someone you do not have previous rapport with. Ultimately, where to look for suitable candidates will be determined by the responsibilities of the role. If that is not concluded early, either way could be a wrong choice. GLOBAL MINDSET 17
  20. 20. Types of experience a country manager should have From a macro perspective, a country manager should have international work experience, a sizeable P&L track record and continuous career progression throughout his professional life. Typically, in emerging economies, country managers will be younger and less experienced. In more mature economies, older, more experienced managers are more common. On a micro level, the key attribute that country managers should have is the ability to continuously upgrade and update themselves to help adapt to the changing landscape. Today, people are living longer and many choose to work past the traditional retirement age. A country manager must be able to motivate different generations of workers who have vastly different values, different qualities and different outlooks in life to perform together as a team. Simply put, country managers should be people with a strong ego. These leaders display confidence from an ego perspective yet remain open and humble to the views and opinions of others. They do not allow their successes to make them arrogant, but work to continuously improve their own knowledge and skill set. They know past 18 THE RIGHT QUARTERLY success is not a predictor of future success. This is different from someone with a big ego, who shares the same confidence but shuts out input from anyone else. In Jim Collins’ book ‘Good to Great’ he made a case that there are no bad managers, only great managers who are able to focus on the success of the team to achieve their goals. Great managers are those who craft solutions that are more comprehensive and acceptable to all members in a team. Immersion Foreigners who become country managers must have a learning and appreciation of the country they work in, but do not necessarily need to speak the language. Although this will be an advantage in some cases, but it can also pose a distraction. Being presumptive is a state one can easily slip into without trying to fully understand the feelings of the local people. Immersion is one compelling way to cultivate an appreciation for local culture. This would see expats or foreign managers living in a local neighbourhood, learning about day to day activities, about the food, music, culture and family life. If country managers take time to build that, people will be much more forgiving of you when you make mistakes.
  21. 21. Learning cultural norms will influence the way a manager makes decisions and conduct day to day operations. The end result is that they will come across as being respectful and sensitive without losing the firmness needed to make decisions that drive the business forward. The interview process 21st century candidates are well trained in the art of interviewing, either from school or professional coaching and they become a true master during interviews. To find the best candidate fit, a comprehensive 360 degree view should be taken with multiple levels of assessment. You can conduct business simulations, panel interviews, behavioural interviewing and psychometric assessment, all the way up to assessment centers where potential candidates simulate a day in the life of the role they are vying for. The universal principle behind effective selection is that past behaviour predicts future behaviour. Dig into critical incidences of what the candidate has achieved in the past to skip over all the well prepared answers. By extracting specific examples and situations, companies minimise being blindsided and they know exactly what action was taken and what results were achieved. Local or foreign hire? The mobility and adaptability of candidates in Asia-Pacific make this a hotly contentious topic. Again, whether country managers are local or foreign will depend heavily on the requirements of the role of the job and the company’s business strategy. The candidate who fits best would be the most ideal. However, being specific will provide some advantages. In a service business, hiring local talent gives you a certain edge due to cultural familiarity and a gentler learning curve. This means a shorter time to performance in many cases. Non service businesses have more flexibility. Over the long term, companies should localise the management team so that upcoming, emerging leaders can see that if they apply themselves, work hard and learn leadership, they too can become a country head. Best practice for hiring and selecting a country manager There must be a systematic approach surrounding three main points in the hiring process. Find out candidates’ skills and competencies as that will give you a good idea of what they’re capable of doing today. GLOBAL MINDSET 19
  22. 22. Experience describes the background a candidate is coming from, including what he has been exposed to in terms of geographics, size and scope of operations. If the role is a technical one, candidates must have the appropriate expertise and knowledge to lead their teams. the higher the probability of getting a suitable candidate who can bring the right skills set, knowledge and experience on board. Conclusion The worst thing to do is approach the hiring process unprepared, not knowing what specifics to look out for or what key questions to ask candidates. However, it is quite clear that across all candidates, each of them must be continuously upgrading themselves to adapt to the changing environment. The wider you cast your net, 20 THE RIGHT QUARTERLY by Ronnie Tan Group EVP, Asia Pacific and Global Talent Management AsiaPac/Singapore by Ric Roi SVP, APAC and Global Center of Excellence Singapore
  23. 23. 2012 APAC Talent and Career Management At a Glance… 22 Countries of 446 delivery 64 Full-Time TM Consultants & 38 Associates 156 Career Management Consultants’ Avg Tenure Assessment Projects 7.9 y years 14,482 , Program Participants Consulting Wins 124 Assessment Centre & 173 additional Talent Talent Management clients served 729 Projects Won Right Management’s Talent and Career Management Capability TALENT ASSESSMENT LEADER DEVELOPMENT Competency Modeling Leadership Pipeline Development Organizational Assessment Leader Coaching™ Team Assessment L DEV EA D ELO ER PM W OR KF TALENT AND CAREER MANAGEMENT OR CE WORKFORCE TRANSITION & OUTPLACEMENT Outplacement Succession Management Performance Management T EN AS T S T EN ENT AL SM ES E M P LOY E E ENGA GEME NT O RG E F AN IZ AT I O NA L FE CT I VE N S ES Individual Assessment ORGANIZATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS Strategy Implementation Redeployment Strategic Workforce Alignment Career Decision Change Management Career Development EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT Strategic Communications Planning Workforce Engagement and Retention Strategies Wellness and Productivity Management
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