To start with, we all focused inward, not outward.
The real world is changing. The corporate world is not. We fail to recognise even so simple a concept as “norms”. Norms are the prevalent characteristics of a demographic subset. However, debate over the word norms has included such retorts as, “Who’s to say what’s normal?” and “I am not a demographic, I am a person.”
The problem often arises from two precepts Our desire to include as many people in the discussion as we possibly can to gain as many and as varied opinions as we can possibly obtain. Our desire to protect ourselves from recriminations arising from our failure to include as many people in the discussion as we possibly can to obtain as many and as varied opinions as we can possibly obtain.
Let’s look at some examples of group norms Take three groups of people in a corporate setting: Accounting Marketing Sales. Let's look at some of the norms.
In Group A , the group eats in the same restaurant every Friday and splits the check with each person paying his or her own share. (Sounds like the accounting department.) In Group B , the group never eats in the same restaurant twice. The bill is divided evenly among the members of the group. (Sounds like marketing.) In Group C , a different member picks the restaurant each week and picks up the tab for all. (Sounds like sales.)
Each group has two group norms: how to decide where to eat, how to divide the bill. These are the prevalent characteristics of the three demographic subsets. The "norms of the groups". An essential aspect to the cohesion and success of each group is the individuals' embracing the norms of the group. Now, this is not, nor has it ever been, an objective right or wrong; good or bad; or a superiour or inferiour assessment. These examples, however, do demonstrate differences, diversity if you will. Diversity is a word firmly rooted in the word different.
<ul><li>If one of the employees transfers to a different department, there may be problems arising from the transfer. How does the employee respond to the norms of the new group? There are five possibilities: </li></ul><ul><li>Find a lunch group that embraces the same norms. </li></ul><ul><li>Start a new lunch group. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not join a lunch group. </li></ul><ul><li>Conform to the norms of the new lunch group </li></ul><ul><li>Change the norms of the new lunch group to accommodate his needs. </li></ul>
If you look closely, you will see that the first three options are focused on the individual. The last two options include changing the norms or conforming to the norms. While conforming to the norms may appear to be a personal change, in the last two, the norms take precedence over the individual. The norms must be addressed. Corporate culture and personal culture will influence the employee’s choice.
As we look at a changing world, we see numerous and disparate cultures; thus we see numerous and disparate norms. The challenge is to embrace the different cultures without squeezing too tightly. Of course, one of the most simplistic (sic) solutions is to educate people to the differences. The result? The result is a misunderstanding on our part. We believe other people will learn to do things our way. However, consider the following:
How often have you heard someone say, “Your way isn’t the only way of doing it, you know? You should try doing it my way.” Now, have you ever heard anyone say, “My way isn’t the only way of doing it, you know, I’m going to try to do it your way?” Not too often. Why not? Because, the message fails. We understand what we are saying, but we fail to understand what other people are hearing. “ No one agrees with someone else’s opinion. Only his own opinion expressed by someone else.” -- My Dad “ Don’t bother asking me. You don’t want to hear my opinion. You want to hear your opinion.” – Slim Fairview
The same way behavioural scientists are concerned with cognitive development among people, social scientists must be concerned about cultural development among emerging nations. It is essential to understand that we must allow other people’s cultures to work for us and not work against us as so often happens when we try imposing our norms of corporate leadership and organisational structure on the rest of the world. The result will be a revised declamation: We must allow other people’s cultures to work with us and not against us. To do this we must neither work for, nor against others but with them. Cooperation not Competition However, before you get happy, I am not preaching what you’ve been practicing
Do business with countries that share the same norms. Do business only with people like us. Isolationism. Conform to the cultural norms of the global business community Change the norms of the world to suit our needs. Analogies to our Business Stratagems Find a lunch groups that shares the same norms. Start a new lunch group. Do not join a lunch group. Conform to the norms of the new lunch group. Change the norms of the new lunch group to accommodate our needs. Lunch Group Strategies Corporate Strategies
We formed our cliques when we were young. We’ve supported one another. We have longstanding loyalties. We have reinforced our own beliefs. You can see a strong and clear analogy between the two lists: between the two strategies.
Our circle of friends has been our strength and has served as a strong support. Our circle of friends provided the structure in our lives. Our circle of friends has supported the status quo. What can we conclude is the result?
If You Chose Number Four You Have Chosen Wisely However, knowing what to do and knowing how to do it are two different matters.
The first thing we must do is change the way we think. Instead of thinking : Third World Countries Try saying: Emerging Nations Instead of thinking: Indigenous People Try saying: Industrious People
In dealing with emerging nations we view emerging nations with the mindset used to recall the early days of Western nations. This is how we see agriculture. This is our view of transportation in emerging nations.
To do business in emerging nations, it is essential for Western leaders to understand that England, France, and Germany were at one time emerging nations. England, as an emerging nation, was not even mechanical. Aside from mobility, is there a substantive difference between a sundial and a wristwatch? Is there a difference between hammering a piece of iron into a horseshoe and bending it into shape on a press brake? Is there a substantive difference between writing a letter and sending an e-mail? Today, society has moved from analog to digital. From mechanical to technological. We now have vastness, speed, mobility, and efficiency that did not exist when England was an emerging economy.
Today, a thousand lives can be saved with a vaccine made 10, 000 miles away. However, while those 1000 people with shovels can’t produce results as efficiently as one person with a bulldozer, with the technology of: irrigation, water purification, fertilisation, sanitation, and the study of surficial geology, those 1000 people with shovels can elevate a larger segment of the population in a shorter amount of time than people in feudal societies could imagine. Additionally, the way the industrial revolution changed Europe and the world, the technology revolution is changing emerging nations, and the world—with one exception: The rise is higher, faster, and more egalitarian. Case in point: France: One cheval, one chevalier. Malaysia: One computer, five work stations, a C-level operation (CEO, COO, CFO, CTO, CIO) is up and running with all the information in the world available to them within minutes if not seconds.
Now, why don’t leaders in industrial nations understand leadership in industrious nations? It has a lot to do with our education. Do you have an MBA? Fine. Did you have to study Anglo-American Legal History; Medieval Lit; or read Hans Christian Andersen, Grimm’s Fairy Tales or Aesop’s Fables to get your degree? No? That is so sad. Managers and leaders in Western nations won’t understand Leadership or Followship (sic) in emerging nations without understanding “The Emperor’s New Clothes” or “Stone Soup”.
Did you study England in the early years? Knights, armour, horses; noble yeomen; hue and cry; the Shire Reeve; the witenagemot; the posse comitatus; trail by compurgation? [We still have trial by compurgation. Today, we call it the “celebrity endorsement”.] When trouble arose, the yeomen did not form a committee. They looked to the Shire Reeve who called a posse comitatus. Before that, they looked to the Knight: the person who could afford a horse and a suit of armour. No horse? No armour? You became a vassal to the King. He supplies the horse, the armour, the land and in return your lead the army of serfs when called upon. We still do much of that today. Do you remember King John at Runnymede? (The Barons are not on your side today, either. However, today we call it stakeholders’ interests.)
In a crisis, people look to a leader. Go to an emerging nation. Try to pick out the leader. His people will follow him, not you. The group norm in many emerging nations means the group follows the leader. You won’t get far trying to convince anyone that a committee will produce better results. Moreover, it won’t. If you doubt me, I will refute your position with one word. Congress.
Another reason why a committee will not work, even if you expand the size of your committee, is the fact that the group will move to the center. Extremes will counter-balance each other, compromises will be made, and the variety you sought will be lost by the very method you used to obtain it. In China, there is a philosophy: “Face is more important than life.” That philosophy appears in some form in our own society. No one wants to work for a disgraced leader. Therefore, we defend our leaders even when we know they are less than effective. We don’t want to appear weak to the competition. (This is the reason the cameras stopped rolling when FDR was being helped into and out of his wheel chair.)
We see the other side of that coin when we expose our leaders’ flaws. We may do this so no one will think we have been duped. We are more likely to do it because we are more loyal to ourselves than we are to our group. We have forgotten: “If we were more concerned with being respectable and dignified, we would more often be treated with dignity and respect.” -- Slim Fairview Loyalty to leaders is more prevalent in emerging nations: loyalty to ourselves is more prevalent in Western nations. Eh, young Cassius?
Now that we understand the basic underlying concepts of our relationship with those around the world, let us look at some of the management structures we are familiar with.
These are the Various Operations Structures We Shall Review Each One Individually
This is an Example of A Traditional Corporate Hierarchy Workers Supervisors Managers E Level C Level
Here is a Structure that May be Used When A Project is Assigned Project Group Leader Marketing Sales Production Finance
The Committee Comes Up With a Plan Here: What Happens When a Committee is Formed to Create a Plan? A New Plan is Proposed The Plan is Discussed The New Plan is Modified The Plan is Modified A New Plan Emerges The New Plan Is Rejected
One Solution is to Form a Committee With A Facilitator There is No Right or Wrong They’re All Right You’re All Wrong We Should Do Something Else We Should Do That We Should Do This Let’s All Be Team Players, Everyone. :-)
We try to use the assorted tools we’ve been given over the past forty or more years, only to find out they don’t work.
The organisation is limited to us only and others will reject the organisation. The organisation will include others who are not schooled in this method. The organisational plan is rejected because this structure violates the cultural norms of those we want to do business with. The reasons why the traditional corporate structure will not work. 5 4 3 2 1
It lacks definition. It lacks direction. It lacks focus. Too many people are not geared to provide input. Input is often mutually exclusive. It violates the cultural norms of the people we want to do business with. The reason why this structure fails in emerging nations.
The impediment to team building, when applied to other cultures, is that too often it violates many of the cultural norms. More (teams members) increases the chances of violating a cultural taboo. Unlike the West, other cultures have rules. Those rules are enforced. Violating those rules dooms a project to failure. Too often you will not know that you have violated a taboo, thus you will not know why you failed. This impedes taking corrective action. TEAM BUILDING
While the structure was basically sound it was international not multinational. Some are not predisposed to working for us. Discordance among the various operations proved to be counter-productive. Hidden agendas can prove to be disruptive. This is an Early Design Structure of a Company with Global Operations American Corporate Headquarters American Operation Foreign Operation Foreign Operation
By Modifying Our Structure from International to Multinational We Can Improve Our Success in Going Global In the above example, we relinquish centralised control. In other words: “It is essential to understand that we must allow other peoples’ cultures to work for us and not work against us as so often happens when we try imposing our norms of corporate leadership and management style on people around the world.” Multinational Headquarters International Leadership International Leadership International Leadership Global Operation Global Operation Global Operation
I Will Repeat What I Said Earlier Cooperation not Competition It is essential to understand: We must allow other people’s cultures to work for us and not against us. We must not impose our norms of corporate leadership and organisational structure on the rest of the world. We must allow other people to work with us. We must neither work for, nor against others but with them.
This involves seeking input from the leaders in the areas where we want to do business. We must admit that we are not familiar with the norms of doing business and ask for help. We must allow leaders of emerging nations to manage their own operations. As stated, their people are loyal to them, not to you. We must educate ourselves to the customs and the taboos of the cultures where we want to be successful. We must use a better corporate structure ourselves to help insure our success.
Basic Overview Global Strategy Development Leader Task Manager Task Manager Task Manager Task Manager Global Assistant Leader Global Assistant Leader Global Assistant Leader Global Assistant Leader The Other Leader’s Follower The Other Leader’s Follower The Other Leader’s Follower The Other Leader’s Follower
Selected Chain of Operation The Task Manager (at the direction of the Strategy Leader) pairs with a Key Leader in the Emerging Nation to establish a process for his or her particular responsibility in the project. The Key Leader in the Emerging Nation, relying on the loyalty of his key followers, helps to organise and format the process that will be successful in his country. Global Strategy Development Leader Task Manager Global Assistant Key Leader The Other Leader’s Followers
Relying on the intimate knowledge of their own cultural norms and taboos, and having a vested interest in the success of the operation, the followers will provide the necessary information to the Key Leader in the emerging nation. The Key Leader in the emerging nation, working with the Task Manager, will format the process for his aspect of the project management assignment. The Global Strategy Development Leader will meet regularly with the Task Managers to follow the progress of each Task Manager and to keep all Task Managers apprised of the progress being made by each of the other Task Managers. This is intended to insure that targets are being met and that no aspect of the project will stall the progress of another. The Global Strategy Development Leader will report to the appropriate superiour.
Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket When doing business globally, work with other multi-national corporations and their corporate leaders willing to share what they’ve learned about doing business globally. Good luck. Slim