As new markets show signs of cooling down and mature economies slip even further into the doldrums, global businesses face an ever-tightening squeeze.
Globalization continues but the challenges of becoming truly global are harder, the responses more nuanced and the opportunities less available.
Companies are juggling the competing demands of both rapid-growth and slow-growth businesses and figuring out how to apply their resources in highly divergent business environments. This demands new management capabilities and the ability to lead diverse teams across multiple time zones and geographies.
Different companies are taking different routes to dealing with the challenges of becoming a global business.
- Some are restructuring themselves to give more decision-making weight to the markets with the best growth potential.
- Others are relocating executives to fast-growth markets and decentralizing decision-making authority to managers on the ground.
- Many are shifting their focus from a purely shareholder-value model to one that takes account of a broader range of stakeholders.
For companies that have grown accustomed to a stable and predictable operating environment over a number of decades, these changes are profound and sometimes unsettling.
They will require strong leadership and the ability to make difficult trade-offs in resource and budget allocation. As competition intensifies against a backdrop of volatile economic conditions, they are imperatives that no business can ignore.