Beyond Asia: strategies to support the quest for growth

Challenge 3: top management teams often lack an international outlook

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Ensuring that managers have a more international outlook and experience requires training.

The complexities of international business mean that management capabilities must evolve as companies broaden their geographical footprint. Asian companies say their leadership teams need a better understanding of global markets and a strategic approach to international hiring.

Globally focused companies are less likely to agree that their top management team has an international outlook on decision-making. They are also less likely to agree that their top management team has sufficient work experience outside the home country. This may be because globally focused companies have learned the hard way.

Focusing strongly on local talent

Thirty-eight percent of global respondents say that they will recruit locally in new international markets. An international outlook becomes particularly important when Asian companies enter developed markets because of differences in the management style.

Reducing reliance on expatriates

Although some personnel from the corporate headquarters are important to retain the link back to the center, it is important to strike a careful balance between global and local. “If you send everyone from head office, they may understand the corporate culture, but they’ll miss the nuances of what is required to operate locally,” says Steve Ferguson, Asia- Pacific Banking and Capital Markets Leader at EY.

“Equally, if you just let the local people run a business, you’ll find that you’ve lost a bit of control. Therefore, it needs to be the right blend. The tricky balance is in training and mentoring people so that they can eventually take over the business and run it for you.”

Emphasizing global training and mobility programs

Ensuring that managers have a more international outlook and experience requires training, as well as a strong global management program that enables mobility between regions.

Dr. Sarasin Viraphol, Executive Vice-President of Charoen Pokphand, an agribusiness conglomerate based in Thailand, says his company is looking as far afield as the US for training opportunities: “We are talking with a number of potential partners in academia and industry across the US to explore how we can improve the training of our people in Asia.”


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