The Seven Secrets of Successful Globalizers

Secret No. 2: Welcome globalization as a transformation lever through these six crucial steps.

by Atul Vashistha

As I highlighted in my last column, ser-vices globalization is much more than offshore outsourcing. It is the complete embracing of cross-border operations as a means to reduce costs, improve quality, and enable business growth. It is also a means of business transformation.

And that’s the second secret of successful globalizers: Welcome globalization as a transformation lever. Successful practitioners see globalization as more than cost savings and ask themselves: What can globalization do for my business in addition to reducing costs? How can I leverage it to build competitive advantage? Once they figure out the answer, they act to realize it.

So what differentiates successful globalizers who use services globalization as a business transformation lever from those who don’t or can’t? Here are six steps.

Critical Step 1: Generating solid leadership commitment is the first critical step in realizing the transformative aspect of globalization. A successful business transformation requires the cooperation, buy-in, and commitment of an organization’s employees from the top down.

A committed transformation leader will provide strategic direction and set executive expectations; identify and assign owners to the respective transformation areas; act as a conduit in championing the initiative to other functional areas; and keep the transformation on the executive agenda.

Critical Step 2: In developing a new organizational design and structure, a company will consider its future state—what its new operating structure will look like as it develops globally.

Specifically, the organization must define the new roles for the global delivery centers and redefine the roles for existing centers. This entails developing new operating models that account for new jobs and work structures, performance management systems, and governance teams.

Critical Step 3: Collaboratively map out and execute change management. Change management involves helping existing team members to become resilient, to enable knowledge transfer, to engage resource planning, and to communicate. One important function of the change management team is to ensure that transformation is mapped out and executed collaboratively, with all stakeholders actively involved in the process.

In addition, a successful change management process will identify sponsors, change architects, and stakeholders and ensure that all are prepared for the change and have effective roles.

As they undertook global sourcing and transformation, leaders such as P&G not only focused on effective knowledge transfer but also worked to ensure that 99.5 percent of affected staff was placed with outsourcers or other employers.

Critical Step 4: Effective communication involves planning for the human impact of the change and identifying potential points of resistance as well as developing a plan to accommodate impact and deal with resistance. Communication should focus on an organization’s internal stakeholders, though external communications may also be important.

Critical Step 5: Educate and develop new competencies. An organization should begin its education process by identifying the training needs and developing a training curriculum for on- and offshore operations.

A successful globalizing organization will define a training approach and align it with a career development plan to retrain employees. For example, firms such as American Express ensure that new relationship manager roles are grown from within through on-the-job training. Many times, an organization will find that it must also provide training for its new global partners.

Critical Step 6: The final critical step successful globalizers take is process redesign. In a successful business transformation, processes are redesigned to include automation, new onshore/offshore interactions, knowledge management, and other support systems.

Successful globalizers expect globalization to be a transformation lever for their business, and they take the six steps highlighted here to ensure the realization of that transformative aspect.

Stay tuned for my next column, in which I’ll discuss the third secret of successful globalizers.


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