The Next Generation of Global Management (Part II)

Posted on January 11, 2009

The Next Generation of Global Management (Part II)

The Next Generation of Global Management (Part II)

Post by Ernest Gundling, Co-founder & Managing Partner, Aperian Global.

In our introduction to this topic, The Next Generation of Global Management in China, India and the United States, PART 1: Convergence & Divergence, we focused our “next generation” definition and analysis on emerging managers and leaders within China, India, and the U.S. We outlined some of the characteristics of each country’s population of up and coming global business managers, examined where the cross-border convergence and divergence seems to be occurring and posed some thoughts on the implications of this for global business management.

Now, we move on to offer some considerations for how companies can more effectively capture and retain management talent that is equipped for the global challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the next 10 years.

Global companies will need to modify performance management systems, organizational structures, talent development practices, and possibly even corporate culture, in order to appropriately cultivate and retain the “next generation” of global managers and leaders. Companies also need to recognize the unique needs of global management in China and India.

Below are a few recommendations that potentially transcend geography and industry, but they will still apply differently to each company and its management development practices.

Leveraging the Similarities – Technology that Resonates with this Generation

In addition to considering global management strategies in the United States, India, and China, companies should consider incorporating the use of new learning methodologies that are more likely to resonate with members of this generation such as video games, computer-generated simulations, social networking environments, wikis, blogs, podcasts, creative e-learning solutions, as well as less traditional face-to-face engagements and experiential learning solutions.

The Next Generation of Global Management (Part II)Corporations are already experimenting with various applications of popular technologies to better reach and develop this population. Here are a few examples:

  • According to a recently released Forrester report, companies like “Johnson & Johnson, Volvo, and Hilton Hotels are using some type of ‘serious gaming’ to train employees”1. Cisco has used video game-like applications to train some of its IT professionals and is exploring different applications of these technologies on its learning initiatives2.
  • Some multi-player and team games encourage interdependent behaviors and collaboration that may be different from the usual day-to-day environments for this generation, particularly for those in more independent and individual-oriented cultures like the U.S. At the same time, many video games recognize and reward individual results, which might be different from the typical day-to-day environments of more interdependent and group-oriented cultures like China and India.
  • Video game-like technologies are not only an innovative method to effectively reach and develop this emerging generation, but these solutions are also easily delivered on a global basis.
  • Many companies are experimenting with Facebook and MySpace-like applications in an effort to provide professional online communities that narrow the virtual and global divides. LinkedIn and similar networking sites are becoming much more commonly used as tools for recruiting, strategic partnerships, and business development efforts.
  • IBM and other companies have invested in the development of corporate “second life” applications that meet their business needs. Second Life is a web-based virtual world that is predominately generated and led by its users or “residents”. It has interesting possibilities for collaboration, training, shadowing, and other learning and development applications.
  • Companies have been increasingly integrating business simulations (board games, computer simulated business situations, etc.) into their higher level educational programs and corporate training offerings. These simulations provide exposure to practical business issues, and this type of learning environment may be more comfortable for certain learning styles and risk propensities in China and India.

Addressing the Differences – Cultivating Global Talent

It is understandable to think that some of the differences within this emerging generation in China, India and the U.S. may present new challenges for management development. However, there is also a great opportunity for companies to shift their mindset and leverage these differences as a competitive advantage.

The U.S.

In Daniel Pink’s provocative book, A Whole New Mind, he explores the premise that future leaders will be people who are more right brain directed (intuitive, holistic, synthesizing) in their thinking vs. left brain directed (analytical, sequential, rational). The “challenges of abundance, Asia, and automation” have intensified the impact of this shifting leadership profile and skill set mix3. It is important to consider the future implications of this potential change in talent profile and provide relevant career development opportunities. As more jobs and opportunities are modified or lost to other countries and technology, this concept should play a more prominent role in talent development discussions and succession planning at the Executive level.

In many parts of the US, there is still an inadequate level of preparation in the education system for today’s global business challenges and the realities of working across borders. As a result, there are many team leaders and managers who are responsible for important global projects and teams but are not equipped with the global knowledge, tools, and skills to set them up for success. Companies need to better equip and develop these future managers according to today’s global business challenges.

China & India

The Next Generation of Global Management (Part II)Putting in place systematic career development paths for employees will help to increase their willingness to stay in the organization and contribute at increasingly sophisticated and demanding levels. People who are hungry for career advancement and higher levels of compensation, authority and recognition need to be able to see a path to the top and are unlikely to be patient while watching their peers progress at what they perceive to be a quicker rate.

India, and China to a lesser extent, have introduced more hands-on experience into their educational systems to address the difficulties that new employees and managers face once they start to work for a large global company. This has helped to bridge the gap that can exist between rote learning systems and the practical problem-solving skills that most global corporations demand from their frontline employees and future managers. Ongoing corporate improvements in the evaluation, hiring, and training and development methods will ensure that employees can bridge practical and global experience gaps, becoming full contributors to global teams and innovation initiatives.

A True Global Competitive Advantage

Companies that are able to understand and appropriately leverage the similarities and differences of this next generation of management will gain a significant advantage in areas like global teamwork, innovation, quality, product development, and retention of top talent. In the next five to fifteen years, “Employer of Choice” may take on new requirements and definitions for this next generation of management talent. How effectively companies innovate and reevaluate their global management development practices may ultimately become the greatest competitive advantage of them all.

Aperian Global offers a variety of training solutions to help leaders gain a deep and actionable understanding of the cultural differences that are present when operating in other nations. We invite you to learn more about our Global Leadership Development solutions and how we can help you achieve success across borders.


1 Havenstein, Heather, “Video Games Poised to Boost Corporate Training,” Computerworld, September 1, 2008
2Cisco Illustrates How Gaming Could Work for Corporate Learning,” Chief Learning Officer Magazine, March 14, 2007; Whitney, Kellye, Senior Editor
3Pink, Daniel H. “A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future“, Penguin Group, copyright 2005, 2006.

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