In 2008 I was asked to author an article on Globalization for my high school alumni magazine, “Tabor Today”. I wrote about the implications of the expanding U.S. financial services marketplace and how even in a U.S. centric role I needed to have a global perspective. To illustrate these points I focused on a survey done by the IBM Institute for Business Value. A majority of the executives interviewed felt that globalization would be an important factor in their firm’s strategies, but only a small percentage felt they were ready for the challenge. I attributed this to the unknown possibilities ahead in a fast-changing world. I discussed how changes presented a new way of doing business with a new set of opportunities, unique to what had been seen in recent history. Today, as a global relationship executive, never has this been more real to my daily operating environment.
Because of my background, I was intrigued when I heard that the theme of the NICSA Strategic Leadership Forum would be Globalization. What, if anything, has changed in the last five years? Alex Birkin (Partner, Global and EMEIA Asset Management Advisory Leader, EY), George Batejan (EVP, Global Head of Technology and Operations, Janus Capital Group) and Samir Pandiri, (Chief Executive Officer, BNY Mellon Asset Servicing) opened the industry roundtable session with their unique insights.
Each panelist illustrated that although the world is operating more globally, there is still no global operating model, sighting examples of weekly 3:00 a.m. conference calls for teams in Asia and observances of U.S. centric holidays as instances where advances still need to be made. They discussed the need to be not only bi-lingual but also bi-cultural. It does not help to know the language if you do not know the culture. In addition, global employers are now looking for employees who have experiences with other cultures and speak other languages. It is no longer about simply “going to work abroad.”
In a business world that is increasingly becoming global, companies cannot be all things to all people. They need to find their true source of diversification and focus on it. At the same time, we live in a world of “co-petition”; working with people we compete with is becoming the norm. Therefore, we must develop client segmentation and drive the client experience for each of our niches. Be the best at what you are specifically focused on; specialization will drive growth in the years to come.
The panelists left us with three key themes to drive success both personally and professionally in a growing global world:
- Be curious; always want to know more.
- Be a proactive listener; you can only respond correctly if you know what the actual question is.
- Be a good communicator; one needs to be understood to be able to affect change in this rapidly changing world.