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Implementing Global Strategy

I often find myself working with teams who have been tasked to control implementing global strategy roll out across complex international organisations.  Everybody knows that such roll-outs are difficult for a number of reasons:

  • Poor articulation of the strategy
  • Resistance from the business which feels disconnected
  • Lack of resource within the strategy team
  • Strategy key stakeholder disengagement once decisions have been finanlised

However, one area which is often overlooked in the roll-out phase and that is the impact that culturally differing views of the world might have on this whole process.  Monday found me working with the Portfolio Solutions leadership team of one of the world’s largest insurance companies who have the responsibility of pushing through a new approach into the market – an approach which will have far-reaching impacts on both brokers and underwriters.

Implementing Global Strategy

I was asked by the Global Director of Portfolio Solutions to work with the extended team to explore how cultural differences need to be factored into implementing global strategy.  (Interestingly the Global Director had met me at an earlier cultural awareness training programme in the UK which I had run for different major insurance company ten years previously. I’m always so pleased when people say they have remembered the lessons learned – even ten years on!)

We looked at whole series of cultural issues but the core conclusion was this:

  • The team needs to persuade and influence lots of stakeholders across multiple cultures to buy into the core strategy
  • Each stakeholder’s culture is likely to have differing expectations in terms of what the key issues are from their perspective
  • Without an understanding of these cultural expectations the process of persuasion and influence is, at best, hit and miss
  • Cultural knowledge is key to this process

Fortunatly I was able to point the group to our website which is a wealth of country-specific cultural knowledge.