Part of going global actually means staying local. Focusing on local markets, giving freedom to local leaders to innovate and creating a dialogue between local and global teams can help create transparency and visibility in performance across your company.
That was the message that came out of Wednesday’s show “Localizing Global Operations and IT.” We talked to Western Union’s John David Thompson and Wolters Kluwer’s Peter Cook about the benefits of standardization across regions.
“You need to seek out standardization where it makes sense,” Cook said. “But you don’t want standards to stagnate; you want them to evolve,” he added. Having standardization that adapts along with constantly changing regulations and services specific to other markets allows companies to stay globally focused while meeting the needs of local markets more readily. “We’re constantly revisiting how we do operations,” Thompson said. “We’re continuing to update, but we’re maintaining standards.”
Thompson has seen great results through this approach. During the show he described an occasion when empowering one of his regional teams to set pricing based on their own needs, not the global standard, they saw a dramatic uptick in performance and ultimately innovated the way Western Union approached their global operation.
Those who have a strong engagement model and understand each other’s priorities will see the best results. “It’s not just supply; it’s a partnership,” Cook said. Cook found this mindset worked best when he explained that the standards that exist globally are not just for standards’ sake. They allow a company to measure performance in a universal way and then open a dialogue based on how stronger or weaker performance results can improve the global goal. “As I always say, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” Cook said.
Hear more of Cook and Thompson’s thoughts on last week’s show, “Localizing Global Operations and IT.”