Too often we address such questions by deciding which needs take priority over the others. This leads to either-or decisions: everything must be done either globally or locally. Getting the right balance requires looking at both sets of needs: on what issues are the global marketplace requirements compelling and where are the local marketplace requirements more compelling? Here are some questions to consider:
- What do customers and other stakeholders in each of our markets expect from our organization? (Will their standard of living be raised? Will their cultural expectations be fulfilled or violated?)
- What is our strategy to be successful in this competitive marketplace? (Will eight local successes be greater than one global success or vice versa? In which specific local markets would the global solution NOT produce winning results?)
- What organizational capabilities do we need in order to achieve these results? (Examples: collaboration across borders, understanding when a local exception to the global model makes sense, and making the exception okay)
- What do our work processes, roles and systems need to do so that we are consistent with all of the above? (Organizing a global network to understand similarities and differences in each market, testing assumptions and executions before full throttle rollouts.
Mobilizing the organization to “get it right” in this domain requires careful market research, flexible product technology, and organizational templates that can be applied successfully in stand-alone and collaborative situations.
This is more of an art than a science.