Coping with politics.
Get used to it, the NBA, Facebook, China, even Donald Trump, the world has gone global. International supply chain management has enabled new economies to flourish. Technologies inpenetrable to most allow us to see and speak to friends across oceans. 5G, AI and new systems are transforming our lives for the better. And that means the world has gone political.
But that doesn’t mean that all nations, any nation for that matter, have created an equally advanced and competent society at home. China is marginalising its Uighurs and trying to assimilate Hong Kong. In the US today there are more black men incarcerated than there were slaves in the mid 19th century. Any reader of my Thought for Monday blog will have a critical view of the current lack of pricipled leadrship in the US and Europe. The trend everywhere is towards populism, demagogy and the ridiculous self righteousness of nationalism.
So what does a business leader do? How dos he or she navigate a world of conflicting attitudes where public appobrium can be a sound bite away or where politicians will happily talk of breaking up the nations major companies? Here’s my approach:
1. Plan your global strategy , identify your core markets, understand their social mores, habits and passions. Do not overlook your domestic market in this. Empathise and know about the local history, culture and politics. Publish your conclusions, be open, be adaptive and responsive.
2. Take the lead, openly embrace what you can tolerate, what you support, what does not violate your own beliefs. Lead in core global themes – climate change, poverty, health care, education.
3. Be canny, steer clear of issues where you have a questionable right to be, where you may be applying one set of values to an entirely different culture.
4. Publicise your thinking and actions as they evolve and develop.
5. Be aware of your own short comings.
All the best, James