The History Channel recently rolled out a series called, “How States Got Their Shapes,” a topic so complex that it warranted a serial treatment so intricate it would make Ken Burns blush.
“States — NY, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Illinois, California — are so arbitrary…. We are now loyal to imaginary boundaries and self-contained hamlets. Preferences and cultural divisions emerge, but it’s so stupid to display loyalty to a geography that can’t love you back.”
The arbitrary nature of borders extends to all territories, foreign and domestic, and while we’ve become adept at handling intrastate commerce, but when it comes to global business, the boundaries are more than arbitrary: they’re engrained into the fabric of most organizations.
Historically, many companies have, for reasons ranging from taxes to supply chain efficiencies, separated out the operations of their international business into a complex structure that’s separate, but rarely equal to, the home country, and business culture, which each respective company calls home (or, more commonly, ‘headquarters’).
While many global companies divvy up territories and regions like they’re hashing out the Treaty of Paris, the increased interconnectedness, not to mention economic interdependence, of today’s workplace necessitates a new approach to the challenges of international business.
This is particularly true when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent, whose skills, experience and expertise transcends borders; international teams and work groups are not only becoming an increasing reality, but an important consideration in today’s talent and diversity strategies.
While, as Ruettimann pointed out, “preferences and cultural divisions emerge,” these, like any comprehensive recruiting strategy, are differences easily bridged, both through technology and the shared experience, and desires, shared by workers everywhere.
Concepts like stability, the opportunity for growth, the chance to earn a decent living and so forth might mean different things to different people, but that’s got less to do with location than personal preference, and it’s that preference that creates the only cultural division that really matters anymore: that of corporate culture.
And while, as Ruettimann suggests, “it’s stupid to display loyalty to a geography that can’t love you back,” when it comes to the world of work, it’s that loyalty, and engagement, that create a company’s most significant competitive advantage.
Going Global: Workers Without Borders
#TChat Questions & Recommended Reading (08.10.11)
This week, #TChat moves to its new day and time Wednesday nights at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT, but it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, and we’re excited to kick off our new time slot with a topic that’s truly as big as the world of work.
While our #TChat community comes from around the globe, it’s our shared passion for career and talent management, leadership and workplace culture that keep the conversation going. We hope you can bring your international perspective this week; no matter where you are, this week’s topic is truly universal.
To help prepare, and inform, your participation in this week’s #TChat conversation (or if you can’t make it!), here are this week’s questions along with some recommended reading that’s not required, but provides some great background and insight about where global business is at – and where it’s going.
See you Wednesday (that’s August 10 on your calendars) night at 7 PM ET!
Q1: How is globalization changing the world of work?
Q2: What lessons can US workers & leaders learn from their international colleagues?
Q3: What role does workplace or business culture play when working internationally or with global teams?
Q4: What can leaders do better to meet the needs of a global or international business?
Q5: How is technology or social media influencing the rise of global business?
Q6: What are the biggest opportunities for organizations going global? Biggest drawbacks?
Visit www.talentculture.com for more great information on #TChat, as well as other great resources on careers and hiring.
Monster’s social media team supports #TChat’s mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate — the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”