Nearly 90 percent of companies are moving into new global territories, as we speak, according to Head of Legal Operations and Chief of Staff at Uber, Susan R. Packal. She expressed her ideas in a contributed piece for the ACC Docket, which was syndicated on the Hyperion Research website.
In other words, corporate globalization is officially booming.
“The evidence for globalization is strong,” wrote Ms. Packal. “In April 2015, Ernst and Young’s Capital Confidence Barometer reported that in addition to 83 percent of executives viewing the global economy as improving, 84 percent of companies plan to expand outside of their home country in the next 12 months.”
As companies expand into new global markets, building trust and credibility around cultural awareness and sensitivity will be a key factor in building a successful global legal team, she added.
“Although the corporate cultural recipe is often born at headquarters, it’s important for dispersed employees to feel they have a role in helping shape the future of the organization. This diversity of talent, perspectives, thought, and ideas is, after all, what helped make the company great in the first place.”
Maintaining connection and collaboration around integration, diversity and localization is key in optimizing the company’s globalization efforts, she said.
To achieve these goals Ms. Packal outlined several best practices and shared anecdotes, to help keep remote corporate legal team members engaged and connected to the business. Here’s a summarization of her list of five must-dos for corporate legal departments looking to successfully expand their global footprint:
1. Structure Your Team for a Global Nature. Empower remote employees to be part of the strategic decision-making process. This helps capitalize on team members’ global perspectives. Find ways for these employees to add value locally and look for opportunities for them to vary their locales. This exposure equips them to become true international business leaders.
2. Emphasize Localization Rather Than Replication. Allow for remote employees to provide input about existing policies and procedures, at the outset. In essence, make people part of the change rather than inflicting change upon them. For example, what works Europe and Asia, may not fly in the United States. Look for ways to collaborate and uncover new ways to work more efficiently, across-the-board.
3. Be Both a Visionary and an Ambassador of Culture. In short, look for ways to strike a balance between celebrating the company’s foundational core values while embracing new regions and cultures to help take the company to the next level.
4. Act with Global Perspective – All the Time. Think about how every corporate action at headquarters will impact employees outside of that region. A holiday in the U.S. may not be relevant in a different country. Take the time to consider the entire global audience and find ways for employees to become educated about how different cultures approach business and structure their organizations.
5. Invest In Teambuilding. Never underestimate the power of having an “all hands on deck” meeting, whenever possible. These meetings can be done with minimal cost to the company and research shows the ROI is huge. Feedback shows when people leave these meetings they have a much stronger connection to teams.
“One basic difference between global teams that work and those that don’t lies in the level of social distance — the degree of emotional connection among team members,” said Associate Professor of Business Administration of Harvard Business School, Tsedal Neeley, as cited by Ms. Packal.
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