Elton Huang, PwC Central China Markets Leader, discusses the notion of Globally-minded localist. How do you navigate a world that is increasingly both global and local?
During the 20th century, the establishment of global organizations required leaders to navigate cross-cultural relationships and lead a geographically distributed workforce, which they did by imposing their cultural model: Anglo-American or Leninist. Since then, the world has begun to fracture along fundamental differences in how a political economy should function which makes imposing one organizational model an ineffective method of leading globally. To compound this, many issues will be managed most effectively at the community level, which means the importance of being embedded locally and understanding the nuances of doing business in a particular locale are more important than ever.
The paradox is the need to be both deeply embedded in the local market and seamlessly connected across the globe at the same time. This requires a leader to be agnostic about belief system and market structure and to be a voracious student of the world. It requires someone to be able to recognize their biases resulting from the lens through which they view the world and to learn how to operate most effectively in any locale, without losing their integrity or compromising the success of another market in which they wish to operate. It also requires the skill of bringing the world to bear against challenges that are both local and global in scale.
To be able to harness the power of the organization in its largest sense to make significant and purposeful progress in unfamiliar places. This requires both global and local connectivity, and the ability to negotiate between locales to drive collective success.