The final stage in globalizing is less a step and more a long march. After adopting a global mindset and giving their commitment teeth, executives must make a series of organizational changes–large and small–required to execute on their global strategy. To succeed on the global stage, a company must align its organizational realities with its lofty ambition.

Improving the organizational attributes required to compete globally often takes the best part of a decade, particularly for large complex enterprises. Samsung’s Chairman Lee was forced to realign most aspects of the group’s business model to deliver on his commitment to global leadership. When transforming their company to compete globally, owners and executives should focus on five key aspects of the organization: Strategic frames,  Along with the Samsung case described in an earlier post, CEMEX (a leading global cement producer), provides another example of transforming an organization for global competition

Strategic frames refer to what managers see when they look at the world, and include definition of market, focal

In October 31, 1989 Mitsubishi Estate bought a controlling stake in the Rockefeller Group, owner of iconic buildings including Rockefeller Center and Radio Center Music Hall. The acquisition, for many, underscored the inevitable rise of Japan Inc. In the preceding decade, best-selling books like Clyde Prestowitz’ Trading Places: How we are Giving Our Future to Japan and How to Reclaim It and Ezra Vogel’s Japan as Number One confidently predicted that Japan Inc. would dominate wide swaths of the global economy by the 1990s.   Instead, Japan lost a decade, and Japan Inc lost its luster.

In the past few years, firms from emerging markets have acquired high-profile firms. Mittal Steel bought Arcelor, while the Brazilian-Belgian brewer InBev acquired Anheuser Busch. Many North American and European managers reassure themselves that the rise of emerging market firms will repeat the Japan Inc story–initial success, followed by massive hype that ends in a fizzle. The analogy to Japan Inc is reassuring, but deeply flawed.  This comparison ignores the underlying sources of advantage enjoyed by the best emerging

Leading in turbulent times

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Don Sull is professor of management practice in strategic and international management, and faculty director of executive education at London Business School. This blog is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs, managers, and outside directors to lead more effectively in a turbulent world.

Over the past decade, Prof Sull has studied volatile industries including telecommunications, airlines, fast fashion, and information technology, as well as turbulent countries including Brazil and China, and found specific behaviours that consistently differentiate more, and less, successful firms. His conclusion is that actions, not an individual’s traits, increase the odds of success in turbulent markets, and these actions can be learned.