Get global strategy right first time

Creating a global collaborative customer experience strategy can prove a complex and political experience. There’s a lot to consider when starting so I’d like to share some of my own learnings.

  1. Consider organisational structure.

Spend some time working out the strategic and operational structure that drives the business. It might be that you work in a business with a federal and devolved power structure. Or you might work in a centralised business with central decision making. You’ll want to identify if your company model is: Coordination, Unification, Diversification or Replication. These four model types will give you a clear idea on how to proceed with your plans.

If you work in a devolved structure any global initiative will be harder to scope and put in place. Identify risks before you begin cascading strategies that upset local regions and business units.

  1. Consider local contexts and business nuances.

In a global company it’s unlikely the business is uniform across regions and borders. Markets, segments, products and services will differ. One market might be struggling with a product whilst another is enjoying significant success. Differences are more stark in organisations that has seen significant merger and acquisition activity. Cultural differences means adapting your strategy taking into account local opinions and contexts.

  1. Check and analyse previous efforts.

Like most strategy work it may have been attempted before. Speak to colleagues and other executives. Identify what worked and didn’t work. Get your hands on any assets that could help with your new work or approach. Be open about the fact that you’ve reviewed existing work — it shows you are learning from the past. It may help mitigate political problems you encounter from those involved in previous efforts.

  1. Consider appetite for change and business pace.

Spend some time thinking about the internal appetite for change. Try to explore and define just how hungry the company is for change. Think about the senior support you’re getting and factor this into your thinking. Explore previous programmes and initiatives. Check how long change took to define and take hold. Avoid having an unrealistic timeframe or horizon date for your strategy.

  1. Seek out co-sponsors and designers.

Reach out to supportive and important colleagues across the world. Spend some time on your strategy proposition and engagement plan. Seek out support from people with equivalent and interdependent roles within each market and business unit. Sell the idea that you want to design strategy in collaboration with them. Form a working group and community. They’ll be valuable in keeping you on track and providing advice, support and critique.

  1. Spend some money on translation.

If you operate across diverse markets or concerned about misinterpretation then consider translation services. Success lies in getting local teams to support you. Speak their language and make sure your thinking isn’t lost in translation.