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12 Ways to Beat the Competition in the Global Economy


Aug 1, 2017

Competing in today’s business environment requires organizations to not only compete well in the country they reside in but to also compete internationally with other companies that deliver products or services in their particular niche or arena.

As the world becomes increasingly globalized, workers find that they need additional skills to stay competitive in the marketplace. Particularly in today’s dismal job environment, if employees do not adjust to the current landscape, they may find themselves one of the many unemployed.

Here are some guiding principles one must follow while working with geographically diverse teams:

1.Communication: An effective communication is the key to develop healthy overseas relations. Emailing can only get so much information across. The "sense of urgency" or many details that need to be followed by your out-of-country team can get lost in translation, especially through digital mediums. And so, a company must use effective communication tools to carry out the functions smoothly and gaining a competitive edge.

2.Delegation of Duties: As the "originating" team with a project or process, there can be hesitance in letting overseas employees become intimately involved in the steps or roles for particular projects. However, failure to do this can leave team members in the foreign office feeling out of the loop on what is occurring. To succeed in the foreign market, an individual must not ignore the employees working outside the country. They might be not a citizen of the country, but they definitely are the members of your company, so working in their interest and allotting them tasks to be performed can help you gain maximum support with a smooth business functioning.

3.Soft skills are of crucial importance. Always be polite. Anticipate questions. Read people and learn how to specifically tailor communications to your audience. Know that an initial read may change and that you'll have to adapt accordingly. This includes being able to listen and comprehend what is being said. Aim to be a step ahead, but don’t stumble if you fall a step behind.

4.Every country follows a different culture which also leads to a change in the attitude and lifestyle of the people residing there. Quickly understand cultural nuances. Co-workers from some countries will demand more information than they need. Others will not ask questions nor give feedback. Each situation will take modified engagement to get what you need to work with different personalities and cultures in an effective manner. If your communications reach multiple countries, learn what words are spelled differently and use them.

5.Analysis of In-country Customs/Work Environment: As a project manager for bi-country teams, you need to understand how people tend to work in various situations and account accordingly.

6.Add at least another language to your repertoire. Be able to communicate in a language other than your native tongue. If working globally, some people like to practice their English. If you know you'll be dealing with a specific country or region, it helps to know some phrases, if not the major language. You will have an edge in communications and understanding, and it shows you're willing to learn.

7.Add value. Understand the industry you're in or trying to get into. Bring something more to the table. Being a coder in a financial institution is great, but being a coder that understands finance is better. Add the knowledge of government regulations in your industry and you have an extra edge. If you do not want to go specific into a vertical, go broad and understand how all of the pieces in the machine work.

8.Demonstrate your worth. Sometimes it is cheaper for companies to stay local than to outsource. After a complete tallying of costs related to adding extra levels of support for off shoring, management may find that keeping teams domestic is less expensive and more effective. Being able to prove your worth and detail how much money the firm will save by having you closer to a certain office shows you've done your research and that you're looking out for the company.

9.Understanding Roles: By spending your time up front and letting people know what their specific roles are, each person operates with a good sense of purpose and one won’t have any tasks slip through the cracks.

10.One of your greatest assets is the wealth of knowledge in the companies and people you've worked with in the past. Reuse valuable techniques from previous employers and keep an active network. You don't need to have an extensive list of contacts, but recognize the ones you work well with and stay in touch.

11.Innovation is key to Caterpillar’s success. Competing on a global scale means staying on your toes. With increased competition, we have to look for ways to differentiate our products and services. The good news is that tough competition is one of the best motivations to innovate. When companies from around the world are competing in your market, you’re challenged to look for ways to improve your product and processes. Innovation is clearly a positive effect of competition, allowing us to produce more and offer lower prices.

12.It’s not enough to have the best, most innovative products. You have to know what your customers want. The products you sell in Chicago will not necessarily sell in Shanghai.

When dealing with the global economy, market research is more important than ever. It’s also helpful to have people on the ground in the locations where you do business. They know the market, the government regulations, the local customs, and most importantly, the people. That local knowledge is invaluable.