We are constantly being bombarded with the message that the business world is shrinking. One of the growing terms for this change is that the world is becoming flat. With the continued enhancements in technology and information availability, the ability for a company to isolate itself geographically is quickly disappearing. Additionally, addressing major global markets is increasingly becoming a mandate for those companies looking to achieve growth.
The practice of developing client-facing teams with in-country executives and employees is today well recognized and widely adapted by the majority of companies looking to achieve global expansion. Success at this endeavor often leads the business world to classify a company as “truly global”. Unfortunately, while many companies are extremely focused at developing local presences, they tend to totally overlook the composition of their governing Board of Directors. In fact, a very small percentage of “global” companies have Boards that reflect their true geographical makeup.
When approaching international markets today in this “flattening world,” it is now essential to make globalization of Boards a much higher priority
A quick way to assess your company’s level of globalization and your need for change is to analyze the geographic distribution of both your current and projected three year revenues. Once this has been determined, you can compare your revenues against your Board structure. If your growth plans include expansion or increased market share in a particular region, it makes send to pursue Board members who have knowledge of or are from that new market. Just as you would invest in additional resources, so should you approach Board development.
If you have determined that changes need to be made after analyzing your current Board structure – how should you proceed? What level of individual should you look for? In our Board practice we recommend that clients assess the knowledge, experience, culture and market recognition (those individuals who are so well known and respected in the market. hat they are what we term a “marquee” individual) of each potential Board member. Once a target list has been developed, the appropriate individuals can be approached either directly or through a search firm.
Independent of how you acquire the appropriate talent for your Board, the requirement for globalization is eminent. As our world becomes “flatter” and the need for your Company to emerge in the market as a truly global player evolves into your top priority, your Board of Directors needs to clearly represent your commitment to the market.