Column: On Global Leadership

DQI Bureau
New Update

Leadership is an in-born trait in women, whether they lead

global teams across the globe or manage a household-discreetly, always

ensuring that every member of the family or team is well nurtured and attended

to.  It is a quality that is fairly

unique yet very much a part of the DNA of a woman.

This is not to take away the talented and distinguished leaders of

today's world, who are mostly men. Yet, in a world that compels us to clock at

Internet speeds in decision making, risk-taking and team building, a woman's

leadership skills brings a new dimension of style, energy, experience, execution

and innovation that is compelling, yet discreet.

It is this multi-faceted talent that is inherent in global leaders that

makes them truly successful.


Managing global teams successfully is a role that requires

one to have deep understanding of the global markets, customers, competition,

cultures and business processes in these markets.  The typical technocrat represents the most uni-dimensional

role and typically lacks to provide the dynamism, multi-tasking, high sense of

awareness and energy that a global leader requires to run an organization.

Then how does a technocrat transform into a global leader?

While the environment, opportunity to perform, the ability

to rise to the occasion and cease the opportunity, and the ability to take the

necessary risks are all important factors, I believe there are four important

ingredients that are necessary and an essential quality of a truly successful

global leader: Innovation, Experience, Execution, and Energy & Drive

Why do I pick these traits as essential above all else?

When you have to rise above everyone else within an organization and

excel to be recognized as a global leader, you need to charter a course that

will transform your current role into a high value contributor that creates

intrinsic value to the organization and is recognized by global customers.


Innovation: A technocrat must expand her role within

the organization by creating a great sense of market awareness to the role and

adding new functionality through innovation.

Take the example of a quality engineer in an organization whose role is

typically limited to execute a set of processes routinely to ensure adequate

quality.  The engineer can be

successful by just executing the role diligently or can choose to innovate by

understanding the importance of the role in terms of the market competitiveness

it brings to the organization (a sense of higher purpose), and the unique

differentiation it can create to the products or services the company has to

offer to its customers.  She can

expand the functionality of the role to provide greater value to both the

customers and the company.


are four ways women can evolve into global leaders: through Innovation,

Experience, Execution, and Energy and Drive"

Experience:  A

technocrat needs to demonstrate deep sense of understanding of multi-faceted

views of global teams that is only cultivated by a set of diverse experiences

working with varied customers and teams across multiple geographies and

cultures.  This does require one to

travel and integrate and experience different cultures and people by working

with them shoulder to shoulder.  Tracing

my own career, I believe the greatest asset is the experiences that I have

gained working with teams over the past twenty years in the US, Canada, Brazil,

Japan, China, Korea, Australia, South Africa, UK, Germany, France, Switzerland,

Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, India and the Middle-east.

There are no short cuts to this journey.

This is by far the most valuable exposure and experience that one could

gain that offsets all the discomfort of being away from home and family.


Execution:  A

global leader is created through the test of execution-execution in a global

scale requires one to take advantage of all local differentiation, from the most

simple things like time-zones, holidays and culture to the more complex issues,

such as legal rights, commercial and trade policies, to complex business

processes that are unique. Finally what matters is the ability to execute

flawlessly in the eyes of the customer, which requires that the leader is able

to motivate and manage global teams 7 by 24.

In my own experience that execution excellence comes from a

deep sense of ownership of the customer and the team that one manages.

By far the most difficult and yet the most enriching experience in

flawless execution for me came from driving a multi-million USD project for an

Insurance company in Japan, over three years managing Japanese, Indian, US and

UK teams to an extremely tight and volatile delivery schedule.

The collective team size was over 300 people across these geographies.

We needed to factor everything from national holidays to children's

school vacation timeframes across these geographies.

The greatest pleasure for me came when the customer, the

CIO of the Insurance company, hand-delivered a letter of commendation to me for

our excellent efforts in Japanese, with a English translated version and invited

me to a Chinese authentic dinner (the highest honor in Japan).

Even today they stand as a testimony of success and reference.


Energy & Drive:

A global leader needs to follow the sun. This is by far the most

challenging part of the journey.  With

today's digitization, mobile and wireless technology-there is no 8-hour

workday!  It is all about finding

the 28 hours in a 24-hour day (you can keep traveling west-not just to get the

bonus miles, but to get the extra hours and an extra day squeezed in a week!).

The energy and drive I speak of must come from within.  It is a certain spirit and power that is un-daunting, a true

extension of oneself that continues to motivate the teams and oneself to

success.  That is the spirit of a

global leader.

As a global leader, I have always strived to bring the

above attributes in all the roles I have played:

an IEEE standard to success and to creating and managing truly successful

global teams!

Just try it!