Upside of a global organization
Posted by Amy Wilson on July 12, 2010
Participating in a global workforce can be tough – it takes time to get into the groove of conference calls, strange working times, and cultural translations. I learned this first-hand as I transitioned from PeopleSoft to Oracle 5 years ago. Sure, PeopleSoft was “Global,” but it wasn’t optimized globally. A sprinkling of virtual team members might have connected into a meeting at headquarters on occasion, their advice tapped into via email. Their expertise was focused on their particular local area and work was rather isolated.
Not so at Oracle. Not only are there global people, but there are global teams. Infrastructure and processes revolve around the fact that large groups of people are based throughout the world. And so, we are optimized in two ways: 1) the ability to connect/collaborate virtually with anyone in the world at any time, and 2) the ability to leverage local working teams such that entire projects/issues/opportunities are presented and fully dealt with independent of “headquarters.”
Optimizing for 1) is fairly straightforward. It involves good technology and reasonably flexible people. Optimizing for 2) is much harder and takes a level of organizational maturity. It requires that leaders consider the talent based in particular geographic regions and how best to organize them based on skills, leadership, timezone, and organizational network/connection. It also requires that high level goals & values are communicated and understood globally. Meg provides some great advice for managers here.
Building a global organization is not for the faint of heart, but the upside is tremendous. I am continuously awed by how great it can be. For example, last Thursday night as I was heading to bed, I saw an email from my manager that presented one of those issues/opportunities. This was something that needed to be solved by the next morning; however, it was not something I could solve on my own, even if I stayed up for hours. Instead, I contacted a colleague in India who would be able to push through the necessary channels throughout his day (my night). The next morning I woke up and felt like the tooth fairy had left me money under my pillow – my colleagues had solved the problem and we were able to take advantage of the terrific opportunity before us.
Many thanks to Ravi and Sai for the shared goal and super teamwork!