6 tips to compete in a global services market

ID-10048218Globalism is effecting Australian business and is likely to accelerate. Large numbers of professional jobs are predicted to move offshore in the coming decades; dramatically changing how Australian business works.

Where’s the data to show what’s happening, and what should you to do to compete?

Three data points

  1. Scott Linden-Jones, who I’ve known for over a decade, has written about Micro-Globalism in his 2013 book The Third Wave: Micro-Globalism and the coming employment crisis in Australia. Scott’s business has run with a team of 10 in Manila and 10 in Australia for 4+ years. His book gives a clear analysis and practical steps.
  2. Leading Unify, at Virgin Australia, required me to collaborate across large teams with several hundred people each in Australia, India, USA, Philippines and Europe. At DWS & Virgin Australia I’ve also worked building a blended Australian / Manila team.
  3. The movie Don’t stop believin’: Everyman’s Journey shows a personal account from an offshore person’s perspective. It follows Arnel Pineda who was discovered on YouTube and plucked from Manila to become lead singer of 80 million album selling US rock band Journey (singers of “Don’t Stop Believing”).

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What’s happening

Labour in Flux - SMH 2012 10 09 - Jobs by CategoryTechnology, high first world wages, and improved developing world education are changing the global labour market. From the 1960’s Australian manufacturing shifted to Japan, China, Korea. The 1990’s saw big business shift customer service to India, Philippines. From 2010 onwards professional services (Accounting, Computing, Marketing) are increasingly global. Some predict up to 1,000,000 professional jobs will move offshore in the coming decades. All businesses will need to participate to remain competitive.

Personal Response: Bring your “A” Game to All Star teams

As professionals increasingly compete and team globally I believe we must consistently bring our “A” game to every responsibility. Globalism delivers the opportunities to learn from “All Star” teams. It also bring the necessity of continuous improvement.

My six tips to compete

  1. Personal Continuous Improvement.  Globalism means constantly polishing, checking and re-checking to ensure you deliver. It means constantly learning: a week wouldn’t go past without reading and sharing best practice articles or learning from others to hone my craft. Professional associations; WordPress or LinkedIn articles; extra qualifications; Coursera courses; all help continuous improvement.
  2. Do your homework. On larger roles (like Unify) I research case studies & methods, clearly document to get my thoughts straight, and test my plans and communications before release. Doing my homework allows confidence of being a well informed leader for my people, and also ensures I accurately report upwards. World class requires high standards. Hit your goals and avoid the pain of failure.
  3. Manage your stress. Recent research shows that professional responsibilities can cause long term emotional stress that reduces our effectiveness and hurts our relationships. We need to replenish: positive vision for the future, spending time with family, even pets help. For me boating and socialising reduce stress. Unify had regular team events and a psychologist on staff. Replenish yourself and your team.
  4. Leverage globalism’s benefits. In Arnel, Journey found a talent they couldn’t find in the US. Unify‘s North American team could work whilst we slept and gave us fast access to skills in short supply in Australia. Scott’s onshore – offshore team has reduced his cost and increased his service. Services such as O’Desk are an easy place to start even for micro-businesses.
  5. Get to know the people you’re working with internationally. Spend time together face to face if you can – both professionally and outside work. In Unify we kicked off by flying over 30 leaders from Brisbane to Dallas. For the DWS / Virgin partnership DWS are hosting Manila team members for a month each in Brisbane. Scott’s team talks every day and visits regularly.
  6. Pay it forward. For Arnel the end scenes show his daily life in Manila giving to his family and setting up a charity for street kids in Manila where he once struggled to survive. Scott talks about the benefits to his offshore team members and how their enthusiasm rubs off. In business, mentoring helps manage stress as well as giving back. Volunteer with professional associations and help new colleagues.

Please Share

I’m excited (and a little daunted) about 24×7 global competition. Please share your thoughts.

Further reading

    • Linden-Jones, S. (2013). The Third Wave: Micro-Globalism and the coming employment crisis in Australia.
    • Boyatzis, R.E., Smith, M.L., Van Oosten, E., Woolford, L. (2013). Developing resonant leaders through emotional intelligence, vision and coaching. Organizational Dynamics, Vol. 42, pp. 17-24.
    • Boyatzis, R.E., Smith, M.L (2012). Positive renewal: Can you even keep going? http://www.leaderexcel.com, 6 Mar 2012.

Note: Scott’s book is on Amazon; I can email the articles above by request.

Author: Martin McKern View Martin McKern's profile on LinkedIn     

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