“The Challenges of Going Global” (Chapter 3)

Global CIO Paradox 1:

Innovation Is Happening outside the Organization

  • Watch out for innovations happening outside your circle.
  • You gain a number of insights from consumers outside your organizations, this will help you on how you can thread-in innovation in your organization.



Global CIO Paradox 2:

Handling Different Types of Customers

  • Consumer expectations are different from country to country, one innovation on your IT in one region might not work for all other regional IT Department of your organization.
  • You need to understand what works in local markets, so your IT Department can make solutions fitted for the needs.

A jump board to do this is:

Get your IT people close to the markets

  • Your agents have the local market knowledge, leverage this by collaborating your IT Team with them to better come with solutions that are well fitted with the needs.


Global Paradox 3:

Increase in Communication, but decrease in  the ability

  • The greatest challenge to running a global IT organization is finding a way to communicate and “be a presence” when face to face interaction is so hard to achieve.
  • Use a medium or channel which everyone can access. Whether it may be through email, chat, phone calls, memos, or Instant messaging, use a communication channel that everyone is familiar with.
  • When communicating Don’t just talk about business in your materials, you’ve got to make sure that there is some personal stuff.
  • Being personal helps the team open up more and share their ideas, making a much creative space within the organization.



Global Paradox 4:

Be In-Person with Your Global Team, but You Don’t Have the Time

  • Team members become more productive if they can see and feel that they can reach out to their leaders, especially their CIOs.
  • When talking and communicating with employees, don’t preach or present to them. Just let them ask you questions. That’s what they really want to do.



Global Paradox 5:

Local Ties Can Be Stronger than Global Allegiances

  • Make sure that you continue to support the regions as you move to a global organization.
  • The ties between country and/or regional managers and their IT leaders can be very strong, based on a shared culture and years of working together. Don’t waste that bond that they have established.



Global Paradox 6:

A Global Structure Takes Time

  • Building a global organization can take years.
  • When you are moving from a regional organization to a global one, expectations management really comes into play.
  • Act quickly when the IT and business leaders are truly on board, and in the meantime, help the global leaders to understand the virtue of patience.



  • Running a truly global IT organization is one of the most intimidating leadership challenges of all time.
  • Distance, time zones, and differing cultural norms create awe-inspiring obstacles to communication and relationship building.

CIOs are breaking these paradoxes all the time, through a number of approaches:

  • Develop a global communications plan: Use video, tell stories, hire communications specialists, make it constant, and don’t ever assume that just because you said it three times, they’ve heard it in every corner of the globe.
  • Tap into global innovation. Your teams on the fringes are free to think out of the legacy box. Create a global innovation flow by challenging assumptions that “invented here” is best.
  • Be patient: Change takes time, more so in a global basis. If you push too quickly, you will wind up with resentment and entrenchment and a fractured organization that never realizes the potential of a truly global enterprise.
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