The Perils and Potential of Global Reporting

Foreign-owned companies face a unique set of challenges in today’s rapidly globalising business environment.

On the one hand, they often have the freedom and flexibility to operate in their own local, national or regional markets and drill down on the real opportunities, regulations and customer dynamics that are specific to that area. Because they are the company’s market experts, they are given some measure of leeway to explore growth and invest wisely.

Yet on the other hand, these companies often face significant oversight and, in some cases, rigorous micro-management that stifles productivity and innovation and routinely snuffs out any semblance of a market-based organisational culture. In these contexts, there is often extensive reporting up. There are always forms to fill out, a deep desire to follow process and perhaps some level of mistrust when business goals are unreachable or business partners perceived as too culturally distant.

The intra-company reporting requirements some global executives now face come in addition to those that may relate to quarterly earnings releases for publicly traded companies, or perhaps to regulatory filings in some industries.

Organisational culture sets the expectation for communication and collaboration across the enterprise. If you’re part of a company with exhaustive internal controls and foreign oversight, you may just have to get used to the fact that your workforce will pay some price in productivity and perhaps even morale terms.

Yet there is real reason to believe that if you can deliver on current business forecasts and show demonstrable gains in revenue, profitability and/or growth of market share, you may be setting yourself and the company up for an eventual renewal of the discussion with the company’s foreign-based owners.

Such a renewal actually makes for an exciting leadership opportunity. It represents a chance to reset expectations, identify what really matters to the ownership, and, with proven results in hand, to advocate for the kind of measured changes you want to make to realise the company’s potential.

If your organisation is hampered by too many meetings, too much intra-company reporting and too much time away from the markets and customers you serve, you may only have two ways forward.
The first is to accept it as something you cannot control and work toward reducing its impact on organisational performance.

The other is to identify and realise key performance objectives and reflect those back to the parent company, testifying how they were reached, the market and organisational hurdles that had to be cleared, and the kind of support and independence you need to build on that success.

In the short-term, make the most of every day and take special note of all the ways your company’s parent may be restricting your organisation’s growth. But in the interest of achieving its best long-term objectives, find the best levers of performance improvement and build your business case for the changes you need to make them sustainable.

Copyright © TRANSEARCH International 2015


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