The Perils of Functional Management and Global Reporting

The ways of the modern business world are changing and evolving almost as fast as global organisations are trying to find and maximize new business opportunities. For many companies, growing beyond their initial national borders is an undertaking that has been years in the making, while others – nearly from the start – have grown cross-border roots just as soon as their ideas took flight. Yet in either case, savvy global executives must consider the complexities and the complications that can come from growing too fast or from simply stretching the boundaries of products and services to new markets overseas.

One of the big lessons is that as companies become bigger, headquarters often endorse and implement the kind of functional reporting that makes executive relationships a patchwork or matrix, placing just as much emphasis on collaboration within a specialised function on a global scale as well as on a local scale. So, too, does global growth often lead to a series of executive reporting requirements, pushing country managers, general managers and others to report their business results and investment needs into a central, principal holding entity with its own key performance indices to track and report up the global chain of command.

Effective communication and timely decision making by corporate leadership no doubt requires this kind of global information flow and a structure of checks and balances and early warning indicators so resources can be rushed where and when they are needed to those who may need them most. The continuing development of customer relationship management tools helps provide real-time analysis of key business metrics, and this alone has put a focus on data management, accessibility and security, and rightfully so.

The question – and the challenge for today’s global business leaders – however, is determining just how much is too much when it comes to writing reports, checking boxes and committing to meetings whose primary purpose is to report out the results of things that likely happened one to three months ago. It would be far better for you to ask yourself these questions – and to engage with your management peers about what is really required – than to have your teams and people get mired in bureaucratic red tape and reports and take their pleas for some relief to your office door.

As today’s business world grows more complex, business leaders are placing a higher value on simplicity. Whether it is a matter of product or process design, the most senior corporate executives fear that their workforces are being burdened by global reporting requirements that too often take their eyes off of their customers, their competition and their peers. If you want to compete and win, you cannot let that happen – or if it continues in your current enterprise, now is the time to act.

If you are leading within a global organisation with complex business reporting matrices and reports, ask what might be done to simplify, to streamline and to enable more focus on the business. Time is incredibly valuable, yet within the construct of many global companies, its potential is sapped by overly complicated processes and analysis paralysis.
If you simplify things for your team, you will earn respect and redirect lots of organisational energy where it needs to go – squarely on serving markets, customers and company shareholders.

Copyright © TRANSEARCH International 2016


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