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Peter Lorange - President
Yes, there is a need for a new kind of "global manager". The key characteristics for this person, compared to the more classical manager, are....
1. The (business) world is changing rapidly. Does globalization mean, too, that we need a new kind of "global" manager?

Yes, there is a need for a new kind of "global manager". The key characteristics for this person, compared to the more classical manager, are:
- a much stronger cross-cultural sensitivity
- an ability to understand consumers in different settings so as to see new business opportunities early, and to combine such opportunities into global trust.
- an ability to work with people from various country settings, in team contexts, to ensure faster, global implementation.

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2. If so, what does he look like? Is the manager of the future a sort of global nomad, working with his laptop in hotel rooms and airport lounges, living some years at one place on the earth, some years at another?

I have already, to some extent, answered this. He is however not a "global nomad". He is clearly geographically movable, typically living relatively close to a good airport location. Beyond that, he spends a lot of time with face-to-face interactions with the people he is working with, from around the world. This face-to-face trust building to provide a "glue" in a global network is critical for the effective new global manager to succeed.

3. What are the qualifications of the Manager of Tomorrow? His talents, language skills etc.?

There are three major qualifications for the manager of tomorrow: a) He/she must of course be strong competence-wise, when it comes to general management issues, strategic management issues, understanding the basics of organizational change, etc.; a strong business school education is critical here. To get this schooling in an international business school context, such as IMD, is becoming particularly important, i.e. to learn these capabilities in a "global meeting place context". b) He/she must have a strong aptitude to cross-cultural work, be open to people from various backgrounds and parts of the world, and not have strong prejudices, but respect and trust people from wherever they come. This issue is also perhaps one that can be further developed by being at a place, such as IMD, which is truly a "global meeting place" with participants from more than 65 nationalities every year. c) He/she should also have a strong background in areas outside business, such as interests in the arts, sciences, or whatever it takes to be a broader personality. This sense of broadness is absolutely necessary, it turns out, to better connect with people from various backgrounds from around the world. In my opinion, this truly helps him/her to see new business opportunities better and to implement better.

4. Will we have a very tiny elite of truly "global" top managers and a more "national" middle management? In other words: Do we tend towards a two-class manager system?

Yes - in many companies, this will be the case. Still, the aim for more and more companies working globally will be to "push down" the limit between the global management echelon higher up and the national middle management team further down. The global management capabilities need to be enhanced the most. This is a true bottleneck. For many companies, the balance becomes acutely strong the opposite way, simply because of lack of global managers.

5. As a business school, how do you see your role in shaping the world of tomorrow?

I see IMD's role as being more and more critical for shaping the world of tomorrow, in the sense that we have put a lot of emphasis on being "the global meeting place", as already mentioned several times. What this means is that we feel that management learning can only take place in a strong, internationally balanced cross-cultural context. It further means that for a business school, it is important not to have such a strong national bias at the bottom, which might prevent a truly international atmosphere to take place. For a business school located in a large country, in a large market, this may be a problem. Despite strong token declarations that they are international, they may still have a strong de facto attitude towards what "works in our big home country market should be applicable world-wide". It also means that business schools that are seemingly "going global" by setting up satellite activities around the world are not necessarily hitting the mark. They will simply draw on local /regional students around the world, thus weakening their global meeting place positioning, partly by taking participants away from their main campus that elsewise should have come there, and partly by diverting efforts towards the localism/regionalism rather than globalism. I frankly believe that IMD is uniquely positioned for shaping leading international business people for tomorrow.

6. If you wish to add something relevant to this subject, please feel free to do so.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for me has to do with supporting managers coming from strong, national country settings, to see the need to be truly global in the way discussed above. I feel that in the German management context, for instance, there has up until now been a relatively strong emphasis on a more German approach, drawing relatively heavily on German business schools, with relatively little true internationalism. Obviously, the international dimension is dealt with at a token level, but most or all German business schools do not provide a global meeting place with participants from so many nationalities attending. I am now seeing this attitude dramatically changing among our German clients. More and more, there is a real recognition that the global dimension is in high demand. We see a large increase of German-based executives coming to IMD for these reasons. More and more also, I see that our German clients put heavy emphasis on the fact that IMD is highly practitioner-oriented, i.e. insisting on a practical, global approach rather than on a lot of cross-cultural abstract theories. Finally, I see more and more that our German clients put heavy emphasis on the fact that IMD is ranked highly on a global basis, perhaps the strongest business school outside the United States, when it comes to executive development / education. I think that this underscores a drive for quality in pursuing globalism, and a very strong sensitivity to the fact that there is a real downside risk that globalism might mean waste of time and distraction, unless dealt with in a top quality business school setting, such as the one I believe we have.
Dieser Artikel ist erschienen am 23.02.2001