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How To Become Global

How To Become Global

Regional firms must work out exactly who they are before hitting the world stage, says CEO of Booz & Co.

There are two types of businessmen in this world: the loud and the quiet. Though the loud types lend themselves to authority with a hearty below, demanding notice, often it is the quieter characters that really command fear and attention. Cesare Mainardi certainly falls into the latter category.

There is something unerring about a man who can speak so softly and yet never needs to repeat himself. And when that man is the global CEO of Booz & Company, one of the world’s leading management consulting firms, you know volume is an insignificant trait.

On a visit to the Gulf, Mainardi is discussing how well performing regional companies can make their first step onto the global field and what unique skills are needed when attempting to become an international name.

“The key is better value proposition. We’ve done a lot of research as a firm into what drives success and just a few capabilities woven together can add value that others cannot. There are investments happening everywhere and as more companies build scale and have access to capital intelligence, real winning globally comes from being able to do something that others can’t.

“It’s a simple concept but awfully difficult to do. There is investment throughout the Middle East as countries are building companies and the question is how do we make sure we build a few capabilities to really add value in a way that others don’t? That’s the essence of success over time; companies can build positions and build assets but the real key here is how do we build capabilities.”

Making the step onto the world stage though for a successful regional company is understandably daunting. Apart from the hugely increased quantity of competition, there are new factors to consider such as: communication barriers, different regulations and conflicting cultures. But staying true to who youare as a company and in particular your unique selling points is a good place to start, says Mainardi.

“When taking a global step, companies must make a clear choice about how they’re going to play it, how they are going to add value differently, and be clear of what services they can provide to compete in the market.”

As the interview progresses it becomes apparent that the notion of ‘winning’ is of high importance to Mainardi. But in this case, winning doesn’t necessarily mean crossing the line first.

“The key is being in a different place, not first or second. Winning is not coming first. Winning is staking out your unique territory and being different from the others in terms of the value you provide and who you are. The single biggest decision in the global strategy is who we’re going to be – absent that choice and it becomes very difficult; over a thousand flowers bloom and you’re left with fields of weeds.”

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