Ministhy Dileep | October 22,2013 02:49 pm IST

The concern is all about creating "Global Leaders" today. The ones who can manage the affairs of the company concerned, in Algeria, with the same finesse as that of handling it in the inner lands of China.

Fluent in saying "Hoi there", in French and Mandarin. With the proper accent. The bubbly fizz in the bottle is supposed to be the same. Delivering the kick and the energy wherever it is sold. New wine in old bottle, you say. What does it matter so long as it is tasty Chardonnay?

The articles concerned on the subject , laugh at the old notions of the "much-traveled-manager". With his worn out suitcase and a dog-eared passport. 4 CEOs including stalwarts like Fred Hassan of Schering Plough and Jeffrey Immelt of GE have come out in the open about what they expect from the manager of tomorrow. Good tips to all aspiring to lead the global companies of tomorrow.

The demands include ( I am summarizing):

Real passion and curiosity about the world
Global attitude ( Which translates as-Being yourself while showing interest and openness)
Skilled in Behavior Based Management (Will leave you to explore that one!)
Great instinctive feel for his markets, his business and his people
Someone who can answer "Who is in your wallet?" (" Some people's wallets have no pictures….Others can pull out a whole family album…its very important )
Unique in inspiring people
Free of biases and stereotyping attitude

(Reminds one of the HSBC ad : " Never underestimate the importance of local knowledge. So be prepared - Less jitters before that MNC placement interview and more time to be "globopolitan".) Incidentally, Chris Bartlett and Sumantra Ghoshal in an article written 11 years ago , addressed the same question, "What is a global manager?"And concluded that there is no such universal species as a global manager. Instead, they put forth certain roles played by players on the field of global business:

1. Strategist, Architect and Coordinator
2. Sensor, Builder and Contributor
3. Scanner, Cross Pollinator of Ideas
4. Leader, talent scout and developer

Wow! If these young men and women will occupy all these roles and more, all the while retaining their human touch and earthiness in mastering the traditions of the countries they serve…..there is hope for the world.

Because, if this is the sort of leadership fizz they are looking for, the bottles are going be popular! In retail shops worldwide. From Uganda to Nicosia-no questions asked before consumption.Give me more! Give us equal treatment.Give us the best you have. Without harming our stomachs. (Or the environment and the water.)

(After all viticulture is supposedly flourishing in countries as varied as Chile, India and China .If they can make wine like Chateau in India and Japan to beat Germany's Mosel and Italian Barolo, no two thoughts about the potential of our young leaders to emerge as global leaders.)

May the bubbly young recruits to the global corporations learn the lessons well. As Umberto Eco wrote succinctly in his classic , "Because learning does not consist only of knowing what we must or we can do, but also of knowing what we could do and what we should not do."

A good one to drink to. Let the bottles fizz.

* August 2003 Issue of Harvard Business Review-Two articles: "In search of global leaders"; "Leadership in a changed world".
* Op.Cite, Jeffrey Immelt.
* " The Best of HBR", 1992. Reprinted in August Issue of 2003.
* Science and Technology, Newsweek, Oct 6, 2003,pg 45: About the global competition faced by traditional wine making nations.
* Umberto Eco, " The Name of the Rose", Classic debut, hailed as a feast of intelligence and intellectual sparkle". 


Ministhy S. is PG (PM&IR) from XLRI-Jamshedpur, and currently, an IAS officer working in the UP cadre. She has written five books - 'Unequal Equations', 'Learning with Tippy Tortoise: Tales for Kids', 'Happy Birthday: Poems for Kids' and a novel published by Dronequill Publishers, Bangalore....