June 6, 2011

The dilemma of big countries

I recently had a nice chat with a person who had worked for a company in the field of construction. He was a national of a medium-sized European country, quite close to Germany. The main issue in his former company was that the German headquarters did not understand the customer behavior in his country. The headquarters wanted to do the business the "German way" and at the end of the day, the person got so frustrated that he decided even to leave the company.

And this is not to blame the Germans; I believe this happens to any single country & company where the home market is big enough. And once the home market is significant, we focus on it, we believe it is the most important and we try to copy-paste the way to do business to other countries. This is such an easy way to do a mistake. And funnily enough, the person I met was talking about the "German way" - it was not the "Company X way". In simple discussions nationalistic terminogy is popping up so easily - American way, French way, Japanese way, British way - all can be see also negative. Why is it so easy for us to act this way?

I believe that we at Peikko are pretty lucky to be headquarted in the microscopic country of Finland. Nobody expects in our organization that Peikko should act in other countries similar to how we do business in Finland. On the other hand, we need to understand that concrete and steel is the same in other countries and key methods and knowledge has to be transferred to other countries. How to be determined but not arrogant, goal-oriented but listening? Difficult tasks - but the right combination of global and local are the key for success.

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