Question: How can business leaders foster a sense of trust among staff who may be in different buildings or indeed different countries?
Ram Charan: If you’re in a leadership position, remind yourself every day: you’re a leader of people first, not a leader of numbers. In a global game, you’re going to have by definition, people working with you and for you that are in different cultures, different languages as mother tongues, that do work in different government environments, and their image of social systems are different. You need to be successful to know these about your people. You need to have patience to learn about them. You need to earn their respect; you need to earn their trust.
In the virtual global game, do not confuse communications with emails. Communication is a human touch, emails is not a human touch. So you need to figure out a way to have the human touch with the people you are working with.
In a company like 3M, some 55% of their revenues come from the non-North American geography. And there are fantastic leaders there who are technology companies, CEOs locally, but they have the human touch. They have Chinese working with them, Indians working with them, the Europeans working with them, the Brazilians working with them. But the first rule is the people side.
Recorded January 4, 2011
Interviewed by Max Miller
Directed by Jonathan Fowler
Produced by Elizabeth Rodd