Build a diverse team to achieve global success

Although people with international business experience are high in demand, and smaller entrepreneurial companies might find it challenging to compete for them, there also is a large untapped immigrant population in Canada that might have that background and experience.

By, Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco, Financial Post

Canadian companies have a natural advantage when it comes to doing business globally, said Dani Reiss, president and chief executive of Canada Goose Inc., which in a little more than 10 years has successfully expanded into more than 40 countries.

“There are differences between cultures and how business is conducted in different countries, but because Canada is so multicultural, I don’t think Canadians experience much culture shock when they go into a foreign market,” Mr. Reiss said.

That said, many companies trying to expand into emerging markets might not be effectively capitalizing on this advantage. An Ernst & Young 2012 survey shows only 20% of executives believe their company manages talent effectively across all markets, and less than one-third agree their top management team has an international outlook on decision-making.

“The two main knowledge gaps on management teams in companies that are in emerging markets and wanting to go global is awareness of the local cultures as well as a bigger picture understanding of the global market,” said Jeff Charriere, Ernst & Young’s Canadian managing partner for accounts and markets.

However, he said, the time to start building a management team that includes the diverse skills needed — from people with knowledge of local markets to others with experience and knowledge of the intricacies and challenges of doing business internationally — is several years before any expansion takes place. In other words, the expertise and insights should be part of the strategic process leading to the expansion.

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