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Think Globally

Navigate cultural differences and grow your business.

James Manyika

James Manyika

Director, McKinsey Global Institute

Think Globally
  • Overview
  • Episodes
  • Recommended for you

Overview

In business, a global mindset is essential to understanding trends and achieving success. Learn from psychologists, CEOs, professors, entrepreneurs, and even Chelsea Clinton, to understand how to navigate cultural differences, how to globally scale your business, the careful balance between profit maximization and social responsibility, China’s most influential unwritten business rule, and more. 


What You'll Learn

  • The importance of cultural context

  • The Chinese paradox of "wu wei"

  • How to balance profit maximization with social responsibility

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Episodes

9 Episodes

1. Conduct Business in Context: Navigate the Divide Between Independent and Interdependent Cultural Values

10min

As the eastern and western hemispheres become more deeply economically interconnected, cultural misunderstandings sometimes arise in the context of doing business. Fundamentally, these come down to a core difference between the western and the eastern concept of self and what it means to be a good person. The solution isn’t to ignore these differences or hope that the cultural “other” will come to see things the way you do. The solution is to understand the nature of these differences, recognize them as fundamental, and communicate and regulate with them in mind.Are you WEIRD?Western/Global Northern View of the Individual: independent of others, unique, separate from one’s groups, in control of one’s fate, free to express one’s own point of view, equal to othersWestern Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic: The WEIRDs make up the most influential group of people in the world, but they make up less than 15 percent of the world’s population.Eastern/Global Southern View of the...

2. Serve the World: Use a Distributed Model to Globally Scale Your Business

6min

There’s a comfort in centralized command and control. Having a corporate HQ and a clear hierarchical structure eliminates guesswork about who’s in charge and how decision-making flows. The trouble is it’s a model from—and better suited to—a different age. Wikipedia’s bold experiment—a open, collaborative encyclopedia, has demonstrated the power of a distributed model for information. And its parent company, Wikimedia foundation, has translated this approach into a distributed model of corporate governance. As Wikimedia’s Executive Director Katherine Maher emphasizes, a distributed model is just good business in a complex, globalized world.Rethink traditional headquartersConsider distributing your people across different places and experiences. Hire for geographic and cultural diversity.Distribution allows for: 24/7 operations, linguistic diversity for serving the global community, rapid detection of problems, a sense of global citizenship, employee satisfaction, connection t...

3. Uncover China's Most Influential Unwritten Rule of Business: Discover the Scientific "Wu Wei" Behind Chinese Drinking Culture

8min

If you’re a westerner trying to do business in China, you might be flummoxed, amazed, or even alarmed by the amount of drinking involved. Social drinking is widespread in the West, of course, and happy hour is sometimes a part of company culture. But for the most part, we tend to draw a bright line between business and pleasure. In China, on the other hand, social drinking is a fundamental part of any business relationship. Why? It has to do with the ancient concept of wu wei. A Taoist idea, wu wei can be translated as “effortless action”—a state of being in the world without overt conscious control. In Taoism, wu wei is how you remain in harmony—rather than at odds—with nature. In business, it’s how you network and establish trust. And scientifically speaking, there’s nothing better for short-circuiting the conscious control mechanism of your brain’s pre-frontal cortex than a couple of drinks.Wu Wei: A state of effortless action, characterized by subdued consciousnessChine...

4. Diversify Amidst Disruption: Understand the Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends

13min

The rise of emerging markets, the disruptive impact of technology, an aging world population, accelerating flows of trade, capital and people – these global forces must be understood and embraced by your leadership team. In this lesson, James Manyika unpacks each one, urging you to surround yourself with a diverse group of collaborators to act as “sensing agents” across complex global markets.I. The Age of UrbanizationThe global economy’s center of gravity is shifting to the east and south, toward East Asia.By 2025, two thirds of the global economy will be dominated by only six hundred cities.Of those cities, over four hundred will be in emerging countries.People that live in urban areas are wealthier and more productive than others.Dense urban environments tend to be hubs for innovation.II. Accelerating Technological ChangeDon’t assume that developing countries are behind the curve. Technology is globally pervasive.Adoption of technologies that once took nearly forty years can...

5. Maximize Your Organization's Work Today and in the Future: Lessons Learned from Clinton Global Initiative University

6min

Every year, the Clinton Global Initiative University brings together a cohort of student activists and change-makers from around the world. The goal is to teach them to maximize their efforts and to help them build a community to support their ongoing work. CGIU’s best practices are a “how to” for any organization striving to achieve impact at scale.The CGIU MethodFoster a community of change-makers. Create a space where peers can come together to exchange ideas and support one another in the face of obstacles.Consider your role as a conduit and connector. Provide a community-building platform where participants can discover and share information.Encourage community members to pay it forward. Create a process for passing on lessons learned to new members of the community.Expect a commitment to action from all members. Require project leaders to be specific about their goals and to articulate how progress will be measured.Prioritize innovation. Evaluate proposals for novelty.Give ...

6. Cultural Differences: Doing Business in Context

11min

As the eastern and western hemispheres become more deeply economically interconnected, cultural misunderstandings sometimes arise in the context of doing business. Fundamentally, these come down to a core difference between the western and the eastern concept of self and what it means to be a good person. The solution isn’t to ignore these differences or hope that the cultural “other” will come to see things the way you do. The solution is to understand the nature of these differences, recognize them as fundamental, and communicate and regulate with them in mind.Are you WEIRD?Western/Global Northern View of the Individual: independent of others, unique, separate from one’s groups, in control of one’s fate, free to express one’s own point of view, equal to othersWestern Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic: The WEIRDs make up the most influential group of people in the world, but they make up less than 15 percent of the world’s population.Eastern/Global Southern View of the...

7. Raise Capital: Techniques for Turning Donors (and Investors) into Doers

9min

If you’re looking to raise money for a project, put yourself in the position of a donor or investor for a moment. Everyone is asking you for money. You are under siege. So how would you like to be approached? No one likes being treated like an ATM machine. But what if someone asked you to become a creative partner in solving a problem that you both deeply cared about?According to Jeff Walker, former CEO & Co-Founder of J.P. Morgan Partners, if one approaches an investor with the notion that financial “help” is needed, the relationship has little room for growth. “You never come to someone on bended knee,” says Walker. Rather, encourage participatory, collaborative relationships with investors.In this lesson, Walker introduces a technique he has dubbed “Jeffersonian Dinners.” The basic idea is that passion-centric dialogue and problem solving prove more effective than the more formal “pitch and present” approach to fundraising.“The (Don’t) Ask”Start conversations that bri...

8. Profit Maximization vs. Social Responsibility Case Study 1: Apple, Inc. and Foxconn Technology Group

9min

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9. Professional Duty and Personal Ethics Case Study 2: Martha McCaskey

12min

The DilemmaMartha’s firm assigned her to gather trade information from an industry expert who was a former employee of her client’s competitor.Martha was guaranteed a promotion if she was able to obtain the competitor’s information.If the information was current, it would have been considered proprietary. Using it would have been illegal.If the information was not current, it would have been of no value. Martha would have misrepresented herself to the client.Martha chose to misrepresent herself both to the client and to the industry expert.Guiding PrinciplesEvidence suggests that when faced with complex ethical dilemmas, we are more likely to make poor decisions when under cognitive stresses such as time pressure.We are strongly influenced by our peers. When friends or colleagues behave unethically, we tend to assume that their behavior is justifiable.As soon as we find simple justifications for unethical behavior, we are more likely to engage in that behavior.Course of ActionSlo...

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