Most managers are nearsighted. Even though today's competitive landscape often stretches to a global horizon, they see best what they know best: the customers geographically closest to home.
A powerful force drives the world toward a converging commonality, and that force is technology.… The result is a new commercial reality—the emergence of global markets for standardized consumer products on a previously unimagined scale of magnitude.
My ventures are not in one bottom trusted, nor to one place.
—William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
The global reality. Few businesses can escape the reality that customers, competition, and markets have a global face. To compete successfully, firms need global strategies.
Global strategies need to create competitive advantage but also need to be opportunistic and flexible in the face of incredible complexity. Consider Groupe Danone, whose primary brands are Dannon Yogurt, Evian Waters, and Lu Biscuits, all among the world leaders in their categories. Danone bought a Brazilian cookie company and water companies in Indonesia and the United States, partnered with a local Turkish water company, and had a joint venture with Nestlé (a major competitor) that included biscuits in the Czech Republic. Before Danone gave the three product businesses global responsibility, there was an Asian-Pacific division that marketed all the products in Asia. An ongoing problem is that most innovation ...