Lessons learned on leading teamseffectively accross borders Global Summit of Women May 2011 Ana García Fau - CEO Yell Publicidad
Yell Publicidad • Part of Yell Group • Leading directory company: print, online, mobile, telephone • Presence in Spain, Italy, Chile, Argentina and Peru • Revenues: 517 MM€ • EBITDA: 158 MM€ • Margin: 30.5% • Customers: 438 M • Professionals: 2,300 Latinamerica: • 30% of revenues • 1,325 professionals FY 2010 figures
Step 1: Consider the business and strategic challenges first • Business transformation: from print towards digital • Faster growth in emerging markets • Avoid the country-wide strategy mistake! • Room to operate as a group?
Get the right people to do the job • Recruiting is key! • Difficult to identify local talent • Proper job descriptions • Will they fit with the culture? • Analyse the “skill gap”
Build a team you can trust… and give it visibility • Bring on board people you can trust that share the vision • Expatriates vs reverse expatriates • Change members of the team, if necessary • Balance local vs non-local at Board and Executive Committee levels • Equal opportunities: promote cross-border talent
A shared vision • Engage local top management in the process • Continuous contact and communication • Group objectives vs country objectives • Ensure building from what is “common”: focus on “what we agree” • Create a sense of identity withthe “mother company” • Make top local management visible
Acknowledge their “uniqueness” • Take time to understand and address local challenges • Encourage them to “speak up” • Leave room for local specificities • Address diversity and cultural differences: • Promote cultural awareness and tolerance (code of ethics) • Practice empathy: respect different working schedules, bank holidays…
Building an effective cross-border team • Local enough? Global enough? • Preference for management styles and ways of working accepted everywhere • Sharing best practices (both ways) • Leverage on local team strengths (centers of excellence) • Coordination of core activities, functional reportings: finance, operations, legal, purchasing… • Common IT platforms and processes if appropriate • Define right degrees of autonomy
Day to day… • Common standard operating procedures and reportings • Monthly business reviews • Avoid information overload • Focus on what´s important
Have a structured contact plan: address the distance issue • New technologies make it easier and cheaper! • Balance F2F meetings, conference calls, video conferencing • Local visits; ensure visits to headquarters as well • Conference calls are proper meetings • Document sharing facilities, e-mails • Choose the correct channel • Organise team building and strategic events • Encourage functional meetings rotating the “host”
Some issues to think about • Is this not working due to distance issues? • Would it work if they work in the same office as me? • Am I practicing good management and leadership style? • Knowing how difficult it is to manage teams effectively across borders… do I make my “remote” boss´ life easier?