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The scarcity of qualified managers has become a major constraint on the speed with which multinational companies can expand their international sales. management in a multinational company comes down to getting the right people in the right jobs in the right places at the right times and at the right cost. managers also frequently lack a true commitment to the value of the multinational company experience," notes Brian Brooks, group director of human resources for the global advertising company WPP Group Plc.

The growth of the knowledge-based society, along with the pressures of opening up emerging markets, has led cutting-edge global companies to recognize now more than ever that human resources and intellectual capital are as significant as financial assets in building sustainable competitive advantage. must now be given a prominent seat in the boardroom. These international managers must then be meshed into a cohesive network in which they quickly identify and leverage good ideas worldwide. development policies have tended to concentrate on nationals of the headquarters country. directors do not have adequate information about the brightest candidates coming through the ranks of the overseas subsidiaries. The consequent lack of world-wise multicultural managerial talent is now biting into companies' bottom lines through high staff turnover, high training costs, stagnant market shares, failed joint ventures and mergers and the high opportunity costs that inevitably follow bad management selections around the globe.

Compare the skills detailed in the personal assessments with those required by your business strategy.

This information should form the basis for your management development and training programs and show whether you have time to prepare internal candidates for new job descriptions.

Unilever uses a nine-point competency framework for its senior managers.

Since 1989, Unilever has redefined 75 percent of its managerial posts as "international" and doubled its number of managers assigned abroad, its expatriates, or "expats." I. M., with 80 years' experience in overseas markets, reversed its H. policy in 1995 to deal with the new global gestalt and a new business strategy. Implementing these ideas can be broken down into 10 steps. Every country-connection a person has is a potential advantage for the individual and the company. A good starting point is with posts carrying the same title around the globe, but local circumstances need to be taken into account. Unilever has practiced a broader sweep for the past 40 years. Those who show the potential to move up significantly are quickly earmarked for the "Development" list, where their progress through the pools -- company, national, business group and/or region, global, executive committee -- is guided not only by their direct bosses but by managers up to three levels above. directors correctly consider such soft skills and cultural adaptability to be as important as functional skills. departments look at mobility in black-or-white terms: "movable" or "not movable." But in today's global markets this concept should be viewed as a graduated scale and constantly reassessed because of changing circumstances in managers' lives and company opportunities.

By taking these steps, a company should be able to put into place an effective global human resources program within three to four years. Break all the "local national" glass ceilings The first, and perhaps most fundamental, step toward building a global H. program is to end all favoritism toward managers who are nationals of the country in which the company is based. So it is in a multinational company's interests to expand the definition of the term "local national" rather than restrict it. Trace your lifeline Based on your company's business strategy, identify the activities that are essential to achieving success around the world and specify the positions that hold responsibility for performing them. notes, "It is important to understand what people need to develop as executives. Over time, they should extend the skills descriptions to cover all of the company's executive posts. Chief financial officers in Latin American and eastern European subsidiaries, for example, should know how to deal with volatile exchange rates and high infiation. It has five talent "pools" stretching from individual companies (e.g., Good Humor Breyers Ice Cream in the United States and Walls Ice Cream in Britain) to foreign subsidiaries (e.g., Unilever United States Inc. "We want bigger yardsticks to be applied to these people and we don't want their direct bosses to hang on to them," explains Herwig Kressler, Unilever's head of remuneration and industrial relations. database, you should begin with the Step 2 role descriptions and a series of personal-profile templates that ask questions that go beyond each manager's curriculum vitae to determine cultural ties, language skills, countries visited, hobbies and interests. The fact that overseas appointments are often made based largely on functional skills is one reason so many of them fail. Construct a mobility pyramid Evaluate your managers in terms of their willingness to move to new locations as well as their ability and experience. This will encourage many more managers to opt for overseas assignments and open the thinking of line and H. managers to different ways to use available in-house talent.

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