Aligning leadership around global enterprise strategy questions

Why it may be time to take another look

Oct 04, 2021
Global strategy Strategy and planning
Supply chain

When you’re developing a global enterprise strategy, having your organization’s leadership aligned on organizational goals is a key driver of action. Especially for organizations that operate on a global scale, misalignment can lead to costly mistakes, such as pursuing the wrong strategy or executing the right one poorly.

A multidisciplinary approach that brings all the members of the C-suite together can help create a fuller picture of the challenges and opportunities that face your company—this ensures that your global enterprise strategy isn’t viewed through just one lens. To have stakeholders aligned on the best opportunities, they must collaborate as a team and challenge their assumptions through rigorous inquiry. They can then combine their perspectives into an agreed-upon problem statement or statements that, if solved, would drive your organization’s desired results.

In the process of developing a global enterprise strategy, however, many organizations ask the wrong questions, especially if they lack international experience, are entering new markets or are introducing new products or services. Asking the wrong questions can lead companies to greatly oversimplify the challenges of global expansion and also underestimate the time, effort and investment required to achieve their goals.

Formulating the right questions—and having a leadership team agree with those questions—accelerates the action needed to answer them. Effective problem statements in the form of a question provide a standard that can be validated over and over to determine whether an organization’s strategic planning is on target.

Asking the wrong questions can lead companies to greatly oversimplify the challenges of global expansion and also underestimate the time, effort and investment required to achieve their goals.

Consider the following examples of four companies that, when they stepped back to question the problems they were seeking to solve, discovered they hadn’t been asking the right questions in the first place. By thoughtfully engaging in additional dialogue, RSM was able to help these organizations determine the right questions and ultimately shift their global enterprise strategies to achieve success more quickly, cost-effectively and profitably.

Ecommerce: Uncovering opportunities

An ecommerce business sought a way to expand its business into Europe and wanted to establish a light manufacturing and distribution center. After analyzing and questioning the cost models, European sales figures and customer feedback the company shared, RSM determined that the business didn’t need to establish a local presence right away. Instead, RSM found ways the organization could increase its market share and meet customer goals by implementing a customer loyalty program and restructuring customer shipping costs.

Consumer products: Taking a larger view

A consumer products company approached RSM about setting up a new IT system in China to support a planned expansion. After asking additional questions about the expansion plans, RSM consultants determined that what the company really needed was to determine the right business model for operating in China. In the end, the best fitting model for successful expansion didn’t require an IT investment at all.

Consumer products: Validating assumptions

A consumer products company was seeking new ways to drive profitability quickly and needed to determine which channels and products to prioritize. After interviewing the company’s management, RSM uncovered and validated a new way to address a channel the company hadn’t been considering. The new approach leveraged untapped partnerships that, if pursued, could make up the majority of the company’s sales in as little as three years.

Franchise: Quick-serving success

A global fast-food franchisor asked RSM to provide common IT system localization data about countries where the franchisor was rolling out a new point-of-sale system. After conducting multiple interviews with management to better understand the company’s goals and challenges, RSM was engaged. Upon questioning management’s assumptions and learning more about the company’s systems, RSM uncovered previously unknown issues in data security, tax and VAT that would be critical to address before a successful rollout could take place. RSM’s additional advice enabled the client to implement a system that was fit for purpose and shortened the time to value by minimizing rework.

Building a successful global enterprise strategy

In today’s increasingly connected world, international expansion may seem to be a natural next step for many mid-market companies. But preparing for global growth isn’t a step to take lightly. It requires considering a dizzying array of factors, from supply chain management and resource issues to taxes and IT needs. It also involves making critical decisions, such as where to locate a factory or whether to make an acquisition.

With so much to consider, developing a sound global enterprise strategy is the first step to successful expansion. Bringing the entire executive team together to rigorously examine global challenges and opportunities, define the key questions to ask and solve for the desired results can help put your organization on the path to achieving its global goals—a path that may look much different than the one you initially envisioned.

Few organizations have all the resources they need for global success within their walls. Enlisting an experienced partner to help guide your international journey can provide the outside perspective your organization requires to develop a robust strategy for success. RSM has a record of success helping mid-market companies enter global markets and a network of experienced professionals worldwide ready to assist you.