Communications has never been more exciting. The digital world means information is shareable instantly, globally, and sometimes painfully, for corporations, governments and individuals. Within the enterprise, in a climate of scrutiny, where transparency has become a mantra rather than a buzzword, and where stakeholders are just one click away, effective management of information has become a central preserve of communicators.
It isn't just the prevalence of digital that's making the world smaller. Companies are globalizing and exporting apace. Global trade rates have been increasing for decades. Around two thirds of GE's global revenues now come from outside the U.S., a complete reverse from when I started here in 1999. Last year, I remember issuing a story on our taking in $1 billion or more in 24 different countries.
As CCO, my job, whether we were booking billion-dollar infrastructure orders in Sub-Saharan Africa, battling a lawsuit over the sale of our $3 billion Appliances unit to a Swedish company, or looking to promote the virtues of our bid for an energy giant that's woven into the fabric of France's corporate history (just for example!), was to advise our CEO and his team on perception, on culture, on politics, on headwinds and on positioning. We all hear time and again of the challenges faced by enterprises operating overseas, tackling regulatory and socio-political hurdles or culture clashes. Our CEOs look to us for informed opinion, and as we lead our enterprises in engagement, we must always be mindful of, and attuned to, the stakeholders who determine the outcome of business material issues.
To do all of this effectively, CCOs need to know a lot. We need to know a lot about stuff we may only know about a little or that sometimes we may not know about at all. In a globalized marketplace, a CCO's knowledge needs to be global, and information is king. So how did I keep up with all this at GE? Well, I made sure I was the most informed person in the room. For me, the "golden hour" in the early morning was crucial, to consume, distribute and discuss; I was ahead of the game before others turned up to work (one of my goals was to build awareness and start a discussion before the day got away). Conferences, breakfasts and lunches can be time-consuming, but I learned a lot and I built a network that can help me in a pinch. I also tried to hire good people, everywhere in the world, who could help develop and utilize our networks locally when needed.
Globalization, emerging technologies and shifting business models are constantly disrupting the enterprise's status quo, even if they just operate in the U.S. How timely that the upcoming Page Society Annual Conference in Chicago explores the Global Forces Transforming the Role of the CCO. How can CCOs get to grips with the business implications of global cultural, regulatory and political challenges? What can we learn from those enterprises that are failing to, or have struggled to, grasp and adapt to a global business landscape? How can we manage such a diverse and growing set of international stakeholders at scale? How can we navigate the gathering storm facing our enterprises?
The early bird rate is still available for the Annual Conference. Page members can take a look at the agenda and register here.
By Jon Iwata & Sean O'Neill Today we are proud and excited to introduce a new Page Society repor…
As early as the 1990s, the IABC Excellence Study has presented empirical evidence, which shows …
"I like to think about the work that we do as the tortoise in the race for the hope of mankind." –…