Expanding overseas? How to choose the best regional leader

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Many companies are expanding into new global markets, but not all parties are ready: according to Kern/Ferry International, only 1% of executives in China and 8% in India are equipped to lead corporate growth efforts.
Many organisations hope to relinquish control and decision-making to regional headquarters (RHQ), but because of the scarcity of skilled leaders, choosing the right one is paramount.
Three pertinent areas to consider include:
  • Resources – for RHQs whose primary goal is overseeing resource allocation, companies should seek leaders with directive and pace-setting managerial skills. Since resource decisions made by corporate headquarters usually stand firm, these leaders will need to be obedient and understand their role in following instructions.
  • Synergy – many RHQs need to align processes and implementations across departments in the region, thus requiring leaders who are visionary, participative, and affiliation-oriented. These leaders are able to view business as a whole and understand how each moving part contributes to overall vision.
  • Learning – RHQs who specialise in knowledge, such as R&D units or corporate think tanks, should try to acquire leaders with skills in coaching and participation. The “softer” features of this leader are considered ideal for encouraging innovation and collaboration.
Since this decision impacts financial output, employee morale, and performance, it is crucial that organisations consider their business needs and appoint a regional leader accordingly.

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