Parents know that a lively child should not be controlled every minute. We need to let them enjoy themselves a bit, run around in the yard, and tire themselves out. These parents also know that there are times when we have to put them in their place immediately. Well, the “lively” people of the management at multinational companies are in a similar situation now, as we are approaching the midpoint of 2021. Not everyone realises, however, that now is the time to stop.
Brainstorming, enforcement of interests
Generally speaking, multinational managers in some cultures tend to focus on real operational and strategic work, while managers socialised in other cultures focus less on work and more on building their own careers. Basically, people belonging to the latter category are considered to be good managers, because they are dynamic, always have an idea, and although a large part of the ideas is dysfunctional, they play a very important role in the life of the international company. They are appreciated. This is the case when, for example, the culture of the HQ of an international company and that of the local unit opened during expansion are very different in this respect. This is a challenge for both sides, as the structured head office accustomed to hard work will sooner or later get tired of the constant brainstorming, and the local unit will become increasingly demotivated, as its fantastic ideas will never be realised because of the head office’s stubbornness. In traditional business, however, these misunderstandings are nicely accommodated. Nobody really wants to end the process, at least not until there is a big gap between the two sides, especially if the labour market situation does not allow it, on one side or the other. So, they are left with forced coexistence, but not everyone likes their multi-employer, so it is a normal situation. As a result, the proactive side will sooner or later focus all its energy on getting into better positions with higher salaries, and the need for work will keep decreasing. There are also plenty of conflicts within such a local unit, because if there are already two of these self-interested managers, then a fight will start within the team.
When you have to stop
There comes a time when the local side has to realise that it is time to retreat. An economic environment emerges where the international office no longer has to tolerate the differences in attitude. For many managers, spotting it at the right time is quite a challenge. Of course, it is no good either if we never say a word, because then we are branded as not caring about the interests of the company. However, too much talking can be suspicious. Within multinational companies, there is no problem with being a careerist; there are several managers of this type. Nevertheless, if it is not accompanied by good quality of work, then there is a problem. When a crisis forces the market to be reorganised, it creates a new situation in this area. The international headquarters has the opportunity to finally resolve a situation often going on for years. However, the “pushy” managers who are constantly brainstorming still have the opportunity to retreat, keep quiet, get on with their work, and devote all of their energies to the job, as they should always have done. In the majority of the cases, the change still does not happen. The “mindset” fails to change, and the given manager drowns in their own selfishness. Usually, they leave the company in a fiery way, almost certain that it will not be able to replace them and that the whole organisation will be talking about them. Then, after the dismissal, everything continues as before, the multinational company operates in the same way. For a few weeks, their name is mentioned a lot. For a couple of months, their closest colleagues will keep talking about the void they left behind, and then after a while, they are not even a footnote in the company’s history.