John Knights

With modern internet communications and computer fire power, many more businesses have the opportunity to "Go Global" in a way that was impossible a few years ago. 


As an example, to get things going, I'll start with LeaderShape, the company I co-founded in 2003 and Chair. 

I have to admit that our "globalisation" journey started by chance when we were invited to India by Tata in 2011 but it has now developed into a specific though emergent strategy. What LeaderShape has done may just give you some insights into how you can further develop your international business.

Although I have been doing international business for 45 years, from when I first moved to Sweden to work for Alfa Laval (now Tetra Laval), we…

Read more: Businesses: Going Global: What's your story?

Clare Snowdon

Learning about different cultures before you trade internationally is invaluable.

No matter how culturally aware you may think you are, it's inevitable that how you see others will be influenced by your own cultural perspective — in just the same way that how others see you will be influenced by theirs. In a business environment, making sure there is complete clarity in communications can be critical.

Just think for a moment about some of the very basic areas where you will have a clear concept of how to behave within your own culture:

  • Meeting & greeting
  • Dress code
  • Time keeping
  • Management style

While all of these will be second nature to you when dealing with someone who shares your cultural origins, attitudes to each area will vary widely across cultures. Get it wrong and you run the risk of causing…

Read more: Trading Internationally with Intercultural Awareness

John Knights, OIBC Chair

23rd June 2015

I was interested to read an article by Business Matters that explains why companies should be looking for executives with international experience even when the job requirement might not ask for it.

Professor Linda Brimm of INSEAD makes the case that international living and business tends to develop five key abilities which are:

  • They treat change as normal.
  • They rely on creative thinking (as outsiders to fixed cultural rules).
  • They are flexible and reinvent themselves and experiment with new identities (depending on the circumstances).
  • They are expert at the subtle and emotional aspects of transition.
  • They easily learn and use new ways of thinking.

Of course I would agree with all this as I have spent the last 45 years travelling and living outside the UK!!

I would suggest that business people who operate successfully in an international…

Read more: Surprising Extra Value of Executives with International Experience

Tim Luscombe, business advisor and finance expert

11th May 2015

Tim Luscombe, OIBC Deputy Chair, business advisor and finance expert, brings us the background to his international business career and the key lessons he's learned along the way.

I’ve been very lucky in my career in that I have lived and worked in the US and the Far East as well as the UK and Europe. Many years ago, my father started a manufacturing business and when I joined the business I accepted as normal the supply chain extending to Hong Kong and China. This was in the early 1980’s, so quite pioneering for a family owned business.

Every business I have worked in has had overseas connections, but many smaller businesses struggle to get started, either selling overseas or buying from another country. There’s plenty of support and assistance available and it doesn’t have to be…

Read more: Lessons learned from a career in international trading


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