The Need to Actualize Purely Local Responses to Events by Corporates and Individuals

From Global to Glocal to Local: How the Wheel has turned Full Circle

There was a time during the initial heyday of globalization in the 1990s when corporates were told by experts and think tanks to think global and become world class in their strategies and responses. During this period, almost everyone who mattered in the global economy and the world of finance and business extolled the virtues of global responses to even local events since they believed that it was the only way towards excellence in business and life.

After that, there came a time in the early 2000s when business writers such as Thomas Friedman emphasized the importance of Glocal approaches to business problems wherein strategies had to be devised in such a manner that they would be global in thinking and local in execution.

The reasons trotted out for this approach varied from ensuring a wide market share due to tapping local sensibilities as well as to ensure that firms and corporates retained their global character and at the same time, devised local strategies.

While this trend continued for the better part of a decade and half, the wheel has come full circle with most experts agreeing on the purely local approach to be taken to solving the immediate and pressing problems that confront decision makers.

Indeed, while the experts do not outright say that one must discard everything global and go local, nonetheless, as we shall explain, they have a point in saying that situational awareness, and local approaches are needed for addressing the crises and situations.

Paradox of Global Connectivity and Local Responses

While this might seem surprising since now we constantly keep in touch with everyone, everywhere and at any time and every time, it is not hard to see why excess globalization has now reversed and what we have now are a resurgence of tribal identities and national impulses that are driving us towards regional sensibilities and local responses.

Indeed, given the awesome power of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, we now can copy how decision makers in distant and unfamiliar lands react to situations and how they adapt and adapt to local events.

In other words, while globalization continues apace, it is now a very personal and situational approach that can help corporates and individuals are successful. For instance, this article on the is read by a global audience but at the same time, some of the insights that business gurus share are for purely local responses.

Take the case of the Arab Spring that was supposed to have been catalyzed by Twitter and Facebook. While these media were responsible and handy to the organizers to mobilize crowds and assemble at specific points, the sentiments that were driving them were purely local and regional in character.

Thus, it is our suggestion that no matter which part of the world you live in, ensure that you remain globally connected but locally rooted so that your strategies would be successful.

The OODA Loop in Action and How it Can be Helpful to You

Some of the leading think tanks funded by the Pentagon suggest a term known as the OODA Loop or the Observation, Orientation, Decision, and Action loop wherein you must first observe the situation unfolding in front of you, orient yourself towards it, decide on the appropriate response, and act meaning that you put in place strategies and approaches that are appropriate.

This technique is followed by members of the Armed Forces in many countries and was especially useful for American Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, this approach does not ask you to abandon your global leadership styles in cases of crises and instead, suggests that your thinking must be an amalgamation of what all you have been taught and trained and then use your local reactions to decide on the responses and act accordingly.

For instance, if you are a professional who travels around the world on business, it makes sense to carry with you a local map of the places that you are visiting, familiarize yourself with the local language and culture, and at the same time, be connected to your colleagues back home so that for each situation that arises when you are abroad or in a distant land, you can use your expertise to plan and your experience to act.

The fact that this has served the elite commandos of the Pentagon in highly hostile and stressful situations means that it can help anyone and everyone in situations that are purely local in nature.

Real World Examples of How Purely Local Responses Help

Taking some examples, in the recent past, we have had some very stressful events such as Earthquakes and Social unrest in many parts of the world.

Indeed, violent and chaotic situations have become the norm rather than the exception and hence, your approach to survive such situations depends to a great extent on how well you can adapt to the local ground realities.

What is the use of speaking in English or French if you are caught in a mob in some distant land where nobody understands what you are talking? At the same time, this does not mean that you must give up in such situations.

Rather, business leaders must put in place approaches where the primary objective is to first tackle the situation at hand and then, plan for future contingencies by putting in place measures that would help them and their employees.

In this context, it is worth noting that many corporates now have Business Continuity Plans that rely heavily on local responses and from our experience working in some of them, we found that always the first priority is to keep one’s ear to the ground instead of retreating into unfamiliar thinking. Similarly, we would advise you to react and respond using such approaches which we feel would be highly effective.

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Decision Making