Establish strong local leadership: We need to trust local leaders to make the right decisions for their regions. A transnational workforce offers diversity in perspectives and thought process, and an ideal way to nurture this diversity in thinking is by appointing and empowering local leaders. They appreciate the nuances in their countries and know what works best locally.
Balance global vs. local nuances: Large, global companies want to have standard global policies but, at the same time, need to embrace local best practices. As an example, a successful career path for an engineer in an emerging market could be very different from that in a mature market. We need to appreciate these differences but create consistent career opportunities for everyone with similar skills.
Get on the ground: Managing remotely via videoconferencing can be effective but, as a leader, you need to be seen on the ground at your key locations. I have found that when I engaged with the teams on the ground, it greatly helped in bridging any cultural divide, increased my credibility as a leader and they were able to trust me as someone looking out for their careers.
Flow Talent: As a transnational operation, we have opportunities to flow top talent to key roles outside their home country. This can be done by creating permanent and temporary project roles. Our experience has shown that a young, talented workforce values such opportunities to work internationally much higher than even financial incentives.
Little things matter: Focusing on little things such as not scheduling conference calls at unreasonable hours (like late evening on a Friday) and being respectful to regional holidays is very important — it will clearly demonstrate that we as global leaders are respectful of regional, cultural and religious priorities in all regions.