In January 2008, a small group of senior IBM leaders, the Integration and Values Team, increased focus on helping IBM to become a globally integrated enterprise. Today, that team’s mission continues in support of growing “global IBMers.” As a result, Global Enablement Teams (GETs) were launched.

A GET is comprised of four or five senior executives from multiple geographies working side-by-side with selected Country General Managers (CGMs). Each CGM has input on the necessary GET team capabilities to best enable business growth in that country.

At IBM, GETs have created business leaders with deeper global mindsets, enabled competence in cultural adaptability and better connected local country teams to the global company agenda. As a whole, the company has become more relevant to national agendas, often resulting in greater market relevance. New business growth opportunities are thus stemming from an enlightened set of business leaders who possess truly global mindsets, with improved visibility and sensitivity to in-country GIE realities.

What are the chief lessons for other organizations? Senior executives who lead or will lead their enterprises need a deep understanding of vertical integration to translate corporate strategy at a local level. They must be adept at navigating the nuances of succeeding in growth markets.

In turn, country leadership teams can benefit from the coaching and collaboration that comes from working with senior executives, particularly to sharpen the abilities to develop and execute strategy. The GET approach enables local country employees, senior executives and the enterprise as a whole to benefit, both in terms of talent development and business growth.

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