Nurturing our next generation leadership across a multi-local business landscape

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– A meaningful career experience empowering inclusion and innovation

Power is critical to today’s businesses – it’s what keeps them running and allows them to grow and scale with the ever-growing demands of their customers. The world needs to take a step up to drive clean, sustainable initiatives, particularly in China, which has the world’s largest investor in clean energy. As the global leader in energy management and automation, our mission is to bring energy and efficiency to enable progress and sustainability for all, by nurturing our next generation great leadership.

Schneider Electric is reshaping the energy landscape, enriching lives through the transformation of cities and industries. Today, we have more than 150,000 employees and a presence in more than 100 countries and territories. All of this makes Schneider Electric a probably the world’s most “local” multinational company, with a fabulously diverse employee base and international corporate culture to match. We value every employees’ innovative and energetic spirit, and to ensure that we practice what we preach, our mission statement is “Life is On”, everywhere, for everyone, at every moment.

As the head of Power Products Division, I am responsible for spearheading innovation. My duty is to be ensuring we practice it, enable it and deliver it for all of our customers around the world. My passion is technology and connectivity, which I believe are the best routes that businesses can take to solve many of today’s challenges and reach their goals.

Nurturing our next generation leadership across a multi-local business landscape

A place fostering diversity and creativity

How do organizations like ours ensure that colleagues – and future leaders – are equipped to thrive in this multi-lingual, multi-cultural, multi-national, multi-local environment?

At Schneider Electric we do it through targeted programs for high performer employees to facilitate their journeys towards influential roles within the company. One example is our talent Program to nurture next generation great leadership

A crucial element of this is to reinforce their global mindsets, and help them navigate our international family, so they can create more value for teams, customers, and partners.

I myself have been lucky enough to live and work in multiple locations since I joined Schneider in 2004. My roles have spanned business development for the EMEA region and senior positions in the Energy business (in Russia and France). And since 2018, I’ve headed up, and spearheaded innovation in, the Power Products division (based Hong Kong). It’s been a wonderful rainbow of roles and locations, and it’s given me valuable insights into working and managing across diverse cultures.

New leaders sometimes face different challenges such as difficulties in communicating or expressing opinions at global meetings, obstacles in understanding how to establish cross border and culturally diversified relationship within the organization. Thus, the strategic planning and meeting skills have become critical to communicate with our partners around the world. To tackle these potential issues, we have created training to strengthen sustainable development in nurturing our future talents.

Tips for our next generation leaders

At Schneider Electric, we expect our next generation great leadership to be proactive, agile, collaborative, insightful and have strategic decision-making skills. Therefore, I would spread my advice to all executive levels with the tips below:

  • Be open and connected – embrace different. Build and maintain relationships with colleagues around the globe. Let them help you understand the regional perspectives and local cultural nuances that are crucial to working with one another and helping customers, suppliers and business partners – whether on day-to-day mundane things or big-bang projects.
  • Be proactive and prepared. Get involved in cross-border projects, and don’t be afraid to speak up in global calls. But prepare for them, too: Formulate, organize, rehearse views and opinions, and express them strategically and with the right level of assertiveness when the opportunity arises. Language issues or cultural unfamiliarity can be daunting – but if you prepare, you can overcome them.
  • Live and breathe digital – dare to disrupt. The digital landscape has revolutionized how we live and work. Whether it’s digitizing data or developing software and other digital tools – digital technology and connectivity is critical to our business – and for combatting climate change, too.
  • Think ahead shape the future. If you want to lead and stay ahead of the competition, you must be able to see into the future. In our business, that means looking at a project’s, product’s, or customer’s entire business lifecycle, to understand not just where the value is now, but also how it can be created years into the future. A simple example: in the entire lifecycle of a building, the financial outlay for the actual construction might only account for a quarter of the overall cost. The rest is maintenance and operations over the decades that follow – so savings and efficiencies here can make a huge difference.

We will win through nurturing next generation great leadership

In today’s world, leaders need to be proactive, agile, collaborative, insightful, and have strategic decision-making skills. They also need to be authentic, and able to foster an environment where employees feel inspired to collaborate and contribute to making a sustainable business impact. That’s especially key in a multi-everything world like ours. For some of you, operating in a multi-local company might require adapting mindsets, focus and behaviors. Talent programs of nurturing our next generation great leadership can help bring out the huge potential we already have in our teams. But each of you needs to play a part too.

I invite you to continue the conversation with me on LinkedIn.

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