A leader ought to be an influential and inspirational person who sets direction for people to follow. A leader suggests achievable leadership plans containing specific and verifiable goals, and guides followers towards attaining them. Setting global expansion leadership plans for an esteemed company as Wal-Mart is not a simple task as this means bringing in massive change to the operations of the Company. Wal-Mart is already an international business that serves about 40% of retailers worldwide. Global leadership involves leading and managing international operations of international firms (Javidan & Dastmalchian, 2009). Global leadership means overcoming the gaps between one foreign nation and another, and having a global mindset that is ready to adopt the various cultures across nations.
Over the past three years, Wal-Mart has experienced an annual growth of 12%. This means that the global expansion leadership plan has to employ skills to expand the annual growth rate to be more than 12% or its equivalent. This paper will discuss on the global expansion leadership plan for the Wal-Mart Company and ways to overcome possible challenges using the leadership development plan as a tool.
The Leadership Development Plan
The central chief executive officer (CEO) creates the leadership development plan, a tool acting as a strategic guide to the global expansion plan. It gives a clear and concise track of all possible activities during the expansion exercise (Stenzel, 2011). The organizational structure has a central CEO who reports to the board of directors. Each of the global countries has a global team leader who reports to the central CEO. The global expansion leadership plan comprises of the following activities:
- Creating global leadership teams
- Executive coaching of the teams and
- Implementing the leader-led action learning
Each of the global leaders has the following responsibilities:
- Define a set of goals and accomplishments clearly
- Set timelines clearly
- Outline actions and resources needed to achieve the set goals
- Defined benefits, evaluation criteria, and the measurable outcomes
Set of goals and accomplishments
One of the main challenges that global companies face is the fear of failure (Gabriel, 2011). Companies that grow excellently are motivated by their fast growth rates to set higher goals, but the fear of failing to meet targets overcomes them. To overcome this challenge, the Wal-Mart company sets a safe target of expanding its business globally to surpass the current 12% annual growth rate in international markets. This goal is attainable since there are plenty of opportunities for the growth of War-Mart. It is noteworthy that even though Wal-Mart records a 12% annual growth rate, there is a slow growth rate in the selling of its products in Mexico, Brazil, and China.
This marks an opportunity of expansion as Wal-Mart is yet to explore India and Africa. Interestingly, the slow expansion in Mexico and Brazil is a strategy for creating a strong base to capture a greater market share. Since Wal-Mart has been doing great in the past years, this promises a brighter future upon employment of further efforts. To achieve the general set goal of surpassing the current 12% annual growth rate, various global expansion leadership plans state that duties are subdivided amongst the global teams. Each of the team will aim at achieving a given target to attain collectively over 12% annual growth rates. So far, the sales in the first, second, and third quarters have contributed to at least 5% of the anticipated 12% annual growth rate in the fiscal year 2013.
Another challenge that global leaders face is unrealistic timelines for attaining set goals. Highly performing companies would set the wrong timelines as they expect rapid growth within the shortest time possible (Carleton & Line berry, 2008). Wal-Mart leaders would combat this challenge by giving the whole process a timeline of 3-years. Instead of rushing to achieve the goal in one year, Wal-Mart would rather make strategic plans to approach and expand progressively. A timeline of three years would be the most efficient in learning the cultures of the international markets and thereby identifying and implementing the customer needs.
The first year used to study the markets and identify business opportunities while implementation would occur in the second year (Klohs, 2012). Effective evaluation procedures would take place on the third year and subsequently years. A 3-year global expansion plan would slow the revenue growth, but it is a long time solution to setting strong foundations in gaining a large market share. Global team leaders will take part in supervising all activities and foreseeing the possible outcomes.
Leadership Plan Actions and Resources Needed to Attain Global Expansion
The foremost action needed is the training of the global leaders. The central CEO may not know so much about the deeper details of every global Wal-Mart outlet. Delegation of duties across global team leaders occurs for this reason (Doole & Lowe, 2008). Thereby, a leadership development program is essential and global leaders undergo executive coaching. There is installation of the general goal of attaining over 12% annual growth rate in the mind of every global team player. The leaders then undergo a stringent training to help them study their respective localities and indentify business opportunities. Detailed discussions on the strategic ways to make use of the business opportunity take place to enlighten the global leaders. The whole session of the leadership development program works towards developing competent leaders who are motivated to attain the set goals. In this view, the global team leaders will learn how to:
- Overcome the unknown and set foot on new global regions, learn the new cultures and new business practices.
- Protect their intellectual property in the process of global expansion. The intellectual properties in this case include trademarks, patent names, and copyrights. The global team leaders will learn tricks of fraudulent and the necessary license management procedures.
- Import and export technological expertise, make global connections, learn the clearing and forwarding procedures, and the distribution channels.
- Obtain global employees and learn their employment law, the hiring and firing regulations of the new environment.
- Learn to be performance oriented, assertive, and collective, gender egalitarianism, charismatic, team oriented, human oriented and participative.
It is obvious that a global expansion exercise needs extensive time, capital, and human resources (Kagermann, Osterle, & Jordan, 2011). The Wal-Mart global expansion plan requires a variety of financial and human resources. There would be need to build structures for expansion across countries and hire global employees. Wal-Mart global expansion leadership plan would consider this factor and come up with a stringent financial plan. The financial plan would consider every aspect including construction cost, employee compensation, government tax fees, travel expenses, employee-training expenses, and the currency exchange expenses among other expenses.
Short and long run benefits, evaluation criterion and the measurable outcomes
To determine the viability and feasibility of a project, it is important to access its benefits, evaluate, and measure the outcomes (Gilmore & Williams, 2012). Wal-Mart is a profit making organization, and the first thing in the evaluation is carrying out a cost benefit analysis. Wal-Mart may not realize the benefits of expansion in the first year because of the high costs of global expansion. However, within three years of an implementation, Wal-Mart should feel the benefits of the global expansion. There should be an increased record in the number of sales. The revenues should start growing in an upward trend.
The global leaders should audit the financial books to ensure no fraud happens. Most financial institutions give loans that mature within some few years, mostly three years for a long-term loan. The ability for Wal-Mart to service its loans adequately without difficulties proves the viability of the project (Hayes, 2011). Wal-Mart is a global business that should prove to take part in corporate social responsibility. The ability of Wal-Mart to take part in corporate social responsibility projects without problems would prove the viability of the project. Lastly, Wal-Mart considers attaining over 12% annual growth or its equivalent. The measurable outcome is applicable only if Wal-Mart attains its goal of more than 12% annual growth rate in the third year of the proposed global expansion leadership plan.
Developing a global expansion leadership plan is a very challenging exercise because it involves the known and the unknown (Collings, 2009). The central CEO of Wal-Mart faces a tough times when bringing in the ideas of the global team leaders. However, upon developing a competent global expansion leadership plan, the resulting benefits would outweigh all the struggles involved. Wal-Mart would record increased revenues from the increased sales, have a large market share and a considerable competitive advantage against the other companies dealing with similar products.
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