Member Harmeet Bhatia Speaks: Don’t Just Report. Involve.

The Challenge:

The case at hand was brought by the U.S. market director of a multinational company. He had received an ambitious mandate to double U.S. revenue over three years and was seeking advice.

If you were in this situation, what would you do?

If I were in your shoes, I’d strategize ways to build your CEO’s understanding of the local market, develop a strategic plan and then involve him closely in oversight of the plan’s execution.

It’s abundantly clear from our discussions that you know the U.S. market cold. But the real question is: does your CEO understand the U.S. market and how his revenue expectations map onto local business realities? If I were you, I’d get your CEO on the first available flight to the U.S. Bring him with you to high-level client meetings and allow him to understand first-hand the realities on the ground level. Create an environment where he can ask questions directly of prospective clients. In this way, he’ll glean an unfiltered view of the opportunities and challenges in your market.

I’ve been in a remarkably similar situation before with an overseas boss. After he came and learned about the local market, I then realized the importance of getting his fingerprints on the execution plan itself. As such, I’d recommend drawing up an execution plan with his explicit input and approval. Then, as you execute on the strategy, you can schedule check-ins with him with enough frequency for meaningful oversight and course corrections. I would recommend at least twice a month. Initially, he may resist this level of involvement. But remind him that, at most, you’re asking for two hours a month to weigh in on an effort that could potentially generate 40% of his revenue. Let’s hope that perspective sways his opinion on the matter.