Why Think Global, Act Local is no longer enough
By Luis Gallardo - March 15, 2011
Think Global, Act Local, commonly referred to as Global-Local or Glocal, is more than just a tagline describing the cross-border pollination of ideas and products of today’s global economy. It was originally used as a rallying cry for people to consider the health of the entire planet and take action in their communities. Today, it takes on a much broader context—from environmental, to public policy, to business—many have even embraced the Think Global, Act Local mantra as the philosophical foundation of running a successful global brand.
But why exactly are political pundits and global economists drawn to the ideals of this ubiquitous framework? Does it really provide the context for which organizations and businesses of all sizes can respond to rapid shifts within our economies of scale?
From my point of view, up to now, Think Global, Act Local has only scratched the surface of this tremendously complex issue. What we need now is a 360-degree view of how we can best prepare businesses for sustained, long-term profitable growth. What we need now is to Think Holistic, Act Personal.
Global vs. Holistic
Simply put, global is too broad and undefined. It implies that we should standardize and lead from the center, so that we can better drive efficiencies that meet the burgeoning demands of local markets. This is in stark contrast with thinking holistically, which I define as the ability to take into account complex linkages and inter-connections in order to facilitate decision-making of the highest order.
It is no longer enough to “think global,” we must:
- Gain appreciation of the world at large, and in turn, know how to best position organizations to win the supreme jackpot of sustained profit and growth
- Capture interlocking elements, interdependencies, and synergies of the commercial environment.
After all, with brand as the pathway to value and gaining the recognition organizations deserve in the marketplace, what better way to drive that distinction than by thinking holistically about business?
Local vs. Personal
Similar to thinking globally, acting locally does not touch upon the essence of human behavior—what we do or don’t do in response to change, challenge, and the status quo. Acting personal, however, mirrors human dynamics and the multi-dimensional profile of each individual. Act personal allows you to engineer communities, making messages and actions a relevant and timely response to the big picture needs of people.
At Deloitte, we see the benefits of acting personal in our social media efforts every day. Addressing the individual concerns and aspirations of our stakeholders—talking to them about what they really care about—drives the engagement to boost client and employee satisfaction, retention, profits, and multi-stakeholder advocacy. It has the capacity to not just act, but to deliver “happiness” with each experience.
Thinking holistically about the recent tragedy that occurred in Japan last week, we can't forget to consider how one tsunami has caused nearly half of the world's most developed countries to reassess their nuclear strategy. The need to act local must be replaced with the need to act personal in order to go beyond action in our communities and address the specific needs of human suffering and post traumatic stress.
Share with me your thoughts on Think Holistic, Act Personal—tweet me @lgallardo or post a comment below. Do these terms help sustain growth and eradicate major challenges such as poverty, education or sustainability related to business or the environment?
Luis Gallardo is the Managing Director of Global Brand & Marketing at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. He believes that Think Holistic, Act Personal is the key to helping businesses succeed in today’s global economy.