In the past, the expression “Global Traveller” may have conjured up an image of a person leading a somewhat nomadic existence, crossing borders at will, and never really establishing roots, but not this global traveller: Meet David Yesford, Senior Vice President, Global Marketing and Support for Wilson Learning Worldwide.
David has a solid 27 years of experience developing and implementing human performance solutions around the world, he brings valuable experience, strategic direction and global perspective. Over the years, David has had strategic roles in Wilson Learning core content areas of Sales and Leadership, as well as eLearning and Strategic Consulting. With Wilson Learning, David has held Sr Leadership roles in the US, Europe, China, India and Asia Pacific. He is a current and active member of the Wilson Learning Global Executive Board, with current responsibility at a global level.
So, when I wanted to find someone to discuss the hot topic of “global expansion” I couldn’t think of anyone better qualified.
From very humble beginnings in 1965 – a one-room office over Larry Wilson’s garage in Minneapolis – the empire that is now Wilson Learning Worldwide has presence in 50 countries, serving clients in 30 languages.
However, as David is quick to point out, having representation in 50 countries does not make Wilson Learning global. What does make them global is their understanding and willingness to be part of the cultures in which they work. Their people live in the countries in which they work – they speak the language, they live the customs, they are part of the culture, and they know what it takes to run a successful business in their part of the world. This means that Wilson Learning’s local resources offer cultural empathy and provide their clients around the world with local versatility that makes doing business with them far easier and much more cost-effective.
Global reach, global versatility, and global empathy: That’s what makes Wilson Learning global and that’s what makes them unique.
On March 6th, David and the Wilson Learning team are coming to London to present a seminar called “Go Global? Go Prepared” – you will find full details on Page ? And I do urge you to register early – and so I asked David to describe the “model” that he has created and successfully implemented on numerous occasions.
To begin with, David was very keen to stress that this is not a single global project implemented globally…but rather several local projects aligned towards a specific Global objective. He highlights four elements, and of course, culture plays a very crucial role.
Here is David’s description of his model:
Alignment – setting a clear direction. A guiding coalition needs to have visibility, awareness, responsibility and accountability to enable the organization to implement. In defining the direction, important to be aware that contestant does not mean that everything has to be the same.
Inclusion – where alignment is about direction, inclusion is about greater level of involvement. It is necessary that the messages delivered throughout the organization demonstrate that the project, locally, is of importance at the local level. This is about ensuring that people throughout the organization choose to use their energy towards enabling success.
Sustainability – really focuses on adjustment. Being able to critically and realistically evaluate where you currently are, and then adjust to the direction is the main activity. It is important that you have systems and processes that allow you to understand this gap and then take action to always adjust. If the mind-set is that you are mostly off course, you can embrace the act of adjusting to the intended direction.
Integration is not about integrating into the other 3 elements. Yes, this is important, but integration is taking a focus towards performance. The learning is not really of value if there is not a change in performance. The emphasis is on transferring the learning into performance, what we call “Learning Transfer.”
As a “seasoned traveller” myself, and having consulted on every continent, I was able to easily identify with all of this – it really is an extremely insightful perspective, and so original.
I thanked David for managing to fit me into his exhausting schedule: It is impossible not to be impressed with his vitality and his enthusiasm for what I can only describe as his “mission” When he shared his itinery for the next few weeks with me, I immediately thought of the Bard.
Shakespeare had something to say about weary travellers – as about most things actually:
“Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head
To work my mind, when body’s work’s expired:”
And it is very easy to imagine David reaching the day’s end, with nothing on his mind except the next day’s “global challenges!
David is the contributing author of several books including Win-Win Selling, Versatile Selling, The Social Styles Handbook, and The Sales Training Book 2. He is published in numerous business publications in the United States, Europe, Latin America, China and Asia Pacific.
As part of his consulting work, he has conducted more than 400 Strategic Planning/ Alignment sessions for Global 2000 companies. A frequent international speaker, David has been invited to both industry (ASTD International Conference, Chief Learning Officer, Training Magazine, Marcus Evans, etc.), Client and Wilson Learning sponsored events on Sales and Leadership.