Ask a teenager how long they’ve been dating and, chances are, the answer is just as likely to be denominated in days as it is to be in months (assuming they’re dating, that is). I should know. As the father of two teens I am mildly amused when I hear things like “I can’t be grounded tonight, it’s our 100 day anniversary”. Having been married nearly twenty years, it’s easy to forget the exponential rate at which the number of shared experiences can accumulate and the importance these milestones can take during the early stages of dating.
This situation is not all that different from the integration of two companies (you knew I was going there). A hundred days ago, Level 3 and Global Crossing were two separate business ventures with distinct strengths, positioning and cultures. Needless to say, during these intervening days, a lot has changed –mostly for the better. This is true for products which now have broader reach and greater depth. It is true for organizational design and role mandates with most teams now including a mix of folks from both companies. It is also true for our corporate culture, as employees get accustomed to nuances in processes, focus and style.
Personally, I am far from immune to these changes. A hundred days ago, I was focused on planning for the integration of two companies and looking at voice strategy from a North America enterprise customer lens. Today, my integration focus is on execution and my role has been re-defined to include the global strategic dimension for all voice products. I am really enjoying having the ability to speak Spanish with the team in Buenos Aires and am mindful to schedule all cross-regional meetings with the folks in London early in the (Mountain Standard Time) day.
It’s not like Level 3 voice services didn’t have an international dimension before. We offered international voice termination and international toll-free services as part of the portfolio. But there is a marked difference between “international” and “global”. Our international voice business looked at the rest of the world as “there” with North America solidly situated as the “here” (in fairness, it should be noted transport and data services had been further down the globalization continuum). Part of being a truly global business is moving away from being anchored by an absolute “here”—which has a large impact on how we think about customers and geographic coverage. This transformation in the way I look at things is by no means complete, but I’ve come a long way (and I find the same to be true for my peers).
I must admit I’m enjoying seeing the world through fresh eyes –without the emotional angst that comes with the hormonal fluctuations of adolescence. As for my two teens, while I don’t believe they’re attending any “how to annoy dad today” workshops, I can’t be absolutely certain.