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CGMA interview: global leadership


Merike Henneman
We’re interviewing leading members of the CGMA community around the world to obtain their insights into future ways of working within organisations.

Merike Henneman is Controller at Destination DC, a destination marketing organisation promoting tourism in Washington DC. She explains how the organisation is benefitting from deploying external talent and how leadership structures may need to be adapted to accommodate an increasingly open workforce.

What leadership structure is needed to extract most value from an open workforce? 
To get the most out of an open workforce, the leadership style has to change from a central command system to a more local leadership structure where perhaps the outsourced employees would have some decision-making power. 

How can you achieve the right balance between empowerment and control?
The key is in being able to articulate the vision of the organisation very clearly to everyone, making sure that the staff are on board and that they understand the organisational goals. If that’s the case then you should end up with effective local decision making. 

Is your reliance on the open workforce growing?
We are definitely taking advantage of the local workforce in the markets we’re trying to break into. It’s easier to hire somebody external who already has the local market knowledge and experience.

What new markets are you entering?
Europe continues to be a key market for us while we are growing our presence in China, Australia, Brazil and India. We have in-market representatives in many of these countries that work with journalists, tour operators and other travel agents.

With such a global presence, how do you maintain oversight over your external partners?
We have implemented a new CRM system that we’ve populated with sales and tourism contacts and we even have accounting data flowing through it now. This makes accessing organisational data much easier for everyone.

How global business leaders are managing the open workforce

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