When is an association truly global in nature? Terrance Barkan, CAE, founder of association consulting firm GlobalStrat, says global organizations should meet the following criteria:
1. The organization has a meaningful presence in each major region of the world, e.g., on each continent (except Antarctica) and the major sub-regions such as the Middle East.
2. The organization appears "borderless" to members, and the location of its headquarters should not be immediately obvious.
3. The organization has strong local or regional relevance to members.
4. The organization maintains universal core values and an agreed-upon body of knowledge or core intellectual property that is intelligently and appropriately modified as necessary and relevant for regional or national requirements. For example, if the organization offers a certification or credential, it should be recognized globally but still comply with local law and practice (language, currency, time formats, etc.).
5. The organization does not derive more than 50 percent of its gross revenues from any one single country or market.
6. The governance structure reflects a broad geographic spread in the leadership teams.
7. The leadership thinks constantly about how decisions will affect the entire membership, regardless of where they are located.
8. Staff and leaders travel to the association's different chapters and regions to show members of the global community that they are respected and valued.
9. Communication systems and practices help support global collaboration. Among related considerations:
> Phone numbers: Use country codes, delete unnecessary local codes when applicable.
> Dates: Use 11 June 2010 instead of 06/11/10.
> Time: Use military time (e.g., 23:00 instead of 11 p.m.).
> Written material: Use brief, uncomplicated sentences devoid of jargon and political or sports references not universally understood.