Ikea is about to open its first store in India, in what it seems to be one of the last big untapped frontiers for international retailers. Ikea has been successful in China, where they were able to understand the needs and wants of the customers and  local management practices.  Ikea is taking this approach, and implementing practices to meet the Indian Market, in other words, Ikea plans to bring its core concept to the Indian market however, influenced by acquired local knowledge; this is a Global Mindset approach.

Ikea is a Global Mindset company

Global Mindset: “It is the ability to step outside one’s base culture and to understand there is no universally correct way to do things.”   – Dr. Gary Ranker.

The opening of the India store is not happening overnight, in fact it has been a long process.  At the center of this initiative was not only a curiosity but a necessity for the company to learn about the culture and the Indian consumer.  As Ikea CEO Michael Ohlsson explains, “Most people don’t really know and can hardly imagine that we visit thousands of homes around every store in the world every year. We sit down in the kitchen and talk to them … that’s the way we try to learn and understand. ‘What are you annoyed with? What are your frustrations? What would you like to have? How much can you afford? What are your alternatives?'”

Ikea has Global Mindset Leaders

In 2012 Juvencio Maeztu landed in India as the CEO of Ikea India.  Since then, he has been busy trying to understand and laying the foundation to make Ikea a success in India. In his first two years, he stepped out of his comfort zone, by exploring, learning and adapting his style and the company’s to the “Indian way of doing things.”  As he explains, “This is a market you need to learn and not come into with an attitude that you know everything.” He met people from all walks of life asking them for advice and things that Ikea should know about their new market.  Maetzu is a leader with a vision and a Global Mindset.

Maeztu, a Global Mindset leader has moved back to Europe, his replacement in India is Peter Betzel.  Peter is passionate about diversity and inclusion and has the tools and the foundation to make Ikea a success in India and as India opens its first store, the components for success are there.   They are not taking risks; rather, they are executing on a business plan with a global mindset approach.

The approach Ikea has taken to globalization is truly exemplary.  They are taking the necessary time to understand the culture they are moving into and adapting their practices accordingly. Unlike the Home Depot approach previously discussed, their incompetent local adaptation and mode of entry were the main reasons for their lack of success in China.

The principles of the success of Ikea are simple, stepping out of their base culture with an open mind that there is not a universal way to do things, simple but not easy.  Companies are not global; leaders are, he success of Ikea is driven by Global Mindset leaders drive the success of Ikea.