In the old days, when working for an American company, our business was split between the USA and the Rest of The World, which we called ROW. I belonged to ROW. And the ROW citizens were clearly not of the same league. It was not just my company who used the ROW concept, it was quite common.
Things are more sophisticated nowadays but we still make distinctions: emergent markets, developing countries, developed or mature markets, etc. Regional structures are also in place and a new form of ROW is for instance EMEA, which is of course Europe, Middle East and Africa, a sort of grouping which most often is united by geographical proximity on a world map in the Executive Suite, and little else.
Being an ROW-ite or an EMEA-ite, or more often, an Emergent Market citizen is not necessarily bad. As Emergent Markets, the assumption is that you are behind the already Emerged ones, so you need to catch up. I personally prefer to see this as an opportunity to avoid the mistakes of the Emerged and Mature and to ‘jump the curve’. I have worked with clients in the past who have told me: ‘We are just like (Germany, or Italy, or France) but 10 years behind’. What a wonderful opportunity to avoid 10 years of mistakes. (Unless you are blind and want to repeat them.)
Jumping the curve, avoiding the pain of mistakes, accelerating growth in it’s own right without having to go through the same process as others have gone through before, is smart. It can be done. Entire Industrial Revolutions have been bypassed. In doubt, look at Ireland.
If you have a Corporate ROW passport, you may be luckier than you think!