The World as a Stage
So how does Riverdance connect to the work of executives? Simply and directly. Any executive in a global corporation&8212;and which decent-size corporation is not global?&8212;is involved in similar global projects. These projects are complex, involve participants from throughout the world, demand cultural sensitivity, require global financing, and are often targeted at emerging economies.
"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players...." This was an elegant metaphor for Shakespeare, but for us, it is not metaphorical: It is reality. The world is one huge arena for economic activity, no longer compartmentalized by barriers or other unnecessary stage furniture. We all form part of a giant troupe of interdependent actors and actresses. We don't all recite the same lines or even perform similar repertory pieces, but none of us is entirely independent.
The interconnected, interactive, global economy is a reality. It is often confusing and disorientating: It challenges both the way we see business and the way we do business.
The global economy presents itself in many different forms, like an actor donning different masks and costumes. For example, there are the gigantic global flows of money. There is also the growing mountain of credit-card purchases, a process enhanced by the Internet. We can see it, too, in the trade deficit between the United States and China. The world's biggest economy has run up a huge trade deficit with China about which it worries incessantly; it might also worry about being technically bankrupt. China, too, has a growing trade deficit, as it seems to voraciously suck raw and semifinished materials, machines, and robots into its economy. But these are worries that belong to the old world of increasingly outdated economic paradigms and indicators.
The global economy is largely invisible. (That's why I called my previous book The Invisible Continent.) It should not be confused with some dark matter that hovers and lurks menacingly, ready to grab and devour the unwary. The global economy's effects are clearly evident throughout the world. We are all players on the global stage, and we all feel its effects.