In an increasingly interconnected and multicultural world, we are constantly challenged when interacting with individuals from different cultural backgrounds. Cultural differences can create significant misunderstandings and conflict that can negatively impact global business. However, cultural differences can also be a resource that can add enormous value to any global organisation. Effective global leadership requires a global mindset. In other words, effective global leaders have the ability to identify and successfully manage and harness cultural differences.
Global leaders who demonstrate a strong global mindset will be better equipped to maximise cultural differences and perspectives which can lead to increased opportunities, value and innovation in their teams. As Jim Turley points out in a recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek about the ‘new global mindset’, “Developing an inclusive culture where all team members can successfully bring their perspectives to the table becomes essential. The research is clear: Well-managed, diverse teams will outperform homogenous teams.” Global leaders who thrive at creating and leading culturally diverse teams around the globe will find greater long-term success.
What is a ‘global mindset’?
A global mindset is what global leaders need to make the most of the cross-cultural diversity of both the company and of the global market where it does business. A global mindset involves three key characteristics: psychological, intellectual and social.
Someone with a global mindset will be passionate about diversity, enthusiastic about new adventures and capable of adapting in unfamiliar global environments. This motivation to try new things is helped by their existing intellect and knowledge of the cultures they are operating in as well as their interest and ability to constantly learn more about them.
Leaders with a global mindset have the ability to look at things from other perspectives and adapt their behaviour accordingly. This in turn helps them to effectively interact with culturally and linguistically different people through actively listening, showing them respect and empathy and building trust.
How do you develop a global mindset?
International exposure, internal mentoring programmes and cross cultural training courses like Effective Global Leadership all contribute to the development of a global mindset. Here are just a few ways you can develop a broader global mindset:
- International exposure can be achieved through personal research on cultural subjects and world economic and political issues. Reading international newspapers, speaking to international counterparts and keeping updated about global issues can help you to better understand differences across cultures.
- Short and long-term international travel can be a great way to develop a better understanding of the world. Keep your eyes open for new projects at work where you could get involved with colleagues or counterparts from other cultures. Organisations with a matrix structure or a wide global presence usually have plenty of opportunities for cross-cultural collaboration. Make sure the right people know you are interested in getting involved, either through formal or informal channels, and you never know what may come along.
- Internal mentoring programmes are also a great way to get advice and tips for expanding your global mindset. Moreover, they provide you with the chance of meeting other leaders acting in a global environment who can share inspiring experiences that you can learn from.
- A cross-cultural training course like Effective Global Leadership can also help you to develop the skills you need and build relationships with people in international roles. An Effective Global Leadership course gives you opportunities to develop your cultural knowledge and understanding to help you to face any cross-cultural challenge more effectively.
Stay ahead of the game and get involved at a more competitive level by working on developing your global mindset little by little. The combination of informal initiatives that take a few minutes a day with more formalised methods such as training or a mentoring programme can enable you to create a world of global opportunities!
© Communicaid Group Ltd. 2011