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Global Mindset - A 2020 Leadership Competency

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January 18th, 2012

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October 4, 2018 - 8:25am

Our world is becoming increasingly inter-connected as work is performed across time and geographical boundaries. Organizations are becoming more diverse, culturally, ethnically, and by way of five generations in the workforce. Organizational leaders are learning that to be successful, they have to achieve results across diverse countries, cultures and generations. And yet a 2009 study by Ernst & Young, "Redrawing the map: globalization and the changing world of business" revealed that the boards of many global companies lack the diversity to deal with intercultural challenges.

Results from the ongoing GLOBE research project (Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness) conclude that successful executives do possess attributes consistent with a “global mindset.”

This is one of ten leadership competencies we’ve identified as critical for success of future leaders and a competency for which we have developed a coaching guide that we use in our work with executives.

But what exactly is a global mindset? How do you assess this competency? How do you develop it?


What is Global Mindset?

At Thunderbird School of Management and the Najafi Global Mindset Institute (GMI), research is being conducted to find answers to this question. Through interviews and surveys with thousands of global executives, results suggest that leaders with a high level of global mindset are more likely to be successful in working with people from other cultures. They possess “capital” that enables them to influence individuals, groups, organizations, and systems that are unlike their own.

Three different types of “capital” are identified by Thunderbird and GMI: Leadership 2020 Global Mindset

  • Intellectual capital: Global business savvy, cognitive complexity, cosmopolitan outlook
  • Psychological capital: Passion for diversity, quest for adventure, self-assurance
  • Social capital: Intercultural empathy, interpersonal impact, diplomacy
Watch this clip to learn more from Dr. Mansour Javidan, director of Najafi Global Mindset Institute at Thunderbird School of Global Management.
 

How Do You Assess Global Mindset?

In Leading across borders - inclusive thinking in an interconnected world, Ernst & Young identify three things that leaders can do differently now:

  1. Think differently: collaborate in the face of uncertainty.
  2. Learn differently: seek out different experiences.
  3. Act differently: sponsor people who are not like you.
  • Organizations might consider the Global Mindset Inventory (GMI). This web-based assessment administered by the Global Mindset Institute takes approximately ten minutes to complete. It measures an individual’s and a group’s profile of Global Mindset in terms of Psychological Capital (PC), Social Capital (SC), and Intellectual Capital (IC). The instrument is available in two formats: self-assessment and 360°. More than 23,000 individuals and managers from more than 70 countries have completed the survey. 
     
  • Individuals can take the free Global Attitude Protocol (GAP) which allows you to compare your responses to the average responses from a large group of MBA students at a top international business school. 

How Do You Develop a Global Mindset?

In our work with leaders, we use coaching questions to stimulate thinking around personal and team action strategies and "enablers" that can be adopted. We also share our ideas on achieving personal mastery through ongoing learning and development. The good news is that knowledge and skills can be developed. 

The Global Mindset Institute concurs and has published a handbook entitled, "Developing Your Global Mindset - The Handbook for Successful Global Leaders" that provides practical ideas and examples to strengthen the three capitals of your global mindset. 


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Leaders need to be able to leverage the competitive global business environment and manage effectively within and beyond the global organization. Whether leading within one’s own culture or across geographies, effective leadership requires the ability to deal with the diversity of perspectives that people bring to their work and their world.