Melissa Lamson, CEO of Lamson Consulting
Today’s business world demands a certain kind of leader—a global leader. A global leader is savvy in understanding how business works around the world. These leaders have a “global mindset” which means they’re attuned to the differing values, behaviors, and attitudes in business in other cultures and how these impact the interactions one has with others in a professional situation. To understand the importance of having a global mind-set, consider this—studies have shown that culture influences our behavior as much if not more than 70 percent.
Global mindset is the next evolution of intercultural communication and diversity. It not only emphasizes those cultural or individual behaviors but goes beyond to investigate how it logistically and tactically works in other countries.
Here are seven ways to help you on your way to getting a global mindset.
Travel. How can you be considered a “global” leader if you don’t go global yourself? Traveling out of the country is the best way to learn a new culture.
Stay awhile. When you do business abroad, do more than just walk through the airport and stay in the hotel. Go out to dinner, visit in people’s homes, site see. Drink in the culture.
Ask questions. One of the best ways to learn about another culture is to ask questions. Then listen. Listen more than you talk. Chatting with locals in a particular country helps one learn about their way of life, community, and how they do business.
Read the news. Global leaders typically are up to date and aware of what is going on in the world so it’s important to read and watch international news. Knowing about what is going on in other countries is impressive and builds your credibility.
Learn another language. You don’t have to come from an international background to speak another language, you can simply learn one. You can learn new languages by taking classes, reading, and using audio-visual language courses online.
Have friends in different places. Visit a friend you have in another country. Developing personal relationships abroad also helps with networking if you want to do business in that country or make important connections.
Surround yourself with other global minds. A leader is only as good as her or his team. Surround yourself with other globally savvy people to ensure you don’t miss something and that your global strategy is carried out in the right way.
Chances are your company or organization has locations and/or customers from other cultures. Being able to understand and empathize with cultural differences is not only a key to your business’s success but can also be personally fulfilling. Learning about other cultures expands your mind and broadens your perspective. Plus, it is a good excuse to travel.
To assess your global mindset, use the Global Mindset Inventory tool.
[Image courtesy of nattavut at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]
About the Author
Melissa Lamson, CEO of Lamson Consulting, is one of the world’s foremost intercultural trainer and consultant. Her experience spans two decades and projects in more than forty countries, affording her invaluable expertise in helping organizations expand globally, improve time-to-market, and increase profits. She has offered hundreds of companies the tools and insights to be build successful leaders and effective teams in every corner of the world. Past clients include LinkedIn, Ikea, MTV, Porsche, and SAP.