The globalization of business continues to challenge global companies ability to operate effectively across countries and cultures. In his book, Global Mindset Leadership, Dr. Ranker, describes several incidents where business deals were hampered/ delayed/compromised by one simple reason, the lack of understanding of cultures and styles. Over the years Dr. Ranker has noticed that many U.S. leaders, even those with international responsibilities, are very U.S.- centric. We (Americans) think of ourselves as having the right answers that we have the highest evolution of systems and ours is, of course, the best way. On the other hand, non-US based companies are also taking advantage of the globalization of business. Thus they also are facing similar challenges.
Dr. Ranker believes that the development of global mindset is a requirement for success in business going forward. Only by being truly open to new ideas and new ways of relating to one another can we capture the opportunities available in our new, fast-changing world. This does not mean that we have to give up our own beliefs and values. Instead, by exercising our increased understanding, openness and tolerance we can build trust with people who are different from us.
“Global mindset as the ability to step outside one’s base culture, and to understand there is no universally correct way to do things” –Gary Ranker
How does one even begin to approach this new environment successfully? First, let us contrast two leadership styles.
Global Leadership vs. Global Mindset Leadership
The Term Global leadership is mostly understood as the geographic spread of business operations, particularly across cultures. A global leader in the traditional sense is one that is doing business and leading followers with different cultural backgrounds in different geographies. Interestingly, A 2003 study by Goldsmith et al. of HRD officers in 200 global organizations might shed some light. They were asked what are the most important leadership skills required for effectiveness in a global economy. They identified five main skills
- Thinking globally
- Appreciating cultural diversity
- Developing technological savvy
- Building partnerships and alliances
- Sharing leadership
In his own study, described in his Global Mindset Coaching book, Dr Ranker identified the following characteristics of successful global leaders
- Interest in Travel
- Proactive Risk-taking (spirit of adventure)
- Open Mindedness
- Respect for differences (cultural sensitivity)
Dr. Gary Ranker believes that Global Mindset Leadership takes this notion a bit further; it is the ability of the leader to use those skills and to take advantage of the cross cultural differences and use them to achieve organizational goals. Another way to appreciate the differences the following; a global leader is an individual that has a list of competencies, a leader with a global mindset has the attitude, the driving principle that will make the global leadership skills much more powerful and effective. In fact Tiina Koninen (2005), in her review of Global leadership competencies, she agrees “global leadership competencies are best described as continuums rather than dichotomies. Thus, instead of specific competencies, the focus should be on the extent of development of those competencies.”
Global Mindset and Globalization
Global enterprises today need to manage differently, to succeed, all leaders today need to be proactive about the diversity that comes from having persons with different values and viewpoints. In the past, leaders of global organizations could afford to be more ethnocentric, guided by the principles and values of their culture and the misguided thought that “my culture is better,” those days are gone.
Leaders in today Global Economy need to have the capacity to understand increasingly complex patterns in the global business environment and the ability to build and manage global teams and networks pretty effectively. They need to adopt a negotiation style with an openness of mind to the differences between people in different parts of the world. Global leaders must approach leadership differently. Dr. Ranker believes that leaders must adopt a global mindset, which has four components.
Global Mindset Leadership is Situational
Globalization of business has implications for how people are managed. Some cultures encourage entrepreneurship; some cultures encourage teamwork in meeting goals; some support a strong central leadership; others encourage dissent or discussion. Since talent in a global organization can be drawn from many parts of the world, leaders need to be more situational in their style, more aware of individual persons, and of timing and cultural context. The idea that there is not a universally correct way, but rather leadership is Situational.
Cultural differences and similarities aren’t positive or negative.
This is opposite than ethnocentricity, it is the recognition of the multitude of choices about how to interact, and indicates that we make conscious decisions based on that sensitivity and considerations for others. It recognizes that a culture is not better than any other culture. Is understanding the potential regardless of the package in which it comes, a passion for diversity.
Developing An Active Openness to learning
Learning about a new culture must go beyond being tolerant; it is proactively learning and utilizing the values learned to further personal, and organizational goals. To put it simply, imitating a foreigner can be viewed as tolerance and acceptance, knowing what you do and why you do it is having a global mindset. It is the ability to be effective in interpersonal relations
Adopting an emotionally intelligent leading approach.
EQ starts with Awareness at three levels. Awareness of self- This is understanding you at a deep level. The more you know about yourself, the better you are at adapting life changes that come your way. Awareness of Social Context – This level of awareness gives you the ability to understand and respond to the needs and wants people. When you respond to those needs and wants, you gain their trust. Awareness of Perceptions – Do you know what other people really feel about you? If the people you interact with daily were to be completely honest with you and tell you how they think of you, would you like what they say?