Global Mindset Definition: what it really means? 

Global Mindset, CEO Leadership Coaching

For many years, Dr. Ranker has used the “Global Mindset” phrase to indicate an orientation of openness towards other cultures, other people, and other ways of doing things.   The “Global Mindset Definition” has many different meanings depending on who do you ask, e.g. The journal of international business studies.  Yet all agree that leaders of global organizations need to be able to adapt and use the style that is most acceptable and gets the job done, depending on the country, culture, and people with whom they are interacting. 

For the research discussed in his latest book Global Mindset Coaching, one of the questions Dr. Ranker asked was: “what are the most important aspects of a Global Mindset?”.  The results were clear, executives that answered the survey identified several of the components that should be included in the Global Mindset Definition.   

  1. Openness to learning 
  2. Adapt to new cultures 
  3. Manage different cultures 
  4. No one correct way 
  5. Interest and curiosity 
  6. Proactive use of diversity 
  7. Not bound by local 

Taking into consideration the results of his findings and his own experience, he has validated and updated his Global Mindset Definition as follows:  

It is the ability to step outside one’s base culture and to understand there is no universally correct way to do things”.  

This Global Mindset Definition, although accurate, oversimplifies the concept and its importance.   To truly understand it, let us break down the definition into its two main components. 

1 – The ability to step outside one’s base culture  

At the core of this belief is the willingness of the individual to take risks, to explore, to learn and to adapt.    

Taking risks – Letting go of the fear that comes from stepping out of what is known, letting go of an ethnocentric attitude to adopt a more inclusive mindset, a learning mindset.  

To explore – Being open to step out of your comfort zone with the purpose of exploring and learning about a new culture in a way that goes beyond being tolerant, but rather proactively looking for the opportunity to utilize those learnings. 

To Learn – To be able to combine openness and awareness of diversity across cultures and embrace such differences.   Imitating a foreigner can be viewed as tolerance and acceptance, but the goal should be understanding what drives the behavior/custom, etc.   Learning and understanding common patterns across cultures, countries, and markets.    

To adapt – It is important to be able to navigate the various customs and cultural differences, geopolitical and economical climates, cultural conditions and expectations.  This will make possible decisions in a way that is culturally sensitive and takes advantage of the potential opportunities that these differences bring.   

2- There is no universally correct way to do things.   

At the core of this concept, there are two main principles.   Global Mindset leadership is situational and cultural differences, and similarities are neither positive nor negative. 

Global Mindset leadership is Situational  

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. 

Cultural differences and similarities are not positive or negative 

Awareness and openness is a way to appreciate global trends and sensitivity when making decisions.   The idea that cultural differences aren’t positive or negative gives leaders an ability to connect with people from other cultures intellectually and emotionally.  Cultures influence and sometimes dictates the way we dress, what and how we eat, the stories we tell.  This awareness helps us connect with others because of those differences, rather than in spite of them.   

Dr. Ranker believes that Global Mindset is the most important characteristic for managers and leaders to cultivate today because it enables them to connect with others and thrive in a VUCA environment typical of many global business situations.  

In the future, the successful company will have a Global Mindset as a core characteristic of its leadership.   Valuing diversity, and the different ways people communicate and interact will be manifest in all forms of communication, and in its customers’ perspective.  However, one of the biggest challenges of globalization of business today is preparing global leaders.   

Bringing a Global Mindset to how leaders behave might take many forms, for example, they might consider the cultural differences in dominant or passive conversational styles when conducting mixed team meetings. Or, they might consider the importance of relationships when doing business in some countries more than others. For example, in Asia the relationship comes first, and only after a relationship is established can business be discussed this can only be appreciated and successfully used by a Global Mindset Leader.  

In short, the Global Mindset Definition is simple. This simplicity is what makes Dr. Gary Ranker’s coaching of global leaders so effective and powerful.   

The ability to step outside one’s base culture, and to understand there is no universally correct way to do things 

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