I first started to use this phrase in the 1990s to describe myself.  It has become popular in the US and abroad, but what does this mean?  When I talk about having a global mindset, I’m indicating my personal belief that I can get beyond my base culture.  It refers to the cultural perspective that involves awareness of self, knowledge of many cultural values and an understanding of other people’s practices based on these values. In my view, when people make decisions more broadly rather than influenced by a single cultural perspective they are much more capable leaders, they able to deal with cultural diversity and lead global teams more efficiently.

As an American, having a global mindset means getting beyond my base culture and proactively learning about the differences and utilizing those differences to achieve my professional goals and those of my clients.   In my global coaching practice,  I have defined four beliefs that are at the bedrock of my Global Mindset Coaching.

Global Mindset: There is no one universal correct way, but rather leadership is situational.  We need to examine what is most appropriate, look to the individual people, and see the unique characteristics of a particular culture. If our goal is to have the other person agree with us, purchase what we’re selling or be involved in discussion with us, then we should use the most appropriate method to get that agreement. You understand local markets and take advantage of business opportunities

Global Mindset: 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 your culture is not better than any other culture.  You understand the potential regardless of the package in which it comes.

Global Mindset:  Developing An Active Openness to learning  –  Learning about a new culture beyond being tolerant.  Global mindset goes beyond tolerance; 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

Global Mindset:  Awareness is a very useful map. This map comes with three different views,  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?

Many of us know people that seem to be successful working effectively across cultures, we all have that friend that moves from country to country and thriving wherever  he goes.  They seem to be able to address situations with a cultural knowledge and sensitivity without sacrificing their personal values and types.  They are consistent with others’ expectations of the way they will behave. Those leaders have a global mindset.  Do you?