Being Global

As technology connects and businesses expand, the world shrinks further. It unites in both its opportunities and problems. Our challenges are global, might they be poverty, climate change or gender inequality. Our businesses too, are global. Yet unfortunately, our leaders are not.

global_leadership_crop275x275_01Both growing multinational companies and national governments are currently all facing a common problem, that of a Global Leadership Deficit. That is to say, they have failed to develop leaders who are capable of managing global enterprises (social or profit-based) and take advantage of strategic international opportunities. According to a survey of senior corporate executives in the US, 76% believe that their organizations need to develop global-leadership capabilities, but only 7% think they are currently doing so effectively. Of the US companies surveyed, 30% admitted that they could not sufficiently exploit their international business opportunities simply because they had a paucity of personnel with adequate international competence. The recent London Business School Global Leadership Summit discussed the lack of leaders with Global mindset in the public sector and policy making arena.

But what makes a global leader? Ángel Cabrera, commented on this in the Harvard Business Review, “The old mantra ‘think global, act local’ is woefully inadequate to describe the complex realities global leaders face. They don’t just think and act global, they are global.” Hence it is not simply about being aware of international trends or being sensitive towards various cultures – it is about living global experiences and understanding the routes of these business trends, political issues and cultures. She further elucidates that there are “three critical skill sets that are essential for effective global leadership: global mindset, global entrepreneurship, and global citizenship. The global mindset allows leaders to connect with individuals and organizations across boundaries. Their entrepreneurial spirit equips them to create value through those connections. And their citizenship drives them to make a positive contribution to the communities they engage with.” Global leaders thus “nurture relationships with associates and friends around the world and have a unique ability to transcend cultural barriers and cultivate trust”

images (15)

Some companies are gradually understanding the importance of “being global” and are reaping rich rewards. Moving among multifarious multi-year overseas assignments is “very much a part of Shell culture,” says Mathilde de Boer, a consultant on leadership development for the organization Shell Learning, a part of the Royal Dutch Shell. Benefits of a global experience are visible when executives get together for more formal training activities, says de Boer. “You can see it in the way they learn. Because they have experienced so many different situations, they can quickly grasp new ways of doing things. They have had a mirror held up to their leadership styles.”

People who have been on AIESEC internships also echo the same learning. “My internship in Egypt was a life changing experience because got to develop a global perspective about life, living and working with people from all over the globe made me realize my leadership potential to a great extent!”, says Ahsaas Chawla, a 2nd year student of Delhi Technical University who went for a social sector internship through AIESEC.

It’s clearly time to “Go Global”. What are you waiting for?

Sign Up

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments