The world has become a much smaller place. No, the size of planet earth has not changed, but the way we conduct business has. It’s hard enough scheduling a teleconference with the eastern and pacific time zones at the same time. We now have to look at the world clock to schedule our video and telephone conferences. This week, I will be on a call early one morning with Europe and another call late at night for our Asian offices. Truly, we have become more global.
Everyone, especially leaders, must approach business with a Global Mindset. And operating from a Global Mindset requires that we learn about the differences in people and cultures. The way we deal with people in the United States and Western Europe may not work in other parts of the world. Recently I was teaching a coaching class to a group of leaders in the Middle East. When we discussed the part about coaching up (coaching your boss and others above you), I asked the group if that was possible in their culture. They said that respect for the boss was extremely important and coaching up may not be acceptable. In Asian cultures, hierarchy is also important. This highlighted for me the importance of cultural awareness and leading with a Global Mindset.
How do you operate from a Global Mindset?
- Understand the cultures in which you conduct business
- Respect and appreciate differences in race, gender, culture and nationalities
- Seek out diversity when hiring and assembling your team
- Seek out those who DON’T look like you
- When developing strategy approach the task from a global perspective
Leading from a global perspective requires a deliberate focus. I encourage you to challenge your assumptions and stereotypes of other cultures. Read and learn about the cultures in which you work. Research cultural differences on the internet. Make an effort to flex your style to the culture in which you lead and work. You’ll be surprised how much respect you receive from your employees in other cultures if you show a measure of respect for their culture. What do you have to lose?