Global Leadership In Practice
Globalization is opening up a plethora of new opportunities for businesses. However, few companies have the talent to capitalize on these opportunities. Outstanding international organizations understand that skill, not strategies or systems, drives competitive advantage in the global marketplace. Finding and developing global talent, however, remains a challenge.
How can businesses best prepare their leaders and teams to deal with the global marketplace’s broad social, cultural, and political issues? Here are six core practices to consider if your company is starting with a global leadership strategy or accelerating the development of global leadership competencies throughout the organization.
1. Determine whether or not global talent is essential to your business strategy.
Begin by asking why global leadership capability is vital to your business strategy. Most large and mid-sized businesses have leadership development programs for their managers and special learning programs for their high potential. However, for many, developing global leadership capability is a novel endeavor.
Organizations must have strategic clarity regarding capabilities and skills to develop. Are global markets a source of new talent, lower production costs, suppliers, or investors? Are senior executives motivated to create a multi-year strategic talent development program to address growth and talent needs? Or do more tactical requirements take precedence? How committed are senior executives to advancing the global leadership program as a driving strategy?
2. Understand the competencies and behaviors required to achieve business outcomes.
What competencies and behaviors are critical to achieving specific business objectives and the global business strategy? For example, the WJM Executive Leadership Model is a global behavioral model that covers the four core areas of Leading Self, Leading Others, Leading Change, and Leading Results (with specific behavioral competencies in each area). Many businesses have a competency model that outlines how results will be obtained. A global competency model, such as the Global Mindset Inventory (GMI), can be used to supplement a core model for executive assessment and development. The GMI is a scientifically validated instrument based on data from thousands of executives working for multinational corporations across the globe.
Global leaders with a solid global mindset are more likely to understand the situations and people with whom they interact in an international setting. They show a strong desire to learn about different cultures and ideas. They can better identify and implement appropriate methods for persuading stakeholders to work toward the company’s goals. They demonstrate a willingness to collaborate and innovate in groups.
Individual job profiles for global leadership positions can benefit selection and development. A good job profile describes the behavioral characteristics required to succeed in the job (often based on history), as well as capabilities and works environment preferences.
3. Select talent selection and assessment tools that will provide feedback and insight into global developmental needs.
Many businesses combine “high tech” online assessment with “high touch” talent review and feedback. Personality inventories and the Global Mindset Inventory, are standard components of a WJM leadership assessment (GMI). WJM consultants can evaluate executives using the company’s global competency model or WJM’s Executive Leadership model. The goal is to generate executive-relevant feedback and a development plan to close global leadership capability gaps.
To better target global learning investments, many organizations implement rigorous assessment tools to identify high potentials and “emerging” leaders. Experts believe emerging leaders must be exposed to international talent issues early in their careers to develop a global mindset as a core leadership capability.
4. Focus on using executive coaching to achieve global leadership goals.
Coaching may be used to prepare an executive for a specific international assignment or to address particular gaps in the leader’s global mindset capability when developing global leadership capability. Executive coaching usually starts with an initial assessment, then feedback from the participant, a meeting with the participant and their manager, and the developing of a development plan. Sometimes, the development plan will be centered on cultural onboarding, such as a new assignment in a foreign country. WJM frequently draws on its international Faculty to assign a local Executive Coach in that country to assist with on-site assimilation.
On the other hand, this executive needed to improve his Intellectual Capital, specifically the global business savvy and cosmopolitan outlook required to succeed in a Tokyo assignment. He began a development program to learn how his industry works in other parts of the world, particularly Asia. When the executive arrived in Japan, he worked with an executive coach familiar with the Asian global business environment to learn about culturally sensitive issues and behaviors required for the new assignment.
5. Determine whether additional assistance or training is required.
Many businesses opt for culturally specific training because awareness and sensitivity are essential to assimilation and personal effectiveness in a new country. WJM consultants, for example, design and facilitate custom workshop modules on a variety of topics, including Understanding the Impact of Chinese Cultural Style on Negotiations and Presenting Effectively in Japan.
The Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) Research Project is a good source for additional leadership and management training. According to the GLOBE study of 62 societies and 17,300 middle managers, leadership effectiveness is contextual; that is, it is embedded in the organizational norms, values, and beliefs of those being led. One must understand and act by a culture’s dominant social patterns to be effective. The study identified nine cultural dimensions that allow comparisons of similarities and differences across societies. Power distance, uncertainty avoidance, humane orientation, collectivism (institutional and group), assertiveness, gender equality, future orientation, and performance orientation are examples. Country clusters enable managers to understand the relative differences between Nordic and Eastern European cultures. Manager training assists managers in understanding and adapting their leadership and team behaviors to the appropriate culture and team membership.
6. Ensure relevant international development opportunities.
International assignments continue to be important in the development of global leaders. Learning through experience is required for optimal performance as a global leader. This entails spending time in a different culture. Choosing the right people for international assignments is another significant competitive advantage. Failure to complete an international project can be costly.
Some experts distinguish between Level 1 leaders who have never lived outside the United States and Level 2 leaders who have lived in various cultures. Level 1 leader development frequently focuses on “cultural awareness” issues such as sensitivity to stereotypes, cultural power dynamics, and the fundamentals of intercultural relationships. However, cultural learning is rarely profoundly embedded in this type of training. Level 2 leaders who have more experience with international cultures often have a better understanding of cultural nuances. Nonetheless, culture-specific exercise significantly improves an executive’s ability to work with global teams.
“Being a global leader requires experience to understand nuances, important business subtleties, and, most importantly, to challenge one’s assumptions and norms as a leader and a person,” says Ashley Miles, Alexion Pharmaceuticals’ Organizational Development Leader, who has lived in four countries and trained employees in twenty-seven.
Global Leadership In Practice
Locate a current news article, presentation, or interview on global leadership development in practice.
You may also choose an article from a relevant industry journal, such as SHRM, ATD, or ILA.
Your source must be within the last 5 years, and must specifically address one or more of the following:
– Global leadership program design,
– Global leadership development methods,
– The role of HR in global leaderhsip development,
– Or new understandings of GL development within an organization.
In addition to the articles, you will find, also analyze the content of the article in the context of this week’s reading materials.
Minimum of 4 cited references
Mendenhall, M. E., Osland, J. S., Bird, A., Oddou, G. R., Stevens, M. J., Maznevski, M. L., & Stahl, G. K. (2018). Global Leadership: Research, Practice and Development (3rd ed.). London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.
Chapter 1: Leadership and the birth of global leadership
Chapter 2: The multidisciplinary roots of global leadership
Chapter 3: An overview of the global leadership literature
Chapter 10: Global leadership knowledge creation and transfer