10 Ways Leaders Can Think Globally and Develop an International Outlook

Here CEO Today hears from Head Coach at Cirrus, Rosemary Moore-Fiander, on the culture of global leadership, how leaders can develop an international perspective on all things business, and what avenues allow leaders to flourish on a global scale.

In the book Developing Your Global Mindset:The Handbook for Successful Global Leaders, Professor Mansour Javidan from Thunderbird School of Global Management identifies three attributes that make up a global mindset.

  • Intellectual capital: Global business savvy, cognitive complexity, cosmopolitan outlook
  • Psychological capital: Passion for diversity, quest for adventure, self-assurance
  • Social capital: Intercultural empathy, interpersonal impact, diplomacy.

I believe that all three of these are learnable. It’s possible to develop leaders to expand their understanding and awareness. I also believe that there are a lot of things leaders can do to help themselves, and based on my experience of helping leaders to develop more global mindsets over the past 25 years, I’ve pulled together ten top tips for things you can start to do today that can really make a difference.

  1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Seek out unfamiliar environments. Do things that scare, intimidate or overwhelm you. Don’t always choose the safest option.
  2. Challenge your unconscious bias. What stereotypes do you hold to be true? Stereotypes are based on a judgmental attitude and selective perception. Try to remain curious, open, and willing to learn.
  3. Find opportunities to be in a minority. We often gravitate towards groups of people who are similar to us. If you are usually part of the majority, try joining groups or going to events where most of the other people are very different to you.
  4. See the person. When you’re interacting with someone, look beyond the clothes, the accent, and the mannerisms. Aim to really get to know the person you’re talking to.
  5. Look at the successful global businesses in your own country. What can you learn from them and the way they operate?
  6. Explore local business networks with an international focus. For example, where I live in there is a very active Chamber of Commerce and other networks that focus on overseas opportunities.
  7. Pursue opportunities to volunteer. Do you have skills and experience to offer to an international charity or humanitarian organisation?
  8. Find ways to collaborate in a cross-cultural environment. This is easier than ever in our digital world, where we have so many opportunities for virtual collaboration.
  9. Learn about the business and social etiquette of other countries. Search online, read, and talk to colleagues and friends.
  10. Be a traveler, not a holiday maker. When you do get the opportunity to visit new places, aim to experience that place as locals do. Many of us seek out authentic local restaurants, but how about a local sports event, a concert, a festival?

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