The complex constellation of skills required for global leadership is continually morphing. The basic leadership competencies are only an axis around which revolve the specifics of local culture and the
analytics of the target culture globally. Therefore, not only does the knowledge management evolve, but so does the audience for global leadership development. At one time, the audience was primarily executives involved in international relocation. Over time, that group widened to include those who work with them: Human Resource departments, Supply Chain groups, and professionals with frequent contact, particularly in the STEM fields: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Today, in order to stay competitive in this environment, virtually every nation on the face of the planet is extending their global leadership training into new arenas. A key area is our youth, brought up on the internet with its impersonal speed and no-holds-barred communication style. The question now becomes, how can we capture the imagination, thought processes, and commitment of potential leaders in an arena with few quick answers or short tweets.
We are constantly shuttling between local and global in our work today. Your markets may be in your home town one month, and across the country the next. Your consulting work can be on site around the corner, or across the country. Online night and day, we inform, coordinate, network, and market here at home and across the world. In the midst of massive information overload, the diverse team must have the expertise to cross cultures competently and the wisdom to make effective decisions quickly. In the future, the overload will only intensify. How will we master the global – local connection as it moves and morphs at lightening speed?
In my first business, I was a federal minority subcontractor providing software development servicing to the energy industry. Even with only one client and one type of revenue source, I still didn’t put forth any sales and marketing efforts.
Most people don’t change, or willingly go along with change, because the change is “the right thing to do.” They do it if there is an important reason to change. Businesses don’t change their corporate cultures so that they retain women because doing so is nice for women. They do it if there is a compelling business reason to do so. The bottom line reasons to achieve gender diversity in leadership are exactly that—compelling.
The globalization of organizations is an undeniably reality. Businesses and governments are working together to solve problems too big and too complex for any one country. Unfortunately, a quick glance through the recent news headlines points to a critical roadblock in the path to successful international collaboration: a severe lack of trust across organizational and national borders. Trust is one of the basic building blocks of successful collaboration.
When the issue of diversity is raised, most think of race and ethnicity. Although these topics are very important, they are just the tip of the iceberg. The lens through which we see the world is significantly influenced by the whole of our life experiences. Factors such as socioeconomic status, gender, religion, occupation, language, where we live, cultural background and a host of other factors are all critical components of the concept of diversity.
Antonio Velásquez, my immigrant father, who came to this country (legally , you have to say that these days) with nothing, not knowing the language, serving this great country in the military and then eventually, with the GI bill, graduating from college (at age 32) recently passed away. My father lived to see me go to college and graduate, earning a BA and MBA from two great schools, and watched me marry a fabulous woman and have three wonderful children together and start my own firm – The Diversity Training Group. DTG has thrived for nearly 15 years.
Do we have to keep talking about this? Oh, a diversity workshop… why? You are ruining the workplace; we can’t have any fun anymore!” Have you heard these wonderful, welcoming, open, pro-learning comments lately? I had one participant (in front of all of his buddies) recently comment – “This session will probably be about the KKK, right?!” Another participant in the same session said – “This is going to be a total waste of time (in front of HR)!”
I think many people are tired of the diversity issues percolating and re-circulating in the workplace, marketplace, and society-at-large, but way too many people just don’t realize that these diversity and inclusion issues are going unacknowledged, unresolved and “will come back over and over again.” The question is not should we fear diversity fatigue but why are so many people so fatigued?
If the truth be told, I wasn’t considered to be a diversity expert until I wrote a book, Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain, which touches on the subject. I am, however, a Black British female of Nigerian origin who happened to live with a white working class family during my foundational years. Not only have I lived in both Britain and Nigeria, I’ve travelled extensively to different parts of the world. I have friends from varying backgrounds as well and I’ve also had the opportunity to work with people from varying backgrounds and countries and I’ve learnt a lot from them, too.