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. To stay competitive in this environment, virtually every nation on the face of the planet is extending their global leadership training into new arenas.
Cross Cultural Expertise is the marketing leadership tool of a future that’s coming for us like a high speed train. While that train may go through tunnels and across challenging terrain with a new administration, technology is shrinking our world and that train is gathering speed. Our workforce, our suppliers, and, above all, our marketing professionals need the skill set of cross-cultural communication, cultural competence, conflict management, and problem solving. They are the fuel to compete in the future and without them, the train may miss its target destination and risk derailment.
Here’s what teenage global leaders-in-training had to say when asked what a young global leader should know. The words of wisdom come from high school and middle school students participating in the American Diversity Report Youth Global Leadership Class. Enjoy their timeless advice and then read what leadership experts said about preparing the upcoming generation of leaders.
Chattanooga’s Lean In – Women GroundBreakers is a Think Tank of diverse faith, community, youth, and business leaders. The women meet monthly to discuss trends and strategies for making a difference. As part of the international Lean In movement, their Think Tank discussions are published locally and globally. Be inspired by their Words of Wisdom on October’s topic: Global Leadership. First, check out their strategies for building a global mindset.
4 Top Strategies for Building a Global Mindset
1. Be Aware
- Acknowledge your biases.
- Be open to the ideas of others.
- Know yourself and be authentic.
2. Be Educated
- Learn about issues on a global level, not just locally or nationally.
- Know the customs of other countries and religions.
- Learn a foreign language.
- Continue your education. You can’t speak out on something you don’t understand.
- Research how other women developed into global leaders.
3. Communicate across Cultures
- Consolidate your ideas into a format that is easily shared with others.
- Listen and understand life from a person who is not like you.
- Respect the customs of different countries and religions when you speak your mind.
4. Put your Ideas into Action
- Decide how you want to make a difference.
- List and then prioritize the paths you want to take.
- Contact the community leaders working in your areas of interest.
- Pursue your mission and encourage others to pursue their dreams.
Groundbreakers’ Words of Wisdom
Carrie DiMemmo, nonprofit and development professional
“Global leaders did not wake up one day and decide to lead on a global scale. They started doing small things within their local communities and built on that. They may have a global vision, but they always have a local start. You can’t change the world without changing yourself first.”
Tina Player, Event Planner
“We should recognize who we are and the purpose of our existence. Never be classified or placed in a specific box. Create your own box with a unique size, color, and bow. It’s most important to know who you are and WHY!
Denise Reed, Chief Business Connector at The Concierge Office Suites
“Share your life experience and business experience so other can see the opportunities in front of them and make a positive difference.”
Brenda Freeman Short, Lawyer, teacher, and political leader
“Global leadership requires the recognition of all human beings as valuable citizens of this plant, However, caring for others does not necessarily mean acceptance of another’s lifestyle. Leadership can agree to disagree.”
Laura Hessler, Owner of The HR Shop
“Everyone has a story and a part of leadership is understanding the solicitation, verbalization, and promotions of those stories that in turn can inspire others to act.”
Cathryn Cohen, Retired attorney and county library executive director
“Remember that women, whether by birth or by choice, are entitled to everything men have always had.”
Ardena Garth, Attorney and former public defender
“Fear keeps me from getting to know and understand what is going on in the world around me. Caring about others is a start to develop global leaders. Knowledge will help combat that fear.”
Leanne Baron, Consultant
“If we can come together in our local communities and identify the top issues and then make a plan to work together, we can can make a difference which can spread to the national global level. We’ve been good at coming up with ideas, but need to be better at putting those ideas into action and bringing about change.”
ASPIRE & INSPIRE!
There’s no escaping the lack of trust these days from local officials to world powers. Whether we get our news from television, newspapers or the internet, we’re inundated with highly emotional trust issues. Take the examples of the turmoil around a third bailout for Greece, the fear over a nuclear arms agreement with Iran, and the disgust with declared international truces in Ukraine, Korea, and Yemen and undeclared domestic truces in Ferguson and Charleston. In the US, trust issues will be a dominant theme in the presidential campaign as candidates accuse, blame, and attack. Reporters rely on phrases such as “can’t trust,” “lack of trust,” “trust but verify,”and “rebuild trust.” For most of us, these phrases are just diplomatic talk for “What were you thinking?” and “No, and Hell no!”
The modern workplace brims with activity as people dart from meeting to meeting. Sometimes our communication is too brief. At times our messages are not well thought out. Even when the communication is crystal clear, the message can get lost in a wave of workload. But because our organizations tend to rely on best practices, people have a common frame-of-reference when there are misunderstandings. Best practices are a common denominator that allow us to understand and predict behavior, and serve as “true north” as we navigate the complexity of modern organizational life.
As organizations expand internationally and multi-cultural communications between employees, vendors, suppliers, and customers become more frequent, we are finding that the common denominator of best practices begins to unravel. And once we can no longer fall back on best practices, our inner compass can go haywire.
Promoting women’s leadership in global organizations is really an economic and sustainability issue rather than a diversity issue. Companies must focus on successful outcomes and bottom lines. In this case, the bottom line is earning a profit, creating shareholder value and focusing on economic sustainability. CEO’s can’t afford to continue to conduct business as usual. Globalization has shifted into warp speed leading to limited resources, increasing costs and rising awareness of political and economic instability in certain areas of the world. And, corporate leaders must find innovative and creative ways to meet these challenges head-on.
Having grown up in the 50’s, the female leadership style that I absorbed through osmosis was pretty dated. In fact, I am working hard to think of a time when “leadership” and “female” were together in one sentence. Accepting assignments, following directions, obedience, and harnessing personal thinking were more the order for women. Ironing, baking, dinner on the table, floor waxed while sewing family clothes filled the hours of every day. These activities indicated a women’s value.
Culture cannot flourish if individuals do not sustain it. Whether it’s a beautiful or horrific culture, it does not exist without one individual after another choosing to support it. In other words, if one person after another shifts away from a set of practices and beliefs that are the core of any culture, that culture eventually ceases to exist. This doesn’t mean there is no society or company, but that surely the culture has vanished.
Honesty takes courage, consistency, and confidence. Great leaders don’t need to be perfect, but they need to possess a self-assuredness and fearlessness at all times that enable them to act truthfully, acknowledge their shortcomings, and admit their mistakes. Only then can they garner the respect of their team members and, by way of example, teach them to conduct themselves with the same level of integrity. Without a steady moral compass and a strong ethical backbone, it’s impossible to inspire, motivate, and encourage best practices in others. What I like to call “WOW leaders” do what’s right, not what they can get away with.