What is accepted is no longer valid, what is valid is not yet accepted. Jamshid Gharajedaghi
For the past fifteen years I have worked in different HR roles in Europe, South America and China – I have seen many companies thrive and fall; macroeconomic factors often not being the main cause, but quality and attributes of true global leadership.
Globalization accelerates like a whirlwind around us – as we keep looking ahead at our business landscape to become more global each day, one thing is certain: an ever increasing number of global leaders is required who will be able to successfully lead organizations in what is becoming a more interconnected world. Today’s greatest business opportunities also come with huge challenges – leaders need to build bridges, connect worldwide resources and talents while constantly find new ways to create values to their organizations.
In my work with multinational corporations, I had many managers emphasizing that building partnerships is one of the most important competencies for future global leaders. Partnerships can be both one-to-one and one-to-many, using horizontal leadership such as peer coaching to create high performance project teams helping each other.
Most organizations recognize the need of this type of leadership; development has been a topic of interest for many years, as companies have worked on ways to develop more leaders for the desired results to the organization.
In this paper I would like to explore coaching tools to support Learning Professionals in establishing a coaching culture in their global organizations and enhance true global leadership skills.
2. What differentiates a truly global leader?
If our desired outcome is to work more effectively and collaborate more efficiently with colleagues from different cultures, we must consider different views and perspectives. The speed with which we are able to adapt to foreign behaviors and unfamiliar environments will be the decisive dimension of future business deals and the foundation for functioning intercultural relationships.
In order to work more effectively and collaborate more efficiently with colleagues from different cultures, organizations have to train their employees to consider different views and perspectives, cultivate adaptability, and enhance tolerance and open-mindedness that leads to non-judgmental actions and a true appreciation of diversity as an opportunity to learn.
In their issue “Leadership in a Changed World”, the Harvard Business Review editors observe that,
for all the talk about global organizations and executives, there’s no definite answer to the question of what, exactly, we mean by global.
There is some consensus however. First, the five top executives interviewed all agree that
the shift from a local to a global marketplace is irreversible and gaining momentum.
Second, they all insist on what Fred Hassan (Chairman and CEO, Schering-Plough) calls a “global attitude”:
an attitude which involves a real passion and curiosity about the world, a willingness to accept good ideas no matter where they come from, and collaboration around geographies.
Katherine Holt and Kyoko Seti have defined the following paradoxes which global leaders are facing:
- Strategic and operational—Global leaders should operate from a long-term perspective when pursuing strategic opportunities and must ensure that all the day-to-day operations are planned and managed.
- Taking charge and empowering—Global leaders need to exercise control over groups of people and engage and empower employees to execute what needs to be done.
- Results and relationships—Global leaders must focus on achieving organizational goals and bottom-line results, and should build relationships with myriad stakeholders to create alignment and foster collaboration.
- Listening and expressing—Global leaders should ask questions and listen to a variety of perspectives, but also must clearly express their own point of view.
- Global and local—Global leaders need to operate with a global, cosmopolitan mindset and be sensitive to local markets.
- Common group and uniqueness—Global leaders should pay close attention to common group characteristics and respect cultural differences, but also must appreciate the unique qualities of each individual.
- Open mind and decisiveness—Global leaders have to be open to others’ ideas with a nonjudgmental attitude, but must analyze data and make decisions, often without consulting others.
- Consistency and versatility—Global leaders must provide clear and consistent direction to others, but also adapt to particular conditions, situations, or people.
- Humility and confidence—Global leaders need to be humble about their own accomplishments, limitations, and mistakes, but also should convey self-confidence that attracts others to trust their leadership.
- Doing and being—Global leaders should consider what they do and make things happen. At the same time, they must be mindful of their energetic presence.
Finally, I would like to add from my own experiences – remember to be curious about other cultures and enjoy the challenges of communicating in a competitive, fast-paced global business environment!
The more we can appreciate and see difference as a differentiator, the more we can accomplish.