Do you have the Global Mindset Necessary to Lead your Team?
New Book Giveaway!!
Winners have been notified!!
20 free copies of Destination Facilitation: A Travel Guide to Training Around the World.
Leave a comment on this guest post by Donna Steffey to become eligible to win one of TWENTY complimentary copies of Destination Facilitation: A Travel Guide to Training Around the World. (Deadline: 12/17/2017)
*Eligibility limited to the continental U.S.
Thirty-five million people work in more than 300 multinational organizations globally. There is a good chance that, if you work for a worldwide enterprise, you lead people from different countries and backgrounds. Today’s workforce is more complicated, vibrant, and culturally diverse than ever.
As leaders, we need to ask if we have the global mindset to lead our teams through the complex maze of conflicts that occur between people of different traditions and ethnicities?
Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Management defines global mindset as a, “Set of attributes that help people work better with individuals and organizations unlike themselves and to not be paralyzed by the differences.”
While writing Destination Facilitation, a book with authors from 15 countries, you can imagine how my leadership skills were challenged. David Livermore, president of the Cultural Intelligence center in Michigan, provides a model for utilizing global mindset. His model suggests a set of competencies to be developed, evaluated, and taught to others. Those competencies include:
- Desire and resilience for working cross-culturally.
- Understanding and knowledge of other cultures.
- Designing strategies for managing expected and unexpected situations we might face with people from different backgrounds.
- Choosing the correct verbal and non-verbal actions when needed in unfamiliar circumstances.
As leaders, we must be role models demonstrating global mindset competencies daily. However, it is also our responsibility to influence the growth of a global mindset within our organizations.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Propose that “demonstrating a global mindset” become part of organizational values.
- Offer coaching and training for diverse teams to learn about different cultures and how to discuss culturally related issues.
- Review current marketing and training materials for cultural sensitivity and diversity.
Celebrate diversity and reward culturally intelligent behavior throughout your international organization.
Donna Steffey, MBA, CPLP, president of Vital Signs Consulting, is an international trainer, author, facilitator of the ATD Master Trainer™ Program, and adjunct faculty at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. During her career, Donna has designed and delivered training programs in 25 countries.
She worked with 15 other training experts to write Destination Facilitation: A Travel Guide to Training Around the World, detailing techniques for needs assessments, design processes, facilitation, and classroom management in whatever country or region you’re visiting.
I work in a NGO with significant global partners on every continent. We have staff who are language and culture competent and yet our desire is to be more inclusive with our nationals partners. Organizational ethos and security often limit effective collaboration. How can thinking more globally from an operational perspective be accomplished? What needs to change from the NGO’s perspective to allow greater “trust” in national partners handling sensitive information in “responsible” ways? We are committed to working with our partners but how and at what level continues to pose challenges.
I commend you Steve, working for an NGO gives you great access to a vast culture pool. I wrote the Africa Chapter of the book with a focus on Nigeria where I live. My first advice is to always remember that deep down, regardless of culture we all want the same thing, to be heard and respected. So genuine interest in people, empathy and respect will always go a long way.
That said, from an operational perspective, we tend to forget that English isn’t most peoples first language. So while being fluent, often times our little idiosyncrasies show up and affect how people interpret our gestures and indeed how we interpret others.
In my opinion, the focus on security is often an overkill, I know of teams from international NGO’s that have escorts and private security detail on every trip, we are not at war and this really affects perceptions. When was the last time you paid a visit to a local colleague’s home for dinner, or that traditional wedding, birthday party etc? You would be surprised how these simple acts break down barriers and eventually give you access to those deeper conversations that lead to much better collaboration.
I would like to add in the need to understand the different regulatory expectations. Going in without understanding of this can entirely ruin your global colleagues day!
Thanks for the reminder on the importance of global thinking! This is certainly a high-level leadership concept.
Wow…. I would like to get a copy of the book
I work in a local government in the metro DC area, and I see the need here for these competencies – our workforce is incredibly diverse culturally. We may not see the regulatory issues, but we see all the rest, and coaching and sensitive facilitation is critical.
Surely culture differences is the beginning, language barriers become an issue, perhaps this is first, yet we are all similar as human beings.
Sounds like an intriguing read.
Nice, Donna. Good framework.
I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to run my Lost Dutchman team building exercise and use my Square Wheels metaphor tools globally – 39 countries to my count. One thing that is most interesting is the willingness of people to respond if the nature of the session allows for it. There can be a great buzz among 1500 people in a room talking about the Square Wheels that they encounter in their organization and an even more enthusiastic response when they start talking about the Round Wheel ideas that they have for improvement.
Facilitating engagement and innovation are really easy and we’ve been trying to work with Disruptive Engagement at the supervisor level for many years, to bypass all the roadblocks from HR and senior managers and go right to the audience that is most in need of better facilitation skills and the motivation that they generate. In my view, there are so many more commonalities across organizations and cultures than differences and the basics underlying human motivation are quite similar.
The Square Wheels Project is one of our attempts to do this, as is Spring Forward Monday. The reality is that “Nobody ever washes a rental car” and we do so little at the worker / manager interface to get people actively involved in making the improvements that they already know they want to implement.
Rock and Roll! Involve and Engage.
Very enlightening, new leaders need your concepts and innovation
The fire service is not considered global in the same manner as most global organizations. However, we do struggle with diversity just the same. As our communities continue to become more diverse it is important that the fire service understand the differences so that we can still meet customer expectations. Services provided by fire departments are changing just as rapidly as those provided by other organizations. Those we service have different expectations as well. It is imparative that we understand these expectations and have a plan on how to accomplish providing them. One method to assist in building trust in the community is to recruit firefighters from the community. The trust and bonds built in the fire station between firefighters should help in building trust in the community when they see firefighters that share their culture.
I agree culturally sensitive communication is so important for the communities firefighters serve. It could mean the difference between life and death.
I would love a copy of the book as I work on International business and the approach culturally is necessary – I also love the quote re: diversity.
The 2nd competency is extremely important. Understanding, or at the very least, having a base level knowledge of family structure, recreation and work principles of other cultures can be vital in relationship building within culturally diverse teams.
Knowledge of other cultures is very important. Peopleneed that desire and drive to work with people from different cultures.
It is a small world after all! As we hurtle toward global teams and diverse workforces, these concepts will be invaluable. Thanks.
Excellent post. As a young leader from Nigeria, currently based in Tennessee State, USA, I have taken up international roles in different organizations, and my experience is that among youth-led organizations, individuals seems to respect their culture and belief-system greatly.
Let me cite an example of what happened yesterday in a team meeting. I called one of my colleagues by his last name, and another team member chatted me privately to tell me that it was inappropriate to call someone by their last name. I then sent a private message to the one I called by his last name telling him that I felt he was not comfortable with the name. He surprisingly told me it didn’t mean anything to him. I could call him either his first or last name.
So, it really helps when you seek to understand what is culturally acceptable and what is not among your team members.
You are so right Taiwo, I live and work in Nigeria and I am also one of the book’s authors. I had a similar experience recently, I was facilitating a course with a diverse class when someone greeted the class by saying “How was your night?”, to which a brit promptly responded, “it is none of your business!”.
But this saying, “how was your night” is a popular but wrong English translation of “I hope you had a good night” a popular, respectful greeting in most Nigerian languages.
Nigeria has over 500 languages and 300+ ethnic groups. So patience is always best, never jump to conclusions even when you feel you have fully imbibed the culture and habits.
Hello Mr Brown.
Oh you just made me remember one of those funny greetings in Nigeria.
It is not uncommon to hear “how was your night?” among co-workers when they resume at their duty posts in the morning or even among neighbours. Anyone not familiar with the intention of the one asking that question may find the greeting offensive.
A global mind set is important especially for those who love international travels.
I hope I’m lucky to win your book.
So excited to learn how to develop the global mindset!
Seems like the foundation is really having a deep understanding of other cultures and norms.
Interesting thought, I assumed leadership principles were universal
I work in the federal government for an office that exists to equip decision makers in coastal areas with the skills and information they need to keep their community safe, and the economy and natural resources healthy and working. A key to this is gaining an understanding of the needs of the communities we serve. We continue to work to incorporate ways to ensure that our services and products are inclusive and account for diverse populations. Thank you for this framework!
I’d like to have one of the free books!
Terrific concept for a book – applicable to many of us as our worlds become more multicultural.
I am a Director of Learning & Development and my goal someday is to be a global trainer. This book hit the mark for me. I know I may be past the 20 people limit, but I would really like to receive a copy of the book, if at all possible. Thank you for your consideration, and thanks for sharing this!
Hi Jill. I’m picking winners randomly. You’re in the running!
Great reminder. The verbal commitment to cultural diversity is common in large companies. However living it daily is clearly a challenge. It is critical to keep it at the forefront of our minds and more importantly actions. The benefits far outweigh any cost. Without true diverse thinking and overall teams, companies will be left behind wondering what happened.
Thankfully, my sister and I were brought up by two very individualistic and independent, yet ethical, collaborative and open-minded parents. Both leaders and trainers of other people. They seemed to base their treatment of others on the premise that every person on earth came from a diverse background and culture. That, inherently, every person possessed a “diverse global mindset” – based on views and perspectives, skills and abilities, and, strengths and weaknesses unique to THEM.
Also, my parents, and many of my ancestors, recognized that THEY were a part of that diverse global mindset, too. That their FAMILY TREES were full of genes that flowed around the globe, from most countries in Europe, also China. Possibly even parts of Africa.
A “global mindset” begins from within. We all have those traits, really. We just need a little help in drawing them, and passing them on. So that everyone can benefit!
When traveling abroad and meeting / talking with people in my profession and related fields, I am always struck by how much we can learn from each other. For anyone who has never traveled overseas, it is sometimes difficult to get past our narrow vision of how we do things in our country. We have much we can share and much we can learn.
Attributes of an effective global leader include:
—student of the heart
While I work in a healthcare system that is regional rather than international, there is international diversity in our patient population, team members and physicians and other practitioners. Cultural diversity starts at the lowest rung of the ladder and works it way to the top. I would love to read the authors perspective.
What is diversity? What is culture? These are fascinating topics, which never fail to invoke good discussions or fuel conflict. As leaders, we must continuously “stoke the fire” of desire to work cross-culturally and not limit our efforts to one specific focus of “culture” (e.g. elements of “culture” that can be seen). Many discussions I come across focus primarily on ethnic, geographic, language, and other more easily identifiable differences between one’s culture, traditions, and background. The truth is, you will never know what you don’t make an effort to look for or explore. So many factors play into what makes a diverse and culturally rich workforce come together. Those factors include elements within your workforce members as well. I may have been born somewhere or look a certain way or practice a certain religion, but that does not mean it is safe to assume I have adopted or live by the standard traditions expected of my known experience. The internalization is just as important as the outwardly obvious. Without organizational values to support all elements of diversity, any organization will continue to struggle with these topics.
The entire world is one mouse click away.
and there lies the problem and at the same time, opportunity. We have such instant access to people we forget or sometimes refuse to take the time to know Alex, Peter, Chan or Melisa. A few more mouse clicks and we can get a deeper sense of their likes, perspectives and fears that will give us the emotional intelligence that is sorely lacking in today’s faster than life paced world.
YOU BETTER BELIEVE I DO BUCKO…
Now be sure you take Dale out somwhere nice this evening for her birthday. Thay woman dederved a trophy, or.at thr least some good therapy after living with ‘The Freak’ so long!
I am having dinner over thr Holidays with Mr John Rogers, President & CEO of the Dale Carnegie institute. “Dan I am bursting at the seems my friend.”
BTW , “you really CAN bet your sweet bippy I got a Global mindset brother”.
Top of duh mornin Dan;
You know my stlye of leadership. To achieve a state of well rounded leadership in regard to an effective ‘Global Mindset’ the leader must purposfully amp up his awareness of listening skills, patience, tolerance, and an open mind new & sometimes vastly different approaches to areas such as Team Building, learning your peoples individual skills and talents. And maybe most importantly TOLERANCE.
Learning, teaching, and leading must be adapted and appeal to each individual in order to tailor your style that produces results, while achieveing sucsess for the good of the organization, thiers teams & teamates, customers, and themselves.
“Been a bit since I’ve read a good book Dan”!
Please enter me in the drawing. This is a subject that interests me greatly because I have done training in the US, Europe and Asia. Plus, it was written by a fellow LFGSM alum!
Beth, the authors of Latin America and Brazil also became adjunct faculty of LFGSM this year. You neeeeed this book!
There is application here for anyone in business, public or private, whether local or global. The strategic bonus to thinking globally is to think about diversity an a larger scale. Some businesses and their commensurate segments of the corporate/service environment can stretch around the world or across the county they are located. Diversity, as you quote Forbes, is quite apropos here. Diversity is precisely we define it-culture, language, service location, communities, employees, and so on. Pick a view and focus on its development. In order to be successful at any endeavor, you have to have not only an appreciation, but an understanding of those you choose to serve or wish to serve; including those that are on your team. These two items, which must be a conscious choice in any business model, have to be present or success will not be forthcoming. Thank you for the excellent post and food for thought.
;I like the fact you emphsised ‘Divercity’. “Remember it when your Team Building and then sit back and enjoy a healthy/hearty debate that often leads to antastitoudeas & solutions.
that shoild be, (fantastic ideas and…)
” D U H” !
Thank you Steve for this information. I worked at a very large multicultural organization and from my experience language skills seemed to be the biggest obstacle to overcome. I would love to receive one of your books.
Thanks so much for the reference and comments. I have found that working with the 4 Tools for Cultural Proficiency provides an assets-based approach to valuing cross-cultural communication. Cultural Proficiency guides individuals to examine their deeply held beliefs, values, assumptions about other cultural groups. It guides organizational leaders to examine policies and practices and reveal the alignment of behaviors with the organization’s vision and mission.
Working cross culturally is not easy, but becoming more intriguing and necessary in our complex world. It is fascinating to consider another culture’s norms and mores , and learn to communicate and lead effectively in that cultural setting. A very worthwhile challenge.
Great post, with my multicultural German/Indonesian background and International Business degrees from England and France, I couldn’t agree more! Thanks a lot for sharing and I appreciate your giveaway contest very much.
Designing leadership to function as the solution for bringing cultures together and having each understand the other is powerful. That culture will result in failure until each side is listening and understanding that the other side has correctly understood the others’ point of view. That is why your point that desire and resilience in working cross-culturally is so important. Thank you for bringing a new model for leadership in the 21st century global culture.
connecting with others and sharing common goals is vital for relationships for business and life. would be great to get a book.