Do you have the Global Mindset Necessary to Lead your Team?

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20 free copies of Destination Facilitation: A Travel Guide to Training Around the World.

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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.