Global Leadership Values for This Era

In the 1999 blockbuster movie hit The Matrix, a world beyond anyone’s imagination emerges. A computer hacker Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) aka Neo escapes his daily grind in hopes of adventure. However, what Neo discovers is something that transforms his life.

He discovers that his whole world has been created by a cyber-intelligence. Neo refuses to accept it. His mentor Morpheus (Lawrence Fishborne) asks Neo a pointed question: “What is real?”  Likewise, millions of Americans hope that the economic turmoil isn’t real and the threats of global competition are bad dreams. 

American children sing “We are the world,” but the world does not listen. Children in Iran burn American flags. Children in Iraq throw stones at American soldiers. Children in China write hateful essays about the “evil” American ways. American politicians attempt to spin how third world countries embrace Western ways while a terrorist alert is heightened to acknowledge another international threat.

Global trends are impacting the political, social, economic, and technological outlooks of most counties. Sweeping changes make global competencies more critical. Management strategists view these cultural shifts like waves in an ocean. Some of these emerging trends include (a) shift in consciousness, (b) disenchantment with Scientism, (c) inner sources of authority and power, (d) respiritualization of society (e) decline of materialism (f) political and economic democratization, and (g) beyond nationality. These trends will forever change international relationships if they continue.

Additionally, the ever-changing demographics of the world are reshaping a new global perspective. According to one estimate, by 2025, the world population will be at 7.9 billion people. Between 1993 and 2025, around 95% of global population growth will come from developing countries. Clearly, today’s executives now understand that globalization is more than a big word for doing domestic work internationally. Global miscues can be fatal.

Currently, the miscommunication in understanding the Mideast culture has created major headaches for the Western world. Some assume that the Arab people only respond to military force. Therefore, diplomatic efforts get lost in the military battles. Cross-cultural mishaps can occur in the absence of communications. For example, many view the handling of the Israel-Palestinian conflict as an example of the lack of knowledge of culture. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell explained that extremist groups like Hamas must play a vital role in the solution to this crisis.  Others disagree. Therefore, globalization forces organizational strategists to rethink their approach.

In order to compete in the future, special competencies are needed for global competition. In fact, there is something intriguing about global leadership. Global experts Stewart Black, Allen Morrison, and Hal Gregersen argue that every global leader has a set of global characteristics regardless of his or her country or industry. The four key areas include inquisitiveness, perspective, character, and savvy. Business savvy becomes the word of the day because one must be able to think globally and adjust activities on the local level as well as satisfying customers at all levels. For the most part, understanding cultures is viewed as a primary responsibility of government organizations associated with national defense or diplomatic functions.  In fact, understanding trends requires a unique skill mix.

Finally, effective organizations that are positioning themselves strategically realize that globalization is not a dream, but a link to their distant future. Yet, dealing with cross cultural issues is not a simple task. Employees and managers need to develop these global competencies. Doing work globally requires two dimensions of complexity: business and cultural complexity.

 What can be done to incorporate global leadership values in today’s organizations?

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

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20 thoughts on “Global Leadership Values for This Era

  1. Global leadership itself means dealing and communicating with people of diverse backgrounds. By gaining knowledge about cultures and professional etiquette of different countries, managers will increase their understanding of how to deal with cross cultural issues and avoid potential problems and conflicts. Managers have to be very careful when dealing with a cultural issue; that is when it transforms from strictly business to personal. There were cases when managers could not identify a potential problem with cross cultural teams. Great example of that is merging of Boeing and Rockwell International Corporation: managers did not get alone with each other that dramatically decreased company’s productivity. Communication is crucial for success of an organization and finding a way to communicate will benefit the organization in both, short and long term.

    George, Jennifer & Jones, Gareth. (2008). Contemporary Management (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

  2. Companies that decide to expand and transfer their competencies and capabilities across border lines build a competitive advantage. Companies need to know when to disperse activities across many locations or stay local to a few locations. There are several ways in which a company may decide to maintain a presence in another country; think-local, act-local, think global, act global, think global, act local. Think local, act local approaches tailor the company’s competitive approach and product offering to fit specific market conditions and buyer preferences in each host country. Think global, act local offer the same products worldwide, with only very minor deviations from one country to another when local market conditions dictate. Thinking global, act local develops the capability to customize product offerings and sell different product versions in different countries.

    Gamble, J. E., Strickland III, A. J., & Thompson, A. A. (2007). Crafting and Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage: Concepts and Cases. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

  3. Increasingly, businesses must rely on employees in order to establish their status as a global leader. By implementing effective human resource planning, companies can forecast future human resource needs that will ensure success in diverse markets. No longer can viable companies tolerate recruitment and selction measures that don’t coincide with their overall strategy. Thus, the future success of any organization will be greatly impacted by their competency in hiring people that reflect their defined values.
    Secondly, outsourcing must also be viewed from a value centered standpoint. Failure to hold contracted companies accountable can prove costly and undermine the capacity of a global organization to lead. Wal-Mart, Nike and other retailers are currently dealing with fallout from their foreign manufacturers who failed to observe reasonable labor laws. The ability for any global corporation to lead will be largely defined by the people they hire and the character of the companies that they become entangled with.

    Reference:
    Jones, G & George J. (2008). Contemporary Management (6th Edition).
    New York, NY: McGrawhill/Irwin.

  4. According to Zeus and Skiffington, excellent global leaders have strong personal skills that generates superior corporate performance in terms of four criteria: 1) profitability and productivity; 2) continuity and efficiency; 3) commitment and morale; and 4) adaptability and innovation. They argue that behavioral based coaching is the only mechanism that can produce a sustainable outcome that encompasses all four of these criteria. But this means nothing if firms aren’t willing to fund/start Global Leadership Programs. Firms must truly be dedicated to training management as soon as or before they are hired.

    Or, they can be trained even sooner than that! Organizations like Global Institute For Leadership & Civic Development are specifically created to help educate and train future leaders and make them better prepared global citizens. Mainly through studying abroad. Management could be the same way: send new hires to other locations.

    Resources: Zeuss and Skiffington (1994). Behavioral Coaching. NY, NY: McGraw-Hill

  5. Global leadership should be infused in corporate culture by having management live and work in an alternate country. What better way to understand the culture of your customer and/or employees? Cultural ignorance is not an excuse with the diversity we live in today. Our class (MBA 575) alone represents the diverse backgrounds in our global society and how we can learn from each other. Global leadership should be taught with real life situations and if a company wants to be a leader, they must be absorbed in those diverse cultures. Perhaps a scenario like the “foreign exchange program” in high school would be representative of how are corporate leaders should view alternative cultures.

  6. In today’s world, companies that achieve global dominance are far superior and have a better chance in outlasting the competition. However, crossing global boundaries is challenging and can often times be disruptive to a company if not structured properly. By nature, people are ethnocentric and find it difficult to embrace diversity which causes a rift among the different cultures. Even in big business, managers and business leaders are consumed with criticism and fail to discover the similarities that exist in other regions across the globe which could potentially boost their profit margin. Successful managers uncover the fact that global trends have a tendency to impact all aspects of business. The economy has a profound impact on culture and cultural changes affect business practices as well. The management of global industry leaders recognizes the economic power of people in developing third world countries. Developed countries are becoming saturated and management seeks ways to gain market share. These developing countries are becoming more profound and times are evolving to a point where companies cannot afford to ignore their buying power and must capitalize. Businesses that identify this group will benefit and discover the true value of building international relations in order to successfully grow their business. There is a sensitivity that businesses must embrace in order to effectively deal with people across diverse cultures. The companies that achieve this medium are dutifully rewarded.

  7. The increase of global competencies of leaders in an organization can be done through education of a societies culture. Charlie Rose interviewed Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini, during that interview Otellini stated Intel had been in China for 25 yrs but only recently have seen it to be fruitful. One reason behind that was because of the increased awareness the organization had of China’s family ambition and culture. What he meant by that was the desire the Chinese have for their off spring to be well educated and successful and because of this the PC market in China has exploded along with Intel’s human, financial, resource, and political capital.

  8. Once again, on a smaller organizational scale, increasing organizational diversity is key in understanding and operating globally. Furthermore, from a larger global leadership point of view, a leader must be diverse them self. Just like presidents, prime ministers, and high government official positions, these leaders are well educated, well travelled, open-minded and constantly updated with changes on a global scale. They also surround themselves with advisors from different backgrounds and expertise.

    For example, Egyptian-American Nobel Prize winner Ahmed Zewail, Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Physics at Caltech, has been named by President Obama to the United States President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).
    In his June 4, 2009 speech at Cairo University, US President Barack Obama announced a new Science Envoy program as part of a “new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.” In January, 2010 Ahmed Zewail, Elias Zerhouni, and Bruce Alberts became the first US science envoys to Islam, visiting Muslim-majority countries from North Africa to Southeast Asia.

    Ahmed Zewail was asked by many to run for presidency in Egypt but he declined. I consider him one of most unique leaders and public figures of our time. He has the qualities I mentioned above: well educated, well travelled, open-mined and constantly updated with changes on a global scale by his advisors too.

    Reference:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmed_Zewail

    http://today.caltech.edu/today/story-display?story_id=35762

  9. Organizations that that has potential international growth need to have clear vision about the countries that they want to do business in. When a company goes to deferent region it will face some barriers. Some of those are business barriers like (Invoicing and payment, credit terms, customer preferences and sometimes security). Some other barriers are the cultural such as (language, Body language, etiquette, establishing trust, social habits, and religious beliefs).
    Cultural awareness training is very important to the staff of the global organization to avoid a lot of issues that can be created by those barriers. It gives the staff the ability to deal sensitively and effectively with clients, customers and colleagues from other cultures for business to become more competitive and more profitable.
    Diversity is very beneficial in the organization. It brings substantial potential benefits like better decision making, creativity, and innovation and that leads to enhance product development it provides organizations the ability to compete in global market.

    References:
    http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/cultural-services/articles/cross-cultural-barriers.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diversity_ (business)

  10. Cultural barriers are strong and normally hard to brake, religious much more. People need to be really open minded to accept every kind of religion without judgment. That’s happens in places where people are highly educated and carefree about receive other cultures. Even countries made by immigrants as the new world countries (three americas countries) that suppose to be more respectful about that questions, racisms happens. With the times goes by, politics and economic decisions made these question even more complicated between nations relationship.
    Companies today make its ethics rules be followed everywhere. In our project about Microsoft, we testify that Microsoft has every kind of people (Indians, muslins, Americans, judes) at their offices working in peace. Some big construction companies as Odebrecht has activities everywhere from Singapore to Washington, passing trough Bagdad, China and South Africa, making profits without social problems differently of ExxonMobil that has big social problems in places lake Nigeria or The Philippines.
    So, adaption is the word. It is possible adapt standard procedures as well as customize operations converting types of ethics conduct. We need to remember all the time that we are talking about people. If that’s possible for companies adapt themselves making people work together respecting each other to reach their objectives. Why we, in our community or company, cannot do that? The government is us, here or in any democratic country, the government is build with our decisions. So, yes. We can change and organize ourselves to receive other cultures and ways of think with the objective to raise our knowledge and capacity of learning.

  11. Organizations first need to understand what their global customers/market believes is valuable and secondly how to understand on a global level how the organization can contribute to the end result or goal of the customer.

    P. Kolesar, G. Ryzin & W. Cutler wrote an article called Creating Customer Value Through Industrialized Intimacy for Augusta State University. In the article they outline 7 key principles (link below), which are building blocks to provide higher value services, and will help expand growth opportunities in an efficient manner. Most of these key principles can be implemented by organizations to create value on a global level. The 7 key principles are 1) Knox your customer 2) Strive for once-and-done servicing 3) Promote value-enhancing self-servicing 4) Provide one-stop shopping 5) Let customers design the product 6) Engineer competency into service delivery 7) Build long-term customer relationships.

    Adapting to the global market is attainable by understanding the culture, environment, suppliers, distributors, competitors, customers, goals and end results. Together these concepts will help organizations understand their global market and direct them on how best to show the value of their organization/product.

    http://www.aug.edu/~sbajmg/quan6610/Waiting%20Lines/kolesar%20s-b%203q98%20cust%20value%2098304.pdf

  12. IIn order to incorporate global leadership values in today’s workplaces, the 4 E’s that make up the framework of leadership need to be revisited. These 4 E’s are Envision, Enable, Empower and Energize. First organizations need to envision the ultimate goals of the organization and develop a plan to achieve these goals. This starts by the organization having a clear vision of the external world. Next, the organization should choose the tools that would enable the organization to achieve their goals (i.e. allowing individuals that have different cultural backgrounds to have days off on their holidays which would instill a sense of respect for the organization). The third step is to empower the employees. This is shown through the previous example of allowing individuals to have days off on their cultural holiday. They will feel a sense of gratitude and loyalty to the company and will be empowered by this. Finally the company should energize the employees as well (i.e. previous examples). If the company would have a friendly discussion with its employees that represent various cultures, then the organization could find common ground with them and create a value system that is fair for all.

    http://www.leader-values.com/Content/detail.asp?ContentDetailID=783

  13. In a report released by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, it states “…globalization describes a process of increasing interdependence or the building of networks between individuals, firms, countries or regions”. For a manager to perform globally, they must think globally. Building relationships and trust is very important. A lot of colleges have started requiring international business classes to instruct on how to handle these relationships. Managers must too take the steps to learn how to develop the level of trust and respect, especially American, companies need to do international business. Managers can take these classes, sign up for seminars, or speak with an international company on their dealings with other countries.

    Source: http://www.unescap.org/61/English/E1335e.pdf

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