Cultural Intelligence: How Leaders Can Navigate the Racial Divide in America

Racial Divide-2017

In June of 1995, the Jury in the OJ Simpson trial announced a verdict of not guilty. The aftermath of dismal reactions highlighted significant conflicts and diverging views in America’s workplaces. In fact, white and black people had a different perspective on the OJ Simpson Trial and life in general. Eighty-three percent of whites stated that Simpson was “definitely” or “probably” guilty while only fifty-seven percent of blacks agreed with this assessment. Rather than carefully assessing one’s own viewpoint when evaluating a different culture, most individuals make assumptions about other cultures definitely.

Sadly, we still have not learned this lesson in the United States. The last several days have been very hectic as I try to answer students’ questions and address my own concerns about a recent Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary gaff that has provided another headwind for others sharing the Good News. Let me say that we have all done foolish things and have suffered the consequences. Most of us have had to debase the impacts of this photo on our popular culture to our students and others.

In the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth (TX), five seminary professors, including the dean of the School of Preaching, put on gangster-style clothing (perhaps dressing like urban rappers), flashing their gold chains and one holding a handgun. Written above the photo were the words “Notorious S.O.P,” which was a reference to the seminary’s School of Preaching and to the black rapper, Notorious B.I.G.

the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary-photo

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Leading Change in a Global Environment


Global affairs are often unstable. This month, Japanese stock market falters again, capping its worst single-week performance since the global financial crisis in 2008. Japan is not alone in its underperforming markets. Yet, globalization has connected countries through various elements. Financial markets are not an exception. This article explores issues of change in a global environment and discusses the merits of change agents in today’s organizations. Continue reading

The Great Global Talent Search: Retooling for Greater Employability

sustainability-boy-worldI watch and listen. Industry leader Yasir Abulrahman was sharing with my undergraduate class an overview of cross-cultural interests as they related to operating a business in the Middle East. Yasir, who has Middle Eastern roots himself, explained how some U.S. managers went abroad on work assignments without understanding cultural sensitivity.

Sadly, these managers underestimated the problems associated with continental differences.  Yet, most companies cannot afford to make these international debacles.  Can you? This article examines how individuals can position themselves with greater employability by acquiring the necessary global competencies for the future. Continue reading

The Great Global Talent Search


Globalization is a reality that’s not going away. Having the right management strategy can elevate a country’s financial well-being. India and China flex their mighty muscle due to the dominance of their outsourcing efforts. Thus, globalization provides a disruptive change to established paradigms. The National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends Report has been monitoring global trends across two decades.

In the Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds report, the study outlines the global landscape ahead for millions of unsuspecting international participants. For example, individual employment will accelerate due to poverty reduction, growth of the global middle class, greater educational attainment, widespread use of new communications and manufacturing technologies, and health-care advances.

Yet, power will shift to networks and alliances in a multipolar world. The U.S., European, and Japanese share of global income is projected to fall from 56% today to well under 50% by 2030. Asia will have surpassed North America and Europe in global power; China will probably have the largest economy.

Countries coming into prominent include India, Brazil, Columbia, Indonesia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Turkey. Leadership consultants Ernest Gundling, Karen Cvitkovich, and Terry Hogan understand the challenges faced by organizations attempting to go global:  “…the years ahead will most probably bring discontinuous events that cannot be accurately predicted based strictly upon extrapolations from the present, as with unanticipated and transformative events of recent years such as armed conflicts, terrorism, financial crises, piracy, epidemics, and environmental disasters precipitated by either natural or human causes.”

Going global is not an easy process. Countries attempt to invest more into their education system in order to better manage their own talent management system. Countries seek to find strategic gaps. For example, foreign countries now hold more than $12 trillion in U.S. assets, including stocks, bonds, real estate, and more financial elements. In fact, Japan and China are very motivated to support the American dollar so that Americans will continue to buy their goods, thus keeping their citizens working. However, some executives feel that going global is the same as domestic business. It isn’t.

In the 2012 Quarterly McKinley report, author Pankaj Ghemawat pointed out the weaknesses of global competency for business. According to a research study of senior executives, 76% believe their organizations needed to develop global leadership capabilities; yet, only 7% of them thought they were currently being effective. At a low scale, companies attempt to search for this talent with a lens of also attracting more cheap labor.

In fact, multinational businesses search the world for the best talent to fill their vacancies; some executives hope they can find the next Steve Jobs of Apple. Therefore, professionals need to equip themselves with the necessary skills to be marketable in a global environment. American companies realize they can ensure future profitability by marketing products and services abroad.

Global competencies will better secure the future for many.  Thirty percent of U.S. companies acknowledged that they had failed to exploit their international business opportunities fully due to insufficient internationally competent staff. Peter Cappelli, author of Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs, explains that even with over 23 million people unemployed, companies argue they cannot find qualified workers. Cappelli further notes that employers are looking for specific talent.

Moreover, Marshall Goldsmith, Cathy Greenberg, Alastair Robertson, and Maya Hu-Chan, author of Global Leadership: The Next Generation, utilized a 2-year accenture study of over 200 global organizations to produce a general framework for global leadership. The five global competencies included global thinking, appreciation of diversity, technological savvy, a willingness to partner and an openness to sharing leadership. In the past, CEOs did not consider the importance of global leadership competencies. The reality of globalization has changed this mindset. In order to build these necessary competencies, the following strategies are provided:

  • Obtain global awareness (i.e., daily environmental scanning).
  • Become fluent in a foreign language.
  • Seek coaching and/or mentoring with global leaders.
  • Participate in study abroad programs or find cultural immersion opportunities.
  • Search for international job assignments.
  • Take global leadership/global management at a local university.
  • Participate in diversity training in your local community.
  • Treat individuals fairly and with respect.
  • Seek ways to work with a diverse team/organization.
  • Conduct research, writings and publications on global issues.

Uncertainties and high risks will continue to plague businesses that seek to conduct business abroad. As the article has demonstrated, executives are in a quagmire due to the lack of sufficient international experience among current employees. Management Strategist C.K. Prahalad notes, “This world is one beset with ambiguity and stress.…Managers have to deal with these often conflicting demands simultaneously.” Rather than panic, employees and the unemployed should view international turbulence as unfiltered, innovative opportunities. Therefore, individuals who are prepared can position themselves with greater employability by acquiring the necessary global competencies for the future.

© 2015 by Daryl D. Green


Guest Blogger – To Walk the Global Walk, Talk the Global Talk


The Walk  

The ‘walk’ refers to global development process that precedes communication. Leaders know how to attract followers.  It is the hope that they are able to lead effectively, especially leading those within their own organization, in their home countries.  But what happens when the boundaries expand abroad?  Does the level or type of leadership change?  Indeed it does. 

A key leadership attribute of the twenty-first century leader will be the ability to see the world and the workplaces with a global mindset[1]. There is a principle of relativity in culture; experience is something people project on the outside world as they gain it in a culturally determined form[2]

Leaders of organizations must learn to be global leaders when making the efforts to expand beyond the home country.  Research needs to be done; they should educate themselves about the area of interest and their cultural practices.  Having that knowledge can give a global leader the winning edge when developing staff in other areas of the world. 

With the lack of knowledge, come challenges.  Sometimes global leadership is not successful due to the minimal research and information acquired prior to organizational expansion.  It is wise for global leaders to be mindful of these potential barriers.

Acquiring personal literacy can give the global leader aggressive insight on key cultural behaviors[3]. The global leader should understand the culture to the point where he/she can almost walk in the shoes of a person who lives in the country abroad.  The global leader should: 

1)    Immerse oneself in the target culture

2)    Train future leaders as global citizens, and

3)    Involve everybody in the organization’s global strategy at the right time[4]

The Talk  

Culture is communication and communication is culture[5].  There are several modes of communication from which a global leader can choose and determine is most effective.  If the global leader is very familiar with the cultural practices of the partner country it may be easier for them to decide what works and what does not. 

For the global leader who is experiencing global outreach to a specific country for the first time, further research and opportunities to understand the culture may be required; additionally, learning through trial and error may become the platform from which the global leaders will acquire which communication strategies are most effective. 

The most important thing is to ensure that the message spoken is equivalent to the message received.  As mentioned previously, people of other countries can misconstrue the language of Westerners.  Global leaders must be aware of how receptive others are to active (direct) or passive (indirect) speech. 

Sometimes the direct speech Westerners often have is taken as rude and disrespectful in, for example, Asian cultures.  Global leaders must talk the same talk of the people in the country in which they plan to expand; otherwise, organizational failure is imminent. 

All of this to say, global leaders should learn effective ways to communicate with remote agencies in countries that are different from that of the home country.  When leaders are presented with organizational goals that are used to build or expand the organization, it becomes a greater challenge when achieve those goals may require remote modes of communication. 

Whether written, spoken or non-verbal, types and modes of communication are influenced by the culture in which we communicate. Global leaders must recognize the appropriate global walk or processes needed to maintain effective global leadership.  Also, they must utilize different ways to communicate to ensure that their businesses and organizational processes are running smoothly.  In order for leaders to walk the global walk, they have to also talk the global talk! 

What are some other ways organizations can be successful as they cross global boundaries?



 Dr. Janice A. Armstrong is a leadership consultant, lifestyle coach, and owner of LiHK Consulting, LLC, based in the Washington, D.C. area. She received her Doctorate in Strategic Leadership, with a focus in Leadership Coaching, from Regent University.  Her background in counseling psychology and leadership development fostered her love for leadership and lifestyle coaching. 

Dr. Armstrong provides a wealth of personal and professional development information that has been built over 18 years of training, professional, and organizational development experience. She has shared her knowledge and experiences in her book, “From the Street to the Executive Suite: Remixing Street Smarts and Life Lessons into Leadership Success.”


© 2013 LiHK Consulting, LLC. All rights reserved.

[1] Marquardt, M.J. & Berger, N.O. (2000). Global Leaders for the 21st century. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, p. 19

[2] Hall, E.T. (1959), p. 187

[3] Rosen, R., Digh, P, Singer, M., Phillips, C. () Global Literacies: Lessons on Business Leadership and National Cultures. New York: Simon & Schuster, p. 61.

[4] Zweifel, T.D. (2003). Culture Clash: Managing the Global High-Performance Team. New York: SelectBooks, p. 72-73.

[5] Hall, E.T. (1959). The Silent Language. New York: Random House, p. 186

Today’s Strategic Alliances


If you want to survive on the international scene, you had better develop a well connected supply chain.  Yet, businesses need to properly align with organizations that have the same ethical system and create value in the relationship.  This reality speaks to the nature of strategic alliances. 

With the sudden emergence of countries like China, Brazil, and India, there is a new emerging demand from consumers across the globe.  These newer countries are strategically positioning themselves to change Western civilization and America’s Super Power status.  

Antoine van Agtmael, author of The Emerging Markets Century, argues that these emerging countries are not a fad but a wave of things to come in the near future:   “Instead of being peripheral, as they have been since the first Industrial Revolution, key economies of the former Third World will soon re-emerge as the dominant economies of the future.”  

In fact, he notes that these emerging countries’ economies are growing at a rate nearly twice as fast as developed countries such as the United States and its Western allies. 

Gareth Jones and Jennifer George, authors of Contemporary Management, explain about the positives and negatives of entering global markets:  “As we have discussed, a more competitive global environment has proved to be both an opportunity and a threat for organizations and managers.” 

Businesses must build relationships that minimize their risks in global markets.   According to some estimates, these emerging markets will be nearly twice as large as the current developed economies.  Antoine van Agtmael suggests a different business shift:  “A new breed of companies will play a critical role in producing this shift; a select number of which truly deserve to be regarded as world class.” 

Strategic alliance is defined ‘as an agreement in which managers pool or share their organization’s resources and know-how with a foreign company, and how organizations share the rewards and risks of starting a new venue.’  However, these relationships must make sense over the long-term in order to sustain any meaningful value. High performing organizations cannot afford to misfire with the wrong strategic alliances.  Consequently, good organizations need to be deliberate in forging the right relationships in a global market.

 Discuss the concepts of strategic alliances in a global market.

 © 2013 by Daryl D. Green

Following the Path of Globalization

Why should I care what happens across the globe?  I have a mortgage to pay, a family to feed, and a job I hate. Who cares about globalization?  We should all be concerned about globalization.  It impacts us…and we do not even recognize it. 

Global disruptions plague most financial institutions.   For example, Europe offered a bailout package of up to (euro) 100 billion ($125 billion U.S.) to help secure the country’s banks. 

Spain became the fourth and largest European country to request financial help. Seventeen countries from the eurozone sent a statement explaining that this funding would go directly to a Spanish fund set up to recapitalize its banks.  

Nevertheless, the economic crisis in Europe worries financial experts in America because trading and commerce interlock countries together.   Therefore, America will not be able to escape any global financial crisis. 

As I teach international business, I often hear students state that they do not have any international experience. Yet, they do not understand that social media platforms like Facebook and Youtube make them global. 

In fact, Facebook continues to dominate the virtual landscape with 500-million-users. It is transforming how the world communicates.  If Facebook was a country, it would be the world’s third largest country. Therefore, Facebook represents a serious way individual citizens can be a part of this global community. 

More importantly, individuals need to understand that globalization is reshaping society and how we live as people.  Charles Hill, author of International Business, suggests that most people cannot avoid the impacts of globalization:  “As the world shifts toward a truly integrated global economy, more firms, large and small, are becoming international businesses.” 


Thomas Friedman, author of The World is Flat, further outlined the interconnectivity of economies with his concept of flattening. Friedman states that Globalization 1.0 and 2.0 were driven primarily by European and American influences. However, Globalization 3.0 was being driven by more inclusive and diverse forces. 

Friedman explains, “…the dynamic force in Globalization 3.0 – the force that gives it its unique character – is the newfound power for individuals to collaborate and compete globally.” 

Therefore, individuals do not need to wait on their countries or businesses to ‘go global.’ Individuals can build their own personal brands globally with social media platforms like Facebook.

How can academic institutions in America best serve students in understanding the ramifications of globalization?  Feel free to use your personal experiences as examples.

 © 2012 by Daryl D. Green

Global Production Collision

Racing through the parking lot at work, I carry out my ritual of counting import versus domestic cars.  Like the Olympics, I hope that the home team would win.  During my ritual, domestic cars often lose to their foreign competitors in the number of cars. However, it would be difficult to identify what an American product is because of the transformation of the world due to globalization.

In June, the Dow Jones Industrial Average sank into the red for the year after a dismal U.S. job report. Stocks globally have been on a downward spiral since the beginning of May due to worries about Europe’s debt troubles and China’s economic engine which has begun to stall.  Many people hope that companies like General Motors can jumpstart the American economy.  

Like Detroit, Knoxville would embrace the return of the manufacturing industry.  According to a recent Brookings Institute report, “Locating American Manufacturing: Trends in the Geography of Production,” manufacturing jobs in the Knoxville Metropolitan area increased 9.9% from 2010 to 2011. 

In fact, this manufacturing gain was more than 3 times the national average, ranking Knoxville 6th in the nation.  However, many globalization critics argue that weak international trade agreements destroy manufacturing jobs in developed countries like the United States.  The net results are American businesses move operations to countries with cheaper labor.  

Charles Hills, author of International Business, argues, “In the past few years, the same fears have been applied to services, which have increasingly been outsourced to nations with lower labor costs.” Most businesses attempt to stimulate growth through a variety of efforts, including technology investments, acquisitions, and major market campaigns. Companies hope that customers will purchase their products and services due to the value component. 

Robert Jacobs, Richard Chase, and Nicholas Aquilano, authors of Operations & Supply Management remark, “Companies today have found how essential great operations and supply management are to the success of the firm.” 

However, globalization has further linked the financial welfare of each country’s constituents.  In May of 2012, HP announced it would slash more than 27,000 jobs, which is 8% of its worldwide workforce by 2014 in hopes of saving billions of dollars against fierce competition.  

It is the largest restructuring campaign in HP’s 73 year old history. At the time, former HP CEO Meg Whitman stated restructuring was “absolutely critical for the long-term success of the company.”  The downsizing of HP’s workforce was the third largest in tech history.  However, other high tech companies have also been impacted.  IBM downsized 60,000 jobs and AT&T downsized 40,000 employees in the mid-90s. 

At the same time of dealing with global production, each country seeks to increase exports of goods while spearheading job creation in their own markets.

With globalization upon us, can domestic products be considered American when some components are made abroad? Please share your opinion on this topic. 

© 2012 by Daryl D. Green

Beating the Global Competition with Value Creation

I do struggle a little with my conscious.  Yes, I’ve been called a pretty hard nose professor who pushes his students.  I tell my students I have a low rating on empathy and mercy when it relates to missing my deadlines. 

However, even the meanest Scrooge would have to have compassion for over 15 million unemployed in America.  But—it becomes personal as you hear about your neighbors, co-workers, and family members who have been laid off. 

Financial institutions and other businesses hold on to their record profits for the ultimate use of their money.  Politicians call them job creators which is ironic since businesses primary motives are to make a profit, not give someone a job.

Companies chase emerging markets abroad. According to government estimates, an additional 1.2 million manufacturing jobs will disappear from America by 2018. If in the process a job is made, those are secondary considerations.

Only when business subscript to a business strategy that involves value creation can they hope to sustain profitability. In this paradigm workers are viewed as assets not liabilities.

Yet, many companies build their profitability on this simple equation. Companies seek to reduce their inputs (outsourcing labor, better technologies) to obtain ‘more profits.’ Yet, it’s pretty self-serving with little regard to  customers and employees.

The definition of value depends on the individual. For this discussion, value is defined as the net bundle of benefits the customer derives from a product of service.  Value is defined as the net bundle of benefits the customer derives from a product of service.  Most companies compete on low cost or differentiation strategy to create this value.

In emerging countries where wages are low, it is very difficult for America businesses to compete.  That is why many companies have opted to outsource some of their core functions abroad.  Yet, America’s strength has always been its innovation and creativity.  These attributes are key ingredients for an effective differentiation strategy.

John Gamble and Arthur Thompson, authors of Essentials of Strategic Management, further examined the concept of value as a strategic advantage: “The most appealing approaches to differentiation are those that are hard or expensive for rivals to duplicate.” Therefore, an effective value creation strategy can beat almost any competitor, globally and domestically. 

This reality is due to the fact that the organization is keenly attuned to the needs of their customers. If individuals keep the concepts of value creation in their mindset, they will be able to overcome many of the disruptive changes to come.

How does value creation relate to sustainability for today’s leaders? Discuss your professional experience with value creation. 

© 2012 by Daryl D. Green                                    


Leading in a Volatile Society


The question of effective leadership continues to plaque modern society.  This month, the captain of a cruise ship that capsized off the coast of Italy has received public scrutiny.  The cruise ship, Costa Concordia, had more than 4,200 people aboard when it hit a reef off the Tuscan island of Giglio.

Panic filled the ship; cruise workers appeared unprepared for the emergency. Yet, the biggest casualty was leadership.  Captain Francesco Schettino is accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck, and abandoning his vessel during its ground. 

Tapes were released of a conversation between the cruise captain and a coast guard officer who demanded the captain return to the ship: “What are you doing? Are you abandoning the rescue…Get back on board now (expletive) sake!”  What has been abandoned globally is the lack of effective leadership in a volatile society.

Today’s workers exist in a volatile world. According to the Forrester Research, approximately 3.3 million jobs and $136 billion in wages could be moved overseas to countries like India or China by 2015. In fact, many developing countries are projected to continue to grow strongly over the next decade.

Furthermore, these countries steadily shift to consumer-led growth instead of export-led growth.  The dollar spiral downward and foreign currency goes upward.  China and India have added millions to their labor force creating products as well as outsourcing their services abroad at a fraction of what American workers can provide. 

These upstart countries are positioning themselves to become the next Super Power.  The middle class hold their breath as the threat of more job cuts become a reality, thereby further eroding their quality of life. Yet, business executives express little moral remorse as they keep American workers at bay.   

There needs to be a different type of leadership in a volatile world. Today’s hypercompetitive environment needs high performance organizations to sustain market success. Yet, many organizations operate from the same business structure from the Industrial Revolution.

In this setting, managers oversee workers to control their performance due to the fact that managers believe workers are inferior and have no passion to work. Yet, most workers are willing to work if they are placed in a position to be successful and there are shared rewards.

Yet, I have heard too many complaints about bad bosses and uncaring organizations. There are too many managers and organizations that do not value the importance of their employees.

These same managers are great at distributing tasks but are unsuccessful at motivating their own workers.  Therefore, future leaders will need to be able to navigate global markets while inspiring their workers.

What characteristics are needed for today’s leaders in a volatile environment?

 © 2012 by Daryl D. Green