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What is Global Mindset?

 “…living abroad expands your mental horizons and increases your creativity. However, merely traveling abroad doesn’t produce these benefits.”

Gail Naughton, as quoted in Tricia Bisoux, “Global immersion,” BizEd, 2007, Volume 6, Number 4, pp. 44–49.

Global mindset is the ability to think in global terms, to view issues from multiple perspectives, to be aware of the impact of culture on one’s behavior and choices.As companies seek new markets and embark upon product launches or full scale operations in far off countries, they must ask themselves: How can they grow culturally competent leaders that are able to build relationships in emerging markets? What skills and attitudes are required to overcome geographical, linguistic and cultural barriers? In fact, little agreement exists within the field of global leadership on which competencies and skills are necessary to be an effective global leader. This resonates with my experience working in the field of global leadership development, that the elusive concept of global mindset is not quickly or easily developed. 

Nevertheless, there are a few ways that companies can build their own bench of global leaders:

1. Send employees abroad. While we can now communicate with any far-off corner of the world, teleconferencing cannot replace living and doing business abroad. Although expatriate assignments are becoming less common, companies should consider that global mindset takes months and years abroad, not weeks. The nuances of doing business abroad needs months on the ground.

2. Create Ambassadors. Consider rotations that allow leaders in emerging markets opportunities to spend time at headquarters in order to understand American culture and your company culture. Imagine working for your company without ever stepping foot on campus? While it doesn’t make sense to bring all foreign employees to headquarters, bring a few on a rotating basis can help to create ambassadors abroad.

3. Find your global leadership talent internally. Research shows that global mindset takes years to develop, so, rather than trying to develop global leaders, why not look for people with global mindset within your organization? Chances are there may be former Peace Corps volunteers with years of experience in emerging markets already working within your company! You may have 1st or 2nd generation employees that are bilingual and bi-cultural. These individuals can serve as cultural resources, and are often not leveraged in this manner. An easy way to identify talent with the potential for global mindset is by looking for high levels of foreign language skills, which means the individual has spent a lot of time in multicultural settings, either here in the US or abroad.

In order to learn more about the topic, please see

Developing Global Leaders

Becoming Interculturally Competent

Plan to attend the ODN/IODA World Summit in Portland, OR, October 17-20 to start building or enhancing your global mindset.


Written by: Namita Eveloy,Corporate Training at E. & J. Gallo Winery.    

Eveloy brings her expertise in Diversity and Inclusion and Global Competence to the various projects she works on.She has spoken at several conferences on these topics and is often invited to speak on topics related to Inclusive Leadership, Managing Millennial Employees, Effective Global and Virtual Teams, country briefings and cultural trainings. Having worked with organizations across the United States, in Canada, France, Mexico and India, she offers an unmatched international perspective.

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