In Part 1 of our C-suite series, we discussed some of the necessary skills by title as well as across-the-board attributes of successful executives. Part 2 touched upon the importance of communication and collaboration. To wrap up the discussion, we’re looking at the need to develop a global mindset in the C-suite.
Even if you don’t plan on expanding into international markets today, a global mindset is still necessary for your organization to achieve maximum potential, as noted by the Harvard Business Review.
Keeping an eye on the larger picture allows you to examine trends (whether in supply chain innovations, successful employee retention efforts or novel technology applications, for example), spot opportunities others may overlook and avoid cross-cultural mishaps with strategic partners, new hires and other key relationships.
C-level executives who develop global mindsets have the ability to see and understand different perspectives. They are able to develop trust. And, most importantly, they recognize opportunities for effective collaboration.
Global mindset traits of successful C-suite executives
The Lausanne, Switzerland-based International Institute for Management Development suggests that executives who achieve success working across cultures demonstrate qualities such as:
- Using cross-cultural knowledge to cultivate context-specific actions
- Bridging cultural gaps by managing differences among people and cultures
- Leveraging differences and integrating them into effective strategies
- Playing more of a coordinating than a controlling role and encouraging cooperation among various elements of a team
Steps to developing a global mindset
How do you begin to develop a broader mindset as you enter the C-suite? Various sources suggest these actions to get started:
- Value ongoing learning. Get out of your comfort zone by recognizing your own cultural values and biases and actively building strong intercultural relationships. Developing self-awareness fosters a non-judgmental perspective on differences.
- Expand your circle of influence. Instead of surrounding yourself with people who look, think and act like you, seek out global networking opportunities to connect with C-level executives who face similar challenges. This provides the chance to openly discuss cultural differences with global colleagues to build trust and develop strategies for mutual success.
- Commit to diversity at all ranks of your organization. This requires far more than communicating a statement of support about a social cause; you need to commit to meaningful goals and complete the actions that will fulfill those goals. Focus not only on hiring and retention efforts, but also helping diverse talent move up the ranks into leadership roles.
If you’re a CEO, consider endorsing global mindset as an official corporate value. By fostering “bigger picture” thinking across the board, you’re helping to ensure organizational longevity as well as a steady stream of diverse thinkers and leaders who’ll be ready for the C-suite sooner rather than later.