Executive search firms have a great pulse for the hiring market and an intimate understanding of the personnel needs of corporations. As our world and markets become more and more global, a new set of hiring criteria have emerged that reflect corporations’ needs for global citizens. Recently, I came across an interesting and thought-provoking set of criteria around the topic of the global mindset offered by Spencer Stuart, a leading executive search firm. Because I found that I can certainly relate to their criteria, I will plan to share my own list in a future post. For now, here’s what Spencer Stuart suggests:
Marketing executives with a global mindset possess a level of cultural fluency which sets them apart from their peers. They have often acquired this as children, encouraged by their parents to be tolerant, flexible and to have “eyes wide open to the world.” Far from being phased by situations that take them out of their comfort zone, they embrace new experiences and new markets, have a willingness to learn, and actively seek out opportunities to enhance their understanding of different cultures and markets. This cultural aptitude comprises several qualities which are outlined below.
The natural desire to exert influence in a new role needs to be tempered by a willingness to learn. Management pride is dangerous and the global marketing executive needs to be smart and confident enough to admit to what they don’t know. It forces them to be open to new learning and to consider the opinions of others in the team. In a situation of power, it’s easy to be seduced into thinking that you know everything or that you are supposed to.
One of the main reasons international executives do not work out is that they try to impose their own cultural or world view, trying to make everything operate the way it does in their own market (often company headquarters). Natural relationship-builders who don’t make snap judgments tend to have humility. Read more
A global mindset is a set of capabilities that can dramatically accelerate a business leader’s ability to develop and foster successful relationships across multiple cultures.
Here is the challenge: In most societies, most citizens are raised and socialized to deal and work with people who are like them, so they develop uni-cultured lens to help them understand and interpret their surroundings. This has worked well in the past, but today, employees and executives are required to work with people who are different from them and have different cultural backgrounds.
Moreover, global trade has dramatically increased over the last decade, while the US, Europe and Asia have increased their economical interdependency. Moving forward, emerging markets will account for the majority of the global growth over the next 20-30 years, so the need for companies to become more global has never been more important than today.
But, it’s important to note, more global doesn’t necessarily mean only having customers and subsidiaries in international markets. It also refers to a company’s culture and ability to deal with multiple cultures, languages and socio-economical dynamics. In a recent survey of senior executives in 100 global corporations conducted by Worldwide ERC, 95% of the respondents reported that national cultures of the places they do business in play an important or very important role in the success of their business mission.