It’s no secret that business continues to become more and more globalized. This means that developing a Global Mindset and the skills to operate with self-awareness and authenticity are the keys to success in global work environments. Not only do they increase the quality of your relationships inside and outside of your organization—they can have a strong impact on a business’s bottom line.
In fact, RW3’s 2019 Global Mindset Index Survey (GMI) found that “Striking gaps in business performance exist between organizations that believe in and activate a Global Mindset throughout their organization versus those that do not.”
What is a Global Mindset?
Let’s start with the basics. A global mindset refers to a person’s ability to adapt their behavior to reflect what they know or have learned about diverse cultural norms, preferences, and styles. This allows individuals to effectively communicate, build trust, and form partnerships across cultures. Of course, achieving a global mindset means that an individual must first become comfortable questioning themselves and observing their surroundings. Ultimately, they will be better able to challenge biases, adapt to circumstances, and help foster a more inclusive environment.
Although it can be challenging to question what feels comfortable to us, it’s important to understand that anyone can embark on the journey toward a global mindset. Developing a global mindset and learning how to set an example for others involves making deliberate choices every day so that you can continually hone your self-awareness.
How Does A Global Mindset Impact Business Performance?
Self-awareness is the crux of developing a global mindset. As you develop a greater understanding of yourself, you learn about how or why you tend to behave a certain way, the skills and traits that you value, as well as how those things inform your individual work style and preferences.
By gaining this understanding of yourself, it becomes apparent to you that others value their perspectives in the same way as you value yours. You begin to appreciate others’ preferences and work styles. It also helps you adapt your behaviors to meet the needs of diverse situations. These skills will ensure that you can be as effective and productive as possible.
For example, it’s common in Saudi Arabia for initial meetings to be purely social so that new colleagues can build personal relationships. In fact, if you were to begin discussing business matters during a first encounter, it could seriously jeopardize any business dealings.
Or, consider that in China, the concept of group harmony and saving face often dictates social and professional interactions. If you praise an individual in front of the entire team, you may cause the rest of the group to lose face. This is because in Chinese culture, reward or acknowledgement should generally reflect on the group effort, rather than on a single person’s contributions.
These are two relatively small—if awkward—cross-cultural misunderstandings, but it’s easy to imagine that making these kinds of mistakes would slow any progress and could even cause permanent damage to your business relationships. Whether you are on international assignment or maintaining connections with global clients and customers, a global mindset offers the tools to adapt to different cultural situations.
The value of a global mindset is corroborated by our findings in the GMI. While over 90% of companies surveyed believe that having a global mindset is key to effective leadership, highest performing companies reported twice as many employees with a global mindset. Likewise, higher performing companies were more likely to adapt to other cultures’ work styles and provide continual support and intercultural training to their employees.
Here’s What You Can Do About It…
So, what can companies do to develop—and benefit from—a global mindset?
1. Start training today. Perhaps the most obvious step is to invest in intercultural training. Individuals surveyed in the GMI reported a positive ROI for intercultural training, and higher performing companies are the ones who invest in it the most.
2. Keep it up! It’s also important to make sure training is available continually. Developing a Global Mindset and honing cross-cultural awareness is an ongoing