In RW3’s 2019 Global Mindset Index Study, more than 85% of respondents said the international component of their company’s business was extremely significant. Since that’s the case, an employee base with a Global Mindset is a critical asset. But the study found that it’s not just about having a global mindset—in order for organizations to see a positive impact on business performance and an increased competitive advantage, employees must be supported throughout their global mindset journey.

Specifically, the study found that the characteristics that differentiate “Overachieving” companies versus underachievers are rooted in their ability to not only recognize the importance of a global mindset, but also in their ability to:

  • Actively provide global mindset development training,
  • Consistently embrace a global mindset, and
  • Thoroughly recognize employees with a global mindset.

No One is Born with a Global Mindset, But Anyone Can Attain One

A global mindset is not intuitive. It needs to be learned and practiced. The first step is to understand that we’re all cultural beings. Since our behaviors are culturally based and are imbued in us since earliest childhood, we all mistakenly assume that our behaviors and values are universal. You’ll probably recognize these attitudes:

  • “Of course, being late is rude.”
  • “Of course, one never argues with their parents.”
  • “Of course, you always wait your turn in line.”

But that “of course” depends on the country and culture you’re from. This is why it’s important to learn that your perspectives are not global or universal. And an ancillary step is learning that your perspectives are not “right or wrong,” but simply appropriate for your culture.

The next step is developing an awareness that allows you to recognize those culturally based behaviors in others, and to thereafter adjust your expectations as necessary. Finally, you will be able to extrapolate these concepts to an understanding that pervades your everyday thoughts—in other words, you’ve developed a global mindset!

The importance of a global mindset in the workplace cannot be overstated, and supporting employees as they develop one is a vital contributor to business success.

When it Comes to a Global Mindset, Taking Action Makes the Difference

While the study revealed a universal agreement that a global mindset delivers a positive ROI and a competitive advantage, the caveat is that only those companies that back up their belief with action become performance overachievers. A few ways to actively promote a global mindset include providing include intercultural training, overtly acknowledging how global issues impact the company, and promoting those with a global mindset to leadership positions.

Ways You Can Make a Difference:

To help your employees gain a global mindset, here are some things to consider:

  • Ask yourself how effective your company is at fostering an environment where people feel energized to continually develop their global understanding. If there’s room for improvement, consider offering intercultural training throughout the organization.
  • Does senior management voice a world view? Do they point out how your company is affected by global events? If an international event could affect a colleague’s travel plans, for example, point it out and explain why it matters.
  • Is there evidence that people with a global mindset are promoted to visible positions of responsibility? Remember, in today’s globalized marketplace, leaders require a global mindset.
  • Are clear goals set to foster interaction between staff members who are from different cultures? Try to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to speak at meetings, for example.
  • Does your company offer opportunities to learn about other parts of the world? If not, try to incorporate fun and informative events, such as holiday celebrations.
  • Does your firm invest in global mindset training for people at all levels? It’s never too early—or too late—to start!
  • Are employees encouraged to develop personal strategies to learn how to adjust their behaviors to different cultural styles so they can do business with people from different parts of the world? Check out our Culture Calculator assessment to learn more about your and your team’s cultural preferences.

Developing a global mindset can be a long learning process. But organizations that actively encourage their workers to develop one will ultimately benefit from the ongoing, concerted effort it requires.