TABLED : Becoming A Global Leader

Globalisation means blossoming of business opportunities. Global trade in goods and services could rise more than threefold to US$27 trillion in 2030, according to the World Bank report, “Global Economic Prospects 2007: Managing the Next Wave of Globalisation”.
The report indicates that roughly half of the increase in global trade will come from developing countries – countries that only two decades ago provided 14 percent of manufactured imports of rich countries, but today provide 40 percent, and by 2030 are likely to provide 65 percent.
New Zealand businesses are increasingly globally connected, through offshore operations, international client bases and distributed business models with operations close to markets.
With the increased access to global sales, capital, goods and services comes slew of strategic and operational challenges, such as new competitors, exposure to risk, and unfamiliar regulations. Outsmarting competition, protecting assets and contending with regulations is far less of challenge when you have the right people in place. Senior leaders who can operate globally are the essential piece of global talent strategy. So how do you identify and develop this new generation of managers?

Leaders versus global leaders
Though trust and respect are universal properties for any leader, global leader understands – or can find out – how the execution of certain universal practices translates from one culture to another. However, leading globally is more than knowing which hand to shake or how to address someone from another culture in way that conveys respect.
Research conducted by Development Dimensions International (DDI) of 22 global organisations led to list of 10 factors that make up the leadership DNA of stand-out global leader.
1. Intellectual grunt Thinks conceptually and makes strategic decisions. Is able to deal with both complexity and ambiguity.
2. Contextual chameleon Adaptable and exhibits cultural sensitivity, with the ability to modify behaviour for different situations, localities or audiences.
3. People black belt Brings out the best in people; exhibits authenticity; builds trust; and builds strategic working relationships to engage individuals within various cultures.
4. Global explorer Exhibits learning ability, is passionate information seeker, and asks lot of questions to understand foreign concepts or culture.
5. Master mobiliser Displays propensity to lead, is flexible and organised. Drives execution, exhibits leadership influence, and mobilises resources.
6. Visionary Effectively navigates ambiguity, displays entrepreneurial flair, and can devise strategies to take business to higher level.
7. Humility Receptive to feedback, willing to adjust strategy and possesses accurate self insight.
8. Solid as rock Demonstrates authenticity, resiliency, and sound operational decision making or judgement.
9. Company poster child Balances demands of the culture with results and leads with vision and values while displaying executive disposition.
10. Unbridled energy Possesses extraordinary capacity for focus and productivity, and can turn up the energy in fast-paced, always-on environment.

Global leadership development
While the usual leadership development initiatives, including internal/external development programmes, leadership coaching, peer mentoring, and support networks that offer growth opportunities remain relevant, some additional development initiatives are valuable:
• A cross-cultural executive development programme that brings diverse leaders together provides valuable insights and helps facilitate the transition into new global role.
• Additional training addressing culture that is unique to country or region helps avoid embarrassing faux pas.
• Sending emerging global leaders on foreign assignments.
• Experiential training taking them out of their comfort zones.
The importance of global business skills will continue to grow, particularly for New Zealand’s corporate sector. The art of being an effective global leader is critical. It demands more than just an understanding of marketing and ensuring operational business systems meet global distribution needs. Best practice companies now ensure they maximise their potential globally by identifying and developing global leaders as key component of their HR and succession planning initiatives.

• Based on an article by David Tessmann-Keys and Richard S Wellin, DDI. Sheffield is the exclusive New Zealand licensee for DDI.

Christien Winter is the managing director of Sheffield.

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