How leaders can develop a global mindset

6 simple steps to developing curiosity

This blog is being typed in a coffee shop in Ireland. Here, all the headlines are about the impending disaster in Greece. The hyper-connected geography that is the European Community is bracing for the shocks that might radiate from the decisions or indecision from the leaders in Athens and their stakeholders.

Last week I was in Ascot near London working with a Pan-European leadership team to confirm their strategy for the next two years. I observed that they are faced with complexity and strategic decisions their predecessors are unlikely to have known.

This was evidenced when one leader in the group made a simple but rather profound statement. She is based in the Baltic region reporting to the leader who is based in London. Her insight was that for every decision they agree on as a team they have to consider the multiple impacts this decision will make on the Northern Europe region i.e. countries such as Sweden, Finland and Estonia. The Northern European Region, whilst clustered into the UK hub region, in reality has eight countries with different currencies, go to market regulations and dramatically different cultures. So what might be a straight forward decision at a central leadership level becomes complex in its execution.

These experiences have reinforced to me that leading internationally really requires leaders to develop a global mindset and to be continually developing that ability, as global complexities keep morphing and changing.

How do you do that?

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6 insights into Leading Virtual or Remote teams

Leading teams that are remote to the leader is not a new concept. Julius Caesar ran the old world from Rome and the English, French and Spanish have overseen many ‘followers’ that were not based in Europe!

But in 2015 the rate of workers operating virtually or remotely is increasing phenomenally as technology enables constant and immediate contact to the degree where it is as if you are in the same location.

According to the independent consulting firm, Global Workplace Analytics, the rate of teleworkers has grown nearly 80% since 2005. They report that the ‘multiple days per week employees (not including self-employed) telecommute has increased 79.7% from 2005 to 2012, though the rate of growth slowed during the recession. According to another recent report, within a few years, more than 1.3 billion people will work virtually—that is, through rich electronic connections from sites of their choosing.

Recently I worked with a pharmaceutical leadership team that had members spread across England, Ireland, Sweden, Norway and the Baltic states. They had developed effective methods to enable their performance. These were of course, different to the methodologies that a co-located team can employ i.e. the notion of having a leadership team “face-to-face” daily huddle, as espoused in some leading business books, does not make sense for this or many remote teams.

So how can a leader lead as effectively as possible under these circumstances?

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Five ‘leanings’ that leaders need to avoid

Which way are you leaning?

Today, I had a coffee with my friend Chris Savage, who writes a great blog called Wrestling Possums. Well worth checking out. While we were sharing personal growth stories he referenced a man of great wisdom and insight – Dr Seuss. In his seminal work “The Lorax”, Dr. Seuss’ character says “A tree falls the way it leans, be careful which way you lean”.

It got me thinking about leaders and how we lean.

At our best, we lean well into habits that are positive, outcome focused and ‘leaderly like’, what ever that means in the moment! However, when we have limited capacity or are under duress, we can over-rely on habits and practices that are not the ones we would ideally opt for and that help the leader to fall over.

Having worked with thousands of leaders across the Asia Pacific region we have observed several ‘leanings’ that propels the leader to fall – and not in the way they hoped.

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