How Do You Develop a Global Mind-set? How can you develop the skills needed to succeed as an international leader? Researchers have developed a personal strategy for building a global mind-set that will facilitate success as an effective manager in a different cultural setting. A global mind-set has three components: intellectual capital, the understanding of how business works on a global level; psychological capital, openness to new ideas and experiences; and social capital, the ability to build connections with people and to influence stakeholders from a different cultural background.88
• Intellectual capital is considered the easiest to gain if one puts forth the effort. You can gain global business acumen by taking courses, but you can learn a great deal on your own by reading publications with an international scope such as The Economist, visiting websites that provide information on different cultures or business operations in foreign countries, or simply watching television programs with an international news or culture focus. Working in global industries with people from diverse cultures is also a complex assignment, requiring the ability to manage complexity and uncertainty.
• Psychological capital is gained by being receptive to new ideas and experiences and appreciating diversity. It may be the most difficult to develop, because your ability to change your personality has limits. If you are enthusiastic about adventure and are willing to take risks in new environments, then you have the attitudes needed to be energized by a foreign assignment. It takes self-confidence and a sense of humor to adapt successfully to new environments.
• Social capital is based on relationships and is gained through experience. You can gain experience with diversity simply by widening your social circle, volunteering to work with international students, or by traveling on vacation or through a study abroad experience.
Now that you have a description of the three components of a global mind-set and a few ideas about how to develop the attributes necessary for global success, consider some ways you can develop a personal strategy that can be implemented during your college career.
1. So that you have a better idea of where you stand now, list your strengths and weaknesses for each component.
2. Identify your weakest area, and make a list of activities that will help you improve your capital in that area. After generating your own list, check out http://hbr .org/globalize-yourself-list. You will be amazed at the possibilities.
3. Identify courses you could take in international business, economics, politics, history, or art history. While you may be required to be proficient in at least one foreign language, learn a few words in other languages that can help you navigate any new countries you visit.
4. Make a list of at least six activities you could do this week in order to get started. For example, you could choose to work with international students on group projects in class. Or move on to having lunch with them. What questions could you ask that would help you learn about their culture and about doing business in their country? You could go to a museum with an exhibit from another culture, an international movie, or a restaurant with cuisine that is new to you. If you are interested in more information, go to http:// globalmindset.thunderbird.edu/, where you can also take a sample survey to get an idea of the degree to which you have the attributes needed for global success.