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Archive for January, 2012

Developing the Global Leader – Transitioning Leaders and Their Organizations to a Global Environment.

Entering the 21st century we find a time of unprecedented globalization of business and economies. The advent of the Internet and other technologies are linking individuals across cultures and creating collaborations unheard of in centuries past. Through this reality, leaders must understand the impact a globalized economy brings to the doors of their business. Accessibility of information and goods via the Internet opens doors for nearly every business to compete globally. As the global economy arrives and leaders step forward into the global arena, they must understand geography, language, customs, values, ethics, varying laws and national psychologies will all determine their success within the global marketplace. Leaders and their organizations must learn to move beyond their worldview and open themselves to the complexities of cultures, geography, laws, customers and languages that await them.

Leaders who take the time to become culturally literate will best develop relationships that positively impact their organization. Developing relationships is essential to the success of any leader who seeks to operate in the global context. Developing relationships builds respect, trust, and creates understanding. Developing relationships of trust creates freedom amongst the followers to self-initiate solutions to problems without delay or confusion.

Cultural Barriers

Barriers to success exist in nearly any business environment. Operating within a global context adds new layers and challenges related to languages, customs, values, traditions and laws. Challenging these barriers will certainly create friction and will ultimate affect our ability to listen and understand the viewpoints on those we lead. Lack of understanding creates frustration, mistakes and deters trust and relationship building between the leader and their followers.

While English is considered the global language of business, differing language still creates barriers to effective leadership within the global context. Language as part of the human experience symbolically links individuals to assumptions, rules for interaction, and even expectations. When a leader shows effort to understand and speak the local language, they develop deeper connections and relationships with their followers. Learning the language displays a good faith effort to embrace the culture and engage the followers at a deeper level. When a leader removes any possibility of perceived arrogance, they open themselves up to honest dialogue and appreciation by their followers.

Learning local customs and language is helpful; however there is no easy fix to these barriers. Jay Galbraith, in his book Designing the Global Corporation, explains that the leader must live in the context of structural indeterminacy which states that “no single structure is the answer when dealing with complex business models that must respond to cross-border business opportunities, demands for local citizenship, and cross-border purchasing or efficiencies.” Add to this any attempt to force entry into a culture without adherence to their local customs, languages, and so forth will limit the ability to operate within the context of that environment.

Organizational Adaptations – Competing globally

Much can be said for the individuals who attempt to understand and seek greater familiarity within a given culture. This is accomplished through an ability to create emotional connections with followers. Emotional connection is best achieved through sincere interest in the local language, customs, food and other cultural attributes as well as skillfully listening and responding to needs. For example, time is more fluid in the Latin culture with punctuality more forgiving than their American counterparts. Arriving early within a Latin culture is considered rude and when leaders understand this cultural difference, they are better able to assimilate into the culture and less likely to offend. Food is also a great way to level barriers as it is. Food levels barriers because each culture holds great pride in their food and enjoying a meal with members of your host country builds relationships and much deeper level.

To compete globally, leaders must learn to effectively adapt to the cultures they operate within. Doing so builds trust and a lasting loyalty. Adaptation occurs through a leader’s curiosity and desire to not only learn but embrace the culture. While we are all humans on one planet, there is such complexity that we must learn new ways to observe and interact with the environment form which we operate. The human condition appears to be sublimated to our ability to desire and achieve relationships with others. It is through this relationship that we build understanding, mutual respect and trust.

Conclusion

Leading in a global context is a complex matter rooted in an ability to understand and connect with the culture and its people. When we connect with individuals within a given culture, we improve the quality of our decisions by developing close relationships and loyalty with the people. Leaders are better able to develop and avoid unnecessary risk and emotionally connect with the people for whom you lead. Unfortunately emotional connectedness requires more than effective listening skills and language. Leading in a global context requires understanding of not just the people but the context of their worldview, customs, local conditions and laws.

To develop as a global leader requires humility, inquisitiveness and the earnest desire to build honest connections with those who serve the organization in foreign places. At the end of the day, the successful global leader is more interested in building rapport long before they consider the bottom line. Successful global leaders understand that quality relationships are developed over a longer period of time.

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Philip A Foster, MA is Founder/CEO of Maximum Change Inc. Elevating leaders and their organizations to the next level since 2005. Master Certified Coach, Philip A Foster, MA and his associates facilitate effective positive change by helping organizations, leaders and individuals in high demand — design and implement strategies that maximize focus and deliver results. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.

Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Web | Skype: philip.a.foster | 615-216-5667

Growing as a Global Leader

Curiosity and the insatiable desire to learn will lead a global leader to not only embrace their experiences, but also make sense of them (Black, el.al, 1999, p 61). Through learning we are able to better make sense of the so-called ever-changing kaleidoscopic images viewed through our paradigms as cultural bias and acquisition. (Black, et.al, 1999, p 61). Black uses the image of an old and young woman to argue his point of perceptual deception.

Black, et.al (1999) uses these illustrations to explain how we might miss key facts, important relationships, and critical connections to help improve our approaches to becoming a global leader (p 47).

Until I traveled outside of the United States, I had only a small understanding of the complexities of the world beyond my borders. While we are all humans on one planet, there is such complexity that we must learn to observe, deliberate and ponder to better master our approach to people (Black, et.al, 1999, p 58). My thoughts circle back to the level of inquisitiveness we hold to seek deeper understanding of others and the environment in which they operate. The human condition appears to be sublimated to our ability to desire and achieve relationships with others. I would argue that it is through this relationship that we build understanding, mutual respect and trust.

Black, J. S. (1999). Global Explorers: The Next Generation of Leaders. Abingdon, England: Routledge.

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Philip A Foster, MA is Founder/CEO of Maximum Change Inc. Elevating leaders and their organizations to the next level since 2005. Master Certified Coach, Philip A Foster, MA and his associates facilitate effective positive change by helping organizations, leaders and individuals in high demand — design and implement strategies that maximize focus and deliver results. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.

Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Web | Skype: philip.a.foster | 615-216-5667

I am a Global Leader…Mi fiel amigo y socio en los negocios [My loyal friend and business associate]

Geography, language, customs, values, traditions, laws, ethics, and national psychology are all considerations to whether someone is a global leader. Based on the reading, I would feel comfortable considering myself a global leader in context of the Caribbean and Latin America. With regard to other countries I would consider myself a global explorer as defined in Black, Morrison, and Gregersen (1999) Global Explorer as someone who is open to new experiences and understands that they don’t know what they don’t know (p. 54).

 

Having grown up in a predominantly Hispanic community in southern Florida, I have an understanding of many customs, values, traditions and language of the Latin community. I consider Black, et.al, (1999) encouragement to create an emotional connection with the people through sincere interests and skillful listening (p 121). This is done through an understanding of their psychology as it relates to views on time and relationships (Rosen, 2000, p 45). For example, Time is more fluid in the Latin culture with punctuality more forgiving than their American counterparts. They are also keen on loyalty in their relationships of friends and family.

 

My experience with Latin culture begins and ends with food. Many important meetings I’ve attended have revolved around Cuban Coffee and other Latin Cuisine. Once trust is secured, my Latin colleagues have been the most loyal friends and business partners I have ever had. In my experience It has always been about building trust that creates a lasting loyalty.

 

References:

Black, J.S., Morrison, A.J. and Gregersen, H.B. (1999). Global Explorers. The Next Generation of Leaders. New York, NY: Routledge.

Rosen, Robert (2000). Global Literacies. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

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Philip A Foster, MA is Founder/CEO of Maximum Change Inc. Elevating leaders and their organizations to the next level since 2005. Master Certified Coach, Philip A Foster, MA and his associates facilitate effective positive change by helping organizations, leaders and individuals in high demand — design and implement strategies that maximize focus and deliver results. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.

Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Web | Skype: philip.a.foster | 615-216-5667

Literacies of Global Leadership – The art of understanding and connecting

Having traveled a bit outside of the United States, there is some sense that cultural differences are challenge enough without having to lead an organization within them. Organizations must deal with worldviews that make assumptions of how things area rather than how they should be (Sire, 1997, p 16). Beyond worldviews; complexities in geographical terrain, language, laws, and customs should all be considered.

Understanding terrain aids in developing and looking for opportunities for the organization to develop relationships and pursue knowledge which can translate into an impact within the marketplace (Black, Morrison, and Gregersen, 1999, p 51). Considering the terrain of a country aids in managing high levels of uncertainty and balances tensions in the global marketplace (Black, et.al, 1999, p 87 and 95). Such tensions as customer demands, employee practices, government policies, production technologies, and competitor responses differ greatly between countries (Black, et.al, 1999, p 95-96).

Language, Customs, Values, Traditions and Laws are all part of what James Sires called cultural relativism. Cultural relativism relies on the ideal that culture will preserve itself when threatened (Sire, 1999, p 87). Cultural language barriers, for example, can severely restrict the ability to listen and effectively understand (Black et.al, 1999, p 119). Black et.al (1999) argues that any absence of cultural sensitivity will result in mistakes and may hinder emotional connection with those within the culture in which you operate (p. 120).

Understanding people within a given culture requires familiarity with local conditions (Black et.al, 1999, p 121). This understanding highlights the context from which people develop and express viewpoints and thereby improve the quality of decisions made (Black et.al, 1999, p 121-124).

Global leadership is a complex matter appearing vastly rooted in an ability of leaders to understand and connect with the culture and its people at a deeper level.

References:

Sire, James W. (1997). The Universe Next Door. Third Edition. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press

Black, J.S., Morrison, A.J. and Gregersen, H.B. (1999). Global Explorers. The Next Generation of Leaders. New York, NY: Routledge.

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Philip A Foster, MA is Founder/CEO of Maximum Change Inc. Elevating leaders and their organizations to the next level since 2005. Master Certified Coach, Philip A Foster, MA and his associates facilitate effective positive change by helping organizations, leaders and individuals in high demand — design and implement strategies that maximize focus and deliver results. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.

Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Web | Skype: philip.a.foster | 615-216-5667

January 1, 2012 – HAPPY NEW YEAR | Maximum Change to succeed in 2012

For whatever reason, many believe they can go it alone. You might believe that you can read enough books, go to more seminars, and get another degree to succeed. While there is nothing wrong with self-growth in those and other ways, it is not a sure way to success alone.

To reach an even higher potential more quickly you will need an outside, unbiased person to help you to succeed. Serious athletes, executives and high profile individuals understand the value of working with a coach or consultant. These professionals would never go it alone and why should you? You deserve to achieve all you’ve desired in life and a coach/consultant should be part of the process.

Coaching/Consulting can be of tremendous value to anyone. Most people would rate their lives at about a six or seven and settle for that. If you’re ready to do what it takes to achieve more in 2012 and start living at a nine, ten or even eleven, then contact me today.

Maximum Change offers a customizable solution tailored to your specific needs. We offer one-on-one coaching and mentoring to individuals and organizational leaders as well as consulting services in a number of areas. Our professional team has over 100 years of collective experience.

Contact us today for a FREE consultation. http://www.maximumchange.com or call us at (615) 216-5667 Monday through Friday.

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Philip A Foster, MA is Founder/CEO of Maximum Change Inc. Elevating leaders and their organizations to the next level since 2005. Master Certified Coach, Philip A Foster, MA and his associates facilitate effective positive change by helping organizations, leaders and individuals in high demand — design and implement strategies that maximize focus and deliver results. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.

Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Web | Skype: philip.a.foster | 615-216-5667