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Is Your Organization Going Global? Is It Practicing Multiculturalism?


Mon Oct 16 2023

Is Your Organization Going Global? Is It Practicing Multiculturalism?

Today’s talent development (TD) and organization development (OD) professionals must pay close attention to the evolving impact of global competence and cultural diversity savvy required for success. The culturally diverse and geographically dispersed organization is the new normal. Those OD and TD professionals committed to promoting multiculturalism and inclusion are critical for the success of these efforts.

The following scenario is a composite of actual cases and solutions that OD and TD professionals faced that were successfully implemented. Applying these recommendations will expedite your success in the culturally diverse, geographically dispersed, multicultural global organization.


Your new CEO calls you into their office. They tell you that the company can “no longer count on the factors which have led to success in the past,” and they want you to create a strategic plan “to change the focus and culture of the organization to be more agile by building a globally competent and culturally diverse organization.” You are asked to work together with OD and talent development to prepare a detailed report due in 90 days, which recommends policies and practices to be implemented within one year after your report is due. Like most people, you have no idea what going global means or how to practice and enable cultural diversity in the organization. The next 90 days will either ruin your reputation or become one of the greatest learning experiences of your career. What will you do?

The road to global and multicultural success is littered with the remains of well-intentioned OD and TD leaders who took many wrong turns due to their myopia and blind spots. We assume that how we see, interpret, and judge behaviors is universal: Those who act, think, and judge differently are deficient and must be educated.

We need to open and expand our thinking. To succeed, your organization will need employees who can simultaneously see the same situation from multiple perspectives. When it comes to a global mindset and creating a culturally diverse organization, “we don’t know what we don’t know.” We all have blind spots, but it is critical to identify the ones holding you and your organization back, so you can create a roadmap of policies and strategies that will lead to organizational transformation.

Consider everything from leadership development to organizational policies and practices. Your plan must describe the necessary changes to reward and recognition, succession planning, hiring, and new key performance indicators (KPIs) to grow the organization.

To build a sustainable, global multicultural organization, several areas must be addressed, including:

  • Implementing a global mindset and cultural intelligence

  • Organizational interventions to build a global pipeline of talent

  • Applying diversity, equity, inclusion, and multiculturalism in a global organization

  • Capturing and applying global and multicultural institutional knowledge

Every organization will have a unique experience and character regarding its global and multicultural diversity: No two solutions will be identical, particularly because every organization is at a different stage of being global and inclusive.

To learn more, read my chapter “Building a Global, Culturally Diverse Organization” in ATD’s Organization Development Handbook. It provides successful strategies implemented in large global organizations. It also provides critical guidelines and processes that can be implemented in most organizations. Identify the ideas most applicable to your organization and situation.

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