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A Global Mindset: The Most Crucial Skill in Today's Business World

It is a uniquely exciting time in the history of business to be a leader. Global foreign direct investment from emerging economies are expected to multiply over the next 15 years, making foreign direct investment a major source of business financing even in the United States. 

This is the time to operate with a global mindset, the time to expand minds. With a global mindset, today’s business leaders have the chance to bring innovation, economic sustainability, and peace not only to their near geographic proximity but to all societies they can engage in their business endeavors. 

Relevant training and experiential learning geared toward developing a global mindset in all employees have become a crucial focus and will equip organizations with the essential capabilities to innovate, engage, and prosper in the 21st century. 

In his article, “U.S. Entrepreneurs Need a True Global Mindset,” published in the Huffington Post, Ted Zoller, vice president of entrepreneurship at Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation writes, “The U.S. is by nature more insular than other countries with respect to new ventures.” He cites the size of the U.S. domestic market as one reason. “Whereas in smaller countries, such as Denmark and Sweden, or in large but poorer countries, firms with high ambitions have long had to look to international markets to remain competitive, as their domestic markets couldn’t sustain them.” 

Zoller points out how the relative geographic and cultural isolation of the United States can be another challenge. Most important, he emphasizes the importance of being able to seek innovation in diverse perspectives and diverse locations rather than finding creative ways to carry a U.S.-born idea elsewhere. 


As the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer indicates, business leaders have the chance to bridge the gap of growing mistrust in societies. 

An effective multinational global corporation recognizes the opportunities in being able to span boundaries by increasing accurate information flow with new technologies, opportunities that come with collaborative thinking, and those that come through long-term orientation and developing people and systems that innovate. Multinational global corporations also acknowledge the changing market conditions, realize the opportunities that advanced technology offers today, and feel the need to change.  

In a keynote speech delivered in 2011 IBM CEO Samuel J. Palmisano said, “It is so easy to stick with things that have made you a successful company or institution—a winning product, a profitable business model. It’s even easier to stick with what’s made you successful as a professional—what got you to where you are. Yet one of the core responsibilities of leadership is to understand when it’s time to change the organization and yourself.” 


© 2012 ASTD, Alexandria, VA. All rights reserved.

About the Author
Neal Goodman is an internationally recognized authority on globalization, global mindset development, and cultural competence for global corporations. His programs have helped hundreds of thousands of corporate executives to be more effective in international settings by learning how to apply a global mindset. Global Dynamics, the company he co-founded in 1983, designs, organizes, and implements programs that support global mindset development, cultural competence, global team building, global leadership, virtual workforce effectiveness, and diversity and inclusion in leading Fortune 500 companies that wish to succeed in the global arena. As CEO of GDI, he leads a team of more than 400 innovative, cross-cultural experts from around the globe to create in-person, blended, and web-based solutions for his clients.
About the Author
Şirin Köprücü is a senior associate with Global Dynamics.
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