GLABB - something not only at the very foundation of my company, but of who I am as an individual. Having spent over 25 years in global business, I feel somewhat qualified to speak from my experience and knowledge as I have worked with and for some of the most well-known global companies around the world leading Global Service Operations. As I continue to talk with clients through the years about the true essence of global leadership (GL) and how it translates into real business results, I am continually intrigued by the variations and perceptions associated with the term Leadership. I started this series describing my definition of the word “Global“… so now what do I mean by “Leadership”, in context? An overused, ambiguous term to be sure… However, when used purposefully, the word leadership is very distinctive… and very powerful.
I was recently speaking at a conference and I was asked about a term that is near and dear to who I am – Leadership Across Boundaries & Borders. You will see (or hear) it in almost everything I do – you will hear me refer to it when I speak publically… in general conversations… and when I write. You see it on my blog header… on our membership site (The Global LABB or GLABB)… and on our corporate site, as well. Although I refer to “Leadership Across Boundaries & Borders” frequently, this was the first time I can remember that an audience member stood up and asked about LABB in a public forum. I found this so interesting – it is so much a core part of my being… yet I realized I had never stopped to actually define it for others outside of myself. I have been unfair. I will try to remedy my faux pas through not only explaining my terminology as a core component of myself, but also by defining each piece of it from my view of the world over the next few weeks.
So, I will begin by talking a little about history and about the definition, my definition, of Global…
Those of you who have followed me from the early days know I have had a very unique and fortuitous background. My “global career” actually started at a fairly tender age. My father, a Fire Chief, began moving our family around the world – exposing us to language, food and all manner of culture when I was just twelve years old (and I was none to appreciative at the time!). We did not typically live with other Americans – we lived with the locals… as the locals (again, not perceived as a plus). In Spain, we played with the local children in the abandoned plaza de toros and ate in the local ventas, while in the Philippines we hiked deep into the jungle with the aborigines, exchanged candy for hand-made weapons and attended indigenous festivals in the local villages… just a few examples. I unknowingly learned what it meant to be a global citizen and what it was to See The Forest Through The Trees… forming my earliest impressions of local innovation, and how, when taken in context, it can be leveraged for global knowledge. I understood and integrated with the local flavor, while realizing the value of global scalability. Funny how things you learn come back into focus again and again throughout your life if you pay attention… Continue Reading…
When my daughter, Savannah, was in elementary school she was quite the know it all and acquired the nickname “Google” because she would start nearly every sentence with, “Did you know…” followed by whatever fact fell from her rather significant brain and out of her very pretty, little mouth. Still today, she is not so different… if occasionally more contained.
As I think about our world today, how we are made up, and the rapidly expanding global marketplace, perhaps we (a little like Savannah) have become Google incarnate:
Google is a vast pool of knowledge – broader and deeper than most of us can even begin to fathom – while, as humans, we are a vast pool of diversity and complexity that spans the globe. We take in information, aggregate it… and determine how we will present it (or not). That is not to say we necessarily understand it…
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
~ Margaret Mead
You understand that your organization is a system of relationships and that those relationships are the glue that holds the organization together. Anyone can be collaborative leader — no matter what your role or position may be. As a collaborative leader, you have the opportunity to create cohesive communities, whether your teams are co-located or geographically dispersed across the globe. Continue Reading…
As a leader in a global environment, it is essential for you to set the example and create communities where people unite around a common purpose and values. Working collaboratively to accomplish a shared vision that makes a powerful and positive impact on the global business is absolutely vital to your success!
Can true collaboration occur in cross-cultural and virtual environments? Absolutely, IF you, as a leader, are intentional about building collaborative environments, modeling collaborative leadership practices, and creating opportunities to bring people together for both organizational and personal benefit.
While nearly everyone in today’s global workplace recognizes the need (and appreciates the value) of collaborative work, it is not easy – especially when cultural differences, time zone challenges, work and communication styles enter the equation. Despite this, true global collaboration is simply too valuable not to take advantage of because it provides you, as a leader, with a significant opportunity to leverage learning, negotiate meaning, and share aptitudes – creating high potential sources of competitive advantage.
The rapid pace of globalization and the growing number of collaborative technology solutions have enabled virtual work while the demand for skills from around the world have made it a necessity. However, collaborative teamwork in virtual environments is not intuitive. It’s far more than dealing with technology and time zones – it is about people and the value that cross-cultural, virtual collaboration can bring to the organization.