What Is Global Anyway?

October 15, 2014 — Leave a comment

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.

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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…

I went on to earned my BSc in Organizational Psychology from University of Maryland and proceeded to earn my MBA from Cambridge University in International Management. I have been fortunate to spend my career with the some of the top global corporations in the world, running Global Service Operations for many years… and now own a global consulting firm, providing Executive Coaching and Consulting Services to global organizations. I have had a long time to study, observe and decide what “global” means to me…

My experience has served me well. Today, the greatest business opportunities and challenges we face are global in nature… demanding that we understand what it means to be global. But what does “global” really mean? Over-used and under-defined? Perhaps… Certainly, the old mantra “think global, act local” is woefully inadequate to describe the complex realities that we face in the real world. From my experience as a young girl in a very big world… to an international student… a young global manager… to an experienced global executive… and now a global executive coach, this is what I can tell you:

Global is far more than just worldwide.

It is far more than thinking big and acting small.

Global is all-Inclusive and comprehensive – it is a worldwide network of interconnected relationships

Global encompasses multiple perspectives and understands there is more than one… two… or three best ways

Global means finding new best ways that are all-inclusive and interconnected across boundaries and borders

Global rises above silos and borders to find the best way for the organization and the customer

If you are privileged enough to be “global”, you are not simply responsible for multiple regions – you are responsible for the people, resources and results across those regions!

As a global leader, you are responsible for building bridges across boundaries and borders to:

  • Continuously Connect Resources
  • Doggedly Develop Talent
  • Relentlessly Create Value
  • Uncompromisingly Deliver Results

You Can’t Just Think And Act Global, You Must Be Global.

In a crisis-ridden world, it is easy to become myopic, focus on the local and lose sight of the fact that business is truly global. Maintaining a global mindset is work. However, it allows you, as a leader, to create value through global connections. And those connections enable you to make positive contributions to the communities you have the capacity to engage in.

Connecting, developing, creating, contributing and delivering results are the four cornerstones that will make or break you in a global environment.

Every organization is global to some extent, and it’s only a matter of your understanding how you impact situations, opportunities, and challenges for your organization that will determine your success… or failure. Even if you only service a national customer base, or your staff consists of a handful of local people, it is highly likely they are from different parts of the world – with different worldviews, customs, languages and beliefs. Global awareness empowers you to proactively adapt, innovate and focus on strategic measures that drive results in any environment.  “Global” isn’t an adjective reserved for executives at worldwide companies; it is an essential descriptor as to how every leader, formal or informal, must perform to keep pace in today’s world.

How Will You Define And Act Upon Your Definition Of “Global”?

The choice is yours…

Please engage the discussion and let us know how you define and engage “global”. Do you need an expert to help you in your global organization? Contact me at Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next week for the next installment of Leadership Across Boundaries and Borders.

Google… On Steroids

September 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

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.

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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…

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“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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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As we look forward, it is helpful to also look back and gain perspective. Today’s supply chain is even more global than two years ago… It is more aligned and proactive than it was five years ago. We are making progress, but there are still critical challenges to address.  It is still not working well… experience tells me we can do better.

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Typically, even though organizations may be consolidating for cost management and scalability purposes, the walls of the individual functions, channels and regions have become even thicker. As a direct result, it is harder for you, as a leader, to build end-to-end supply chain functionality in an ever-changing global marketplace. It has become increasingly difficult for you to gain agreement on specific, customer focused initiatives or broader organizational change.

This is not a technology, process or policy problem – it is a people problem:

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