Archives For Extreme Global Leader

There are several hundred national and regional cultures throughout the world. The enormity of the notion of deciphering the cultural norms of each of these diverse cultures is incredibly overwhelming. A dose of cultural intelligence goes a long way toward facilitating better relationships and reducing misunderstandings across boundaries and borders. Ideally, armed with some valuable information and tools, the global leader can acquire insight into the diverse cultures within which s/he must interact – making it possible to adopt a cultural stance toward teams/colleagues/clients designed to fit in appropriately with the orientations of the other.

If we are open to similarities versus differences, we can begin to see that it is possible to view all of the variant cultures through three lenses. These differing orientations will greatly increase the ability to successfully interact across cultures:

1) Task-oriented, highly organized planners (Monochronistics)

2) People-oriented, extroverts (Polychronistics)

3) Introverted, respect-oriented listeners (Reactives)

In a world of rapidly globalizing business, the ability to interact successfully with foreign colleagues is seen not as optional, but as essential.

Monochronic, or linear, cultures, such as the Swiss, Dutch, and Germans, prefer to devote their attention to one thing at a time – focusing hard on that one thing and achieving it within a scheduled timeframe. From a monochronistic perspective, devoting full attention to one person or group at a time is the professional, or polite, thing to do. Processing of tasks is sequential, rather than parallel. In this type of culture, people feel they are more efficient and get more done by segmenting their time, tasks, relationships, etc. into compartmentalized units.  By virtue of this compartmentalization, monochronistic people are less likely to view their activities within the context of the whole, or “big picture”.

Polychronic, or multi-tasking, cultures, such as the Greeks, Portuguese, or Italians tend to interrupt a task or meeting in order to attend to another important task or relationship at the same time – they are the proverbial multi-taskers.  Polychronistics are not too interested in schedules or punctuality and prefer to remain flexible. They do not like to leave conversations unfinished. Completing the human interaction, versus observing monochronistic time constraints, is the best use of their time.  They consider it professional and polite to juggle different projects and people at the same time. In Mediterranean polychronistic cultures, for example, an executive interacts with multiple people at once. Everyone feels acknowledged through having access to an important person, which is seen as a significant advantage. It is accepted that several meetings may take place in parallel in different rooms. While the senior person is sharing his/her time across several meetings, it is common practice for the other attendees to continue the meeting until s/he returns.

When people of differing orientations work together, irritation often results on both sides. Unless someone adapts – and they rarely do – they are in constant crisis. For example, a German may wonder why a Mexican won’t arrive on time, work to deadlines, or follow a plan. At the same time a Mexican may ponder why a German seems so regimented, why s/he insists on sticking to plan if circumstances have changed, or why a German may be willing to sacrifice quality to meet a deadline.

Reactive, or listening, cultures, such as Japan, China, Turkey and Finland belong to a group of listening cultures, who rarely initiate action or discussion. They prefer to listen and establish the other’s position first, then react to it and formulate their own response. Reactives listen carefully, concentrate solely on the speaker, and do not let their minds wander. Interruption is not an option, and they will not respond immediately. A period of silence after the speaker is finished shows respect. When a Reactive does respond, do not expect him/her to demonstrate any strong opinion immediately, but instead s/he is likely to ask questions to clarify the speakersintent. Reactives are introverts by nature and are quite proficient at nonverbal communication through subtle body language.

Although adaptation to an alternative culture may not be an easy task, it is nevertheless critical to global business success. The reserved, factual Finn must navigate toward common ground with the loquacious, emotional Italian to facilitate common business requirements. American, as well as European, global leaders have the opportunity to turn over many more billions of dollars in trade if they learn to communicate effectively with the Japanese and Chinese. Observing and respecting the above cultural orientations goes a long way in the right direction toward building solid partnerships across a diverse world to achieve exceptional results. After all, whatever mode of transportation is chosen – all roads do lead to Rome….

For the next several weeks, I will continue to discuss specific cultural orientations that will facilitate successful communications and business results.  You can contact me at Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website atwww.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next Thursday for the next installation in a multi-tiered discussion on understanding cultural orientations for successful communication Across Boundaries & Borders.

This post is about you – as an organizational leader. Lifelong learning is a critical component of our personal and professional growth that we often seem to forget as we rise through the ranks. Unfortunately, as most of us become more senior within the organization, there is an undeniable challenge we face – facilitating our own ongoing growth and development. It becomes more and more difficult to identify growth opportunities, training, relevant readings, etc. and to deny the pull to remain stagnant – focusing on what we already know vs. the potential we have to know more. Perhaps most importantly, there is often a stealth sense of false complacency that emerges as a result of past success. However, the reality is that with the frequency and scale of change in global organizations, the leader that is not continually growing and changing with the environment may very well find that  s/he has been left behind at the last jumping off point.

Ultimately, you are responsible for your own personal development…and reaching your potential.  Many leaders let the business take priority over reaching their potential, or wait for the company to assume ownership of their development. Is this really what is most beneficial for you, and by default, the organizaion?  As leaders, it is easy to forget that it is far more effective to stretch ourselves, and thereby our organizations, than it is to settle for the status quo.  But how do you continually push yourself to think harder and go further? You can employ any number of self-help philosophies, but the reality is that you will probably not follow through – and if you do, they will typically not generate the results you hoped they would.

Finding and engaging a good mentor may be a critical success factor you are missing. Mentoring is a process about enabling and supporting your personal and professional growth. Organizational life can sometimes feel like climbing up the side of a mountain – as we struggle up the steep parts we are breathless, challenged, single-minded, and in need of support and sustenance. There may even be some moves we can not make without being tied to a partner. Mentoring can help with your changes in altitude, and enable you to get to higher ground – where you just may be able to see things from a different perspective. You will be able to see the mountains in the distance and new ways forward that were just not visible from your position below. Your mentor should facilitate a process that leads you to consider different perspectives, new ways of thinking, and deeper self-knowledge.

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In an ever-changing global marketplace, those who lead across boundaries and borders are increasingly required to become Extreme Team Captains – guiding the organization through unfamiliar and turbulent environments, while maximizing the functional, geographical, and cultural diversity of their teams.  In today’s multicultural, dynamic world, ensuring the continuous learning and growth of global leaders is critical to achieving high performance and sustainable growth in every organization.

With markets, suppliers, competitors, technology, and customers around the world constantly changing the rules of the game, traditional leadership models no longer work. Companies need leaders of exceptionally high caliber and quality, as they are a key component of the only true source of competitive advantage – people. But how do we create this Extreme Global LeaderTM? Is there the possibility of exceptional leadership that transcends accepted leadership characteristics to create a global leader that is emotionally, politically, and culturally intelligent?  How do these high-potential leaders evolve and become extreme? What is the most effective method of creating a transformational leader?

Last week we pondered potential and its source. If we look at the critical components of what we perceive to be potential (performance, emotional intelligence, motivation, and agility), is it possible to leverage potential through traditional training and/or coaching? Both are valuable tools for learning, but have entirely different purposes and outcomes.

The purpose of training is to teach:

  • skills
  • methods
  • theories
  • tactics
  • strategies

It is the process of disseminating information from the trainer to the leader. Training provides a pre-set curriculum and the trainer imparts what is important for the student to know. Trainers have subject matter expertise and an understanding of teaching methods that work well with adult learners. Training offers economies of scale so, even when customized, it is often less expensive than coaching for a comparable number of students. Because training is typically a one-time event with little to no reinforcement, the benefits may have a very short shelf life.

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Exceptional leaders convey a vision and, through their example, expand others’ view of what is possible – rather than what is not. They know their business, set high expectations across boundaries and borders, create a strong sense of community, and through effective team-building and mentoring – they get results.

Leaders demonstrate “how” to achieve results both in what they do, as well as in who they show themselves to be. It is no longer enough to have superior “technical” skills – people are looking for inspiration and accountability in their leaders. In terms of responsibilities, strong leaders emphasize the importance and priority of enhancing the skills and knowledge of the people in the organization, creating a common culture of expectations around the use of skills and knowledge, facilitating the ability of the organization to align in a productive way, and holding individuals accountable for their contributions to the collective results.

In addition, when great leaders act, they do so not only because their role demands it, but also because their own purpose, values, beliefs, and assumptions require it. Who they are, what they do, and how they do it is powerfully congruent and is leveraged for the good of the organization and the people within it. As a result, they are highly authentic, credible, and inspirational – which, in turn, motivates others to act genuinely and powerfully, as well.

Some people are born with a burning desire to succeed, some develop the desire to achieve greatness through life circumstance, and some people are okay with the status quo – they wake up every day and just let the world happen to them. The reality is that we need all types of people to function successfully, however in most successful global organizations there are a handful of extraordinary leaders who make all the difference – but there are also hundreds of ordinary leaders who are more concerned with meeting this years’ numbers than anything else. But what would happen if we could double that handful of “Extreme LeadersTM” in organizations?  Imagine the impact it would have on any business – not to mention partners and customers – if we could accurately identify those high potential leaders that are prepared to go above and beyond and develop them into Extreme LeadersTM that sustainably produce game-changing results.

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Becoming an Extreme Global Leader is more than just a title or buzzword – it is hard work.  It requires unprecedented levels of innovation and a commitment to the organization and its constituents across the globe, as well as the ability to continually inspire and motivate others to succeed. One key way to achieve ongoing innovation and global results is through the creation of an execution culture.

Every leader has an opportunity to accelerate progress in their global organization through the deployment of Rapid Result Initiatives (RRI’s), which can be used to:

  • Increase current performance
  • Strengthen collaboration
  • Facilitate innovation
  • Demonstrate success in the process of executing a winning game-plan

RRI’s are small, high leverage wins that build the capacity for large-scale change, as well as momentum toward the game-changing future. Extreme Global Leaders understand they must calculate their steps and fully understand what they have and how to use it most effectively to continually move forward. Radical innovators tend to view their organizations as portfolios of RRI’s leading to The Big Game. Sun Tzu, a great Chinese military general, was very insightful when he once said, “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” – how accurate that statement is.

It is the role of the Extreme Global Leader to provide a structure that enables the creation of a culture of execution that drives unity of purpose, alignment of commitments, coordinated action, and the ability for the global team to lead creatively in their problem-solving methodologies. Having a clear purpose for breakthrough performance enables the team to produce results that not only represent a global win, but that are critical to the journey toward the collective and interpersonal game-changing future. The Extreme Global Leader leverages opportunities to create Rapid Result Initiatives in which culturally disparate team members can successfully step outside their familiar frameworks to create a culture of execution. In doing so, global team members gain the freedom to think in new ways and forge a new culture based on common goals and values. As they begin to understand success as a global unit, they start to believe and see the game-changing future as entirely possible – they are suddenly vested in winning the Big Game.

How game-changing futures come to be, and the challenges the leaders of these innovations face, create valuable lessons for the Extreme Global Leader willing to listen and learn. If astute, you will continually re-think what is possible in an ever-changing global environment. In so doing, the capability to deliver powerful, execution-driven global teams will emerge. Teams globally aligned around the accomplishment of unified impossible futures, as well as achieving specific breakthrough business results through RRI’s, are teams destined for unimaginable global success. After all, Extreme Global Leaders develop in the process of creating Extreme Global Results!

You can contact me at Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next Thursday for the next installation  of Leadership Across Boundaries & Borders.

Becoming an Extreme Global Leader is more than just a title or buzzword – it is hard work.  It requires unprecedented levels of innovation and a commitment to the organization and its constituents across the globe, as well as the ability to continually inspire and motivate others to succeed. One key way to achieve ongoing innovation and global results is through the creation of an execution culture.

Every leader has an opportunity to accelerate progress in their global organization through the deployment of Rapid Result Initiatives (RRI’s), which can be used to:

  • Increase current performance
  • Strengthen collaboration
  • Facilitate innovation
  • Demonstrate success in the process of executing a winning game-plan

RRI’s are small, high leverage wins that build the capacity for large-scale change, as well as momentum toward the game-changing future. Extreme Global Leaders understand they must calculate their steps and fully understand what they have and how to use it most effectively to continually move forward. Radical innovators tend to view their organizations as portfolios of RRI’s leading to The Big Game. Sun Tzu, a great Chinese military general, was very insightful when he once said, “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” – how accurate that statement is.

It is the role of the Extreme Global Leader to provide a structure that enables the creation of a culture of execution that drives unity of purpose, alignment of commitments, coordinated action, and the ability for the global team to lead creatively in their problem-solving methodologies. Having a clear purpose for breakthrough performance enables the team to produce results that not only represent a global win, but that are critical to the journey toward the collective and interpersonal game-changing future. The Extreme Global Leader leverages opportunities to create Rapid Result Initiatives in which culturally disparate team members can successfully step outside their familiar frameworks to create a culture of execution. In doing so, global team members gain the freedom to think in new ways and forge a new culture based on common goals and values. As they begin to understand success as a global unit, they start to believe and see the game-changing future as entirely possible – they are suddenly vested in winning the Big Game.

How game-changing futures come to be, and the challenges the leaders of these innovations face, create valuable lessons for the Extreme Global Leader willing to listen and learn. If astute, you will continually re-think what is possible in an ever-changing global environment. In so doing, the capability to deliver powerful, execution-driven global teams will emerge. Teams globally aligned around the accomplishment of unified impossible futures, as well as achieving specific breakthrough business results through RRI’s, are teams destined for unimaginable global success. After all, Extreme Global Leaders develop in the process of creating Extreme Global Results!

You can contact me at Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next Thursday for the next installation  of Leadership Across Boundaries & Borders.