Managers with cross-cultural perspectives are in high demand because of their extensive international experience and ability to create value by helping their organizations adopt a global perspective. As a result, companies are seeking to develop global leaders.
The authors discuss how the pool of global elite is making a difference in the world and why it is not an exclusive group, despite its name. Furthermore, they give advice for those who may want to join the group and become global leaders.
How Is This Article Useful to Practitioners?
The authors describe a clear path for any manager who wants to join the global elite. They suggest starting the journey by acquiring the knowledge, skills, and perspective needed for the role by simply thinking and doing. Learning by thinking can be done by observing, asking questions, studying in either a formal or informal educational pursuit, and opening up the mind by working in different countries and cultures. Learning by doing can be accomplished by cultivating contacts in different countries and cultures, tapping into such existing networks as alumni groups, and working with others through cross-cultural collaborations. The authors urge managers to connect people in their network with each other, travel internationally, and learn to speak a foreign language. The process of learning by thinking and doing will cultivate in managers a willingness to take risks.
After building the competencies, managers need to look for ways to create value by, on the one hand, finding divergent trends in customer preferences and markets, and on the other hand, looking for commonalities across broad regions. The global networks built earlier in a career will actually help leverage such trends and create value.
The last step is to start transcending the boundaries of commerce to become a global citizen and serve the world in positive ways. This transition involves forging productive partnerships with governments, businesses, and civil societies that have lasting effects in communities around the world.
The authors give a clear-cut, action-oriented strategy for any manager, regardless of his or her country or background, on what is needed to join the pool of global elite managers.