Developing a Global Mindset for Leadership Development


Developing a Global Mindset for Leadership Development

By Nancy Zentis, IOD

Few organizations are prepared for developing global leaders to successfully lead their global business strategies. Global leaders need to develop different skills and capabilities, earlier in their careers to develop a global mindset.

Organizations fail to effectively to develop Global Leaders because:

  • They lack a framework for identifying global leadership talent
  • Maintain inadequate talent management practices
  • Lack of a global competency model
  • Lack of appropriate global leader development

Developing a global mindset requires more than a global job experience. It also requires living and working with diverse cultures in different countries.  To be successful, global leaders must be deeply emerged in another culture, and begin to assess our basic assumptions about ourselves and differences in others. A global leader with a global mindset must be able to work and live comfortably with others and embrace their culture.

Global leaders need to be open to learning how to work with other leaders who have significantly different styles and varied approaches to leadership. They must lead people who are radically different, be open to differences and accept it.

Steps to Develop a Global Leadership Development Program

The first step in developing a global leadership development strategy is to determine a more systemic and strategic approach to how global leaders are selected and developed.

  1. Identify the unique capabilities required by global leaders.
  2. Develop a separate competency framework to identify potential global leaders that aligns with your global business strategy.
  3. Assess performance, potential, readiness and job fit for executives, leadership and high-potentials.
  4. Integrate
these concepts into your talent management system.
  5. Start developing your global leaders earlier in their careers
and require international experience before entry into senior management roles.
  6. Select people who have the right attributes, ensure the experience is real and challenging, provide the right support to the leader and his or her family and most important, perhaps, plan for re-entry.
  7. Deliver high-impact leadership development experiences.
  8. Provide succession risk analyses, talent review sessions and deployment strategies.
  9. Provide dashboards to track and monitor results.

Identify A Global Competency Framework

 Global Skillsets – Catalytic learning capacity; Sense of adventure; Entrepreneurial spirit; Sensitivity and responsiveness to cultural differences

Technical – Acquiring and maintaining in-depth knowledge in your field or area of focus; Using your expertise and specialized knowledge to study issues and draw conclusions

Strategic – Taking a long-range, broad approach to problem-solving and decision making through objective analysis, thinking ahead and planning; Effective Communicator – stating clearly what you want and expect from others; clearly expressing your thoughts and ideas; maintaining a constant flow of information

Global Mindset – Perception – ability to view the situation from a multi-dimensional perspective; Ability to lead multicultural teams; Ability to create a sophisticated network of work and personal relationships; Cultural literacy – ability to learn, embrace and appreciate other’s cultures; Context – specific leadership capabilities; Compassion – showing a good deal of energy, intensity and emotional expression; having a capacity for keeping others enthusiastic and involved; Influencing Others– building commitment by convincing others and winning them over to your point of view; Collaborative – valuing the ideas and opinions of others and collecting their input as part of your decision-making process

Global Leadership – Comfort with cultural complexity and its contradictions; Opportunity sensing for the uncertainty of global markets; Systems thinking in global contexts; Extended time perspective. Showing Empathy – listen and understanding of others, demonstrating an active concern; Being Inclusive and encouraging dialogue creating a more inclusive decision-making style and forming supportive relationships with others; Accommodating – willing to defer your own objectives to assist colleagues with theirs

Identify Assessments

Identifying specific assessment tools that fit your global strategy for the leadership team at the CEO and senior team level, leadership, and high potentials are essential. Assess their performance, potential readiness, and succession opportunities to grow performance and maximize future impact.

  • Global competency and culture models
  • Behavioral interviews
  • Global business simulations
  • 360-degree feedback
  • Personality testing – Emotional Intelligence, Culture Preferences, etc.

Global Leadership development – Identify Development opportunities that target different stages of the leadership pipeline and are tailored according to individual company cultures and organizational needs.

Developing fundamental leadership and management skills, self-reflection and capabilities to lead individuals and teams:

  • Leading others – Provide training and coaching to help senior leaders effectively demonstrate global competencies. Hold them accountable and tie to performance.
  • Global Leadership – Prepare senior leaders and enhance their effectiveness by providing experiences that focus on leadership obstacles, system thinking, globalization, and cross-business work.
  • Leading organizations – Implement action learning programs to prepare senior leaders for a complex environment, including leading change, corporate social responsibility, global dynamics and business foresight while working on global business challenges.
  • Mentoring:  Identify mentors who can share their experience working in a global environment and help the leader through challenges and personal growth.
  • Coaching:  Provide a coach to support the leader during his or her development process and provide feedback.

In closing, I would like to add a few thoughts about the importance of addressing a global leader’s ability to recognize his or her perception and developing the ability to embrace, accept, and become integrated into the cultures and diverse groups they are working.  I think we can definitely take some lessons from these following thoughts on our perceptions and the importance of awareness and willingness to change.

Dalai Lama

Perception – “I find that because of modern technological evolution and our global economy, and as a result of the great increase in population, our world has greatly changed: it has become much smaller. However, our perceptions have not evolved at the same pace; we continue to cling to old national demarcations and the old feelings of ‘us’ and ‘them’.

“When we consider reality itself we quickly become aware of its infinite complexity, and we realize that our habitual perception of it is often inadequate.  If this were not so, the concept of deception would be meaningless.”

Eleanor Roosevelt: 

Perception – “If you can develop this ability to see what you look at, to understand its meaning, to readjust your knowledge to this new information, you can continue to learn and to grow as long as you live and you’ll have a wonderful time doing it.”


Dr. Nancy Zentis is the CEO of Institute of OD, offering online certification programs for those interested in Organization Development, Talent Management, Leadership Development and Executive Coaching, and OD Advanced Skills courses for ongoing learning.  She can be reached at  For more information about our certification programs and short courses, visit our website

Institute of Organization Development (IOD) offers state of the art online Leadership Development Certification Programs (LDCP) to help participants develop effective leadership development strategies to grow and develop leaders while advancing their career as a Leadership Development Strategist. This program provides participants with the tools and skills needed to guide senior leaders to design and implement a best practice Leadership Development Program.  After completing the program, you will gain a certification as a Leadership Development Professional and earn the distinction of LDCP.

The Leadership Development Certification Program (LDCP) is offered online over 8 months, 3 hours per month to advance your career in Leadership Development.  Each session is delivered through Go-to-training.  Our expert faculty provide interactive discussions, examples, tools, guidelines, and resources to enrich your learning.


This certification program provided me with the resources and tools I needed to implement an effective Leadership Development Strategy when working with executives during a coaching engagement.

The practical experience I learned during this program gave me the confidence to work with executives to create an aligned Leadership Development Strategy.


It’s Time Leadership Caught Up with Global Growth Strategies, by Patricia Milligan, President of Mercer’s Human Capital Business.

The Global Leader’s Journey: Success Strategies for Navigating the New World of Work, by Helen Peters–Leadership Development, Torchiana, Mastrov & Sapiro.

Making the most of Global Assignments, by Michael F. Tucker, Chief Learning Officer, October 2017.

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Carlton Abrams DALAI LAMA, DESMOND TUTU and DOUGLAS CARLTON ABRAMS


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