From the Desk of the President

Best Practices in Global Leadership Development

By Neal Goodman, Ph.D.

As global as our modern marketplace is, most organizations have yet to form a concrete plan for developing their leaders to be effective in this dynamic global environment.  Piecing together the smartest programs of the greatest global organizations, here are some “best practices” for global leadership development planning:

Take Note of the Newer Competencies that are Critical for Today’s Global Leaders:

According to current research, critical competencies for successful global leaders include: a global business mindset; a genuine curiosity about the cultures with which the organization is working most closely, collaborative leadership skills, creativity, innovation and vision, strong teambuilding, partnering and the ability to analyze an issue form more than one perspective.

Create a Global Leadership Curriculum that is Unique to your Organization:

Your global leadership development programming should be as unique as your organization itself.  Rather than using a canned university course, design one that encompasses your organization’s vision and mission and that takes advantage of you leaders’ specific strengths.  The curriculum should have clear milestones and metrics, and should be focused on your organization’s unique challenges

Emphasize Global Collaboration and Project Team Leadership:

Collaboration skills are critical for global leaders.  This refers to the “soft skillset” – not merely a familiarity with collaborative technologies. Global issues are most successfully resolved by seeking out perspectives from a variety of experiences, cultures, and thinking styles. Ideally, potential global leaders would meet their counterparts face-to-face for as long as it takes to get the global project underway and would then be able to work virtually across time zones and cultures to complete the project.

Emphasize Inclusiveness in Global Leadership Development Programs:

Involve employees who represent your current and future client base. Ideally, the cultural background of a company’s leadership should be close to proportionally reflective of the cultural backgrounds of its client base.

Provide International Assignment Opportunities to Future Leaders:

Future leaders should be encouraged, if not required, to undertake a global stretch assignment.  While many organizations simply see international assignments as a necessity to meet a functional need, the cultural integration process should be a true learning experience – both deliberate and observed.  In order to ensure success and leverage the experience, assignees should partake in cultural coaching and support.

Systematically Analyze and Leverage the Global Leadership Opportunity of an Overseas Assignment.

While some organizations do require an international assignment for global leaders, few leverage this investment by measuring the core competencies the assignees have gained.  

Provide Executive Coaching for Global Leaders:

While executive coaching has become the more commonplace, there are still few executive coaches who have the background to effectively train a global leader. A successful global executive coaching program focuses on issues specific to global work, and cultural nuances that would not be apparent to people without training in the field of intercultural interactions.



Neal Goodman is the president of Global Dynamics Inc.