Think Global to Compete and Cooperate

Do you have a ‘global‘ job title? If no, you probably should.

Local-Global Tension

Work and business are no longer local. If you have a website, you are part of the global economy. You need to be a global thinker.

But … as our CEO, Bob Rosen, points out in his book, Grounded, “While most business may be global, most markets are local … your customers and competitors have certain needs that are culturally based … It’s vital to understand these cultures.”

This is where things can get complex. You have to make daily decisions to move the business forward. If you only factor global consequences, you may suffer local backlash and vice-versa.

Compete AND Cooperate

One of the biggest changes the new economy is forcing on leaders is the ability to cooperate simultaneously (to get and keep client business or partner with competitors) and compete (for internal resources or external clients). Most of us grew up in companies learning to compete for resources, for customers, for budgets, for rewards. It was about winning. But the “I win, you lose” attitude in today’s complex business environment will only backfire on you.

Lost in Translation

Balancing this tension between cooperation and competition is tough. Healthy leaders rely on their global, cultural and collaboration skills to make the right decisions.

If you find yourself having ‘lost in translation’ moments, you need to get grounded in cultural and global literacy. You don’t need to necessarily travel the world to have the business acumen to be a global thinker. But you do have to have a feeling of a global connectedness that transcends cultures as well as borders.

How can you get that feeling?

Invest in your learning. Even a huge corporation like GE expects its professional team to invest in self-directed learning. Here are a few of ideas…

A couple times a week, rather than watching a local news channel, switch to an international news or business channel.

Read global news outlets on your Kindle or iPad – China Daily Times, London Times, CNN International, etc.

Research the cultural backgrounds represented on your team. Strike up a conversation (not work- related) with your peers and staff, who are from different cultures.

Get to know the cultural context of your vendors.

Learn another language.

Subscribe to international-focused podcasts and vlogs or country-specific podcasts.

Ask for an international assignment.

Visit a new foreign country on your next vacation.

Change your Twitter trends setting to Worldwide Trends. Follow a different foreign trend daily.

Make a music playlist for a different country for each day of the week. Listen on your way to work.

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