An article by Andréa de Paula Santos, Partner at Ascend Executive Search – Brazil.
We live in a time where the internet gives us unlimited access to knowledge and information; virtual communication allows contact with diverse cultures, travelling around the world is more and more accessible and common, and geographical boundaries are no barriers to accessing cultural, political, and economic realities worldwide. In such an environment, a global mindset for executives dealing with international businesses is a given at first sight.
But, what are the competencies then that make any of us a global mindset person? Let’s pick one definition that can give us an idea.
According to the author of “Being Global II: Global Leaders Have a Global Mind” published by Forbes in 2012, “ Global mindset can be defined as the ability to perceive and decode behaviours in multiple cultural contexts. It is an ability to connect with people from other cultures on an intellectual as well as emotional level. Culture dictates how we dress, the food we eat, the language we speak, and the stories we tell. The global mindset is thus the capacity to appreciate the differences among cultures and bridge the interfaces between them. Leaders with a global mindset can view situations from various perspectives, develop trusting relationships with individuals from different contexts, and identify promising routes to successful collaboration.”
By taking a close look at this definition from the many articles and studies available about global mindset, the opportunity comes for a reflection about how prepared we are to deal with a function globally and what we can improve.
Let’s pick Brazil, the only Portuguese-speaking country in Latin America to expand this opportunity. Starting from the language uniqueness, many others are to be considered. One of them is that Brazilians value job titles. They do and it makes a difference to their decision to join a company if they are called Director instead of Manager. A second situation that usually causes surprise is the “dissídio”, which is an annual increase to the employee’s salary defined by the employer with unions and granted by law. No meritocracy is applied to this adjustment in salary. A third situation is cultural: Brazilians tend to avoid conflicts and value an indirect communication style. Therefore, a very straightforward way to communicate with them may lead to total silence and no collaboration at all.
Meeting the global mindset standard is a challenge and a chance to develop our competencies to listen, learn, understand, and give adequate answers to each one of the contexts we face. Being global demands a lot in terms of adaptation and is not a simple act. So, if we become open to learning more from facing facts that are unknown, maybe we are on the right path to becoming a global mindset person.