These global leaders must learn to be flexible in creating, accepting, and adapting to change; coping with the speed of international events and crises, including the speed of technology; and adapting to unique situations. They must have dynamic people skills, excellent communication abilities, and experience in multinational business environments. They need to be sensitive to the attitudes, behaviors, and traditions of all cultures, and become adept at empowering teams of employees from different countries.
Learning professionals have the opportunity to influence how organizations serve their global customers, manage global workforces, and tap into the global market. Are you equipped to help leaders understand the values and behaviors that not only drive others, but themselves also? As Maureen Rabotin wrote in her February 2009 T+D article on acquiring cultural synergistic intelligence, "Our cultural values drive our attitudes and behaviors, but it is cultural intelligence that enables us to refrain from moral judgment so that we better interact with others from diverse backgrounds."
Global leaders must be committed to developing an awareness of the values of cultures outside of their own, as well as the benefits that those cultures can bring to the table. Anyone serious about honing his skills to become an effective global leader must examine how individuals view their own country; the norms, values, and worldviews associated with that country; and the everyday happenings that take place inside its borders.
The cover story on page 40 highlights the importance of recognizing the influence of cultural differences and investing in cultural analysis when designing and implementing e-learning programs. Is your company dedicated to creating a culture of diversity and cultural sensitivity? Do you have a strategy in place to promote attitudes, behaviors, knowledge, and skills of diverse workers? Are you willing to design training programs and materials or implement programs that will be effective in different cultures and among diverse audiences?
Globalization is not going away. It's time to adopt a new mindset so that your work with employees from other cultures doesn't get lost in translation.