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Socrates’ ancient advice, “Know thyself,” has endless modern applications, and that includes global business. Relevant, accurate self-assessment can provide a roadmap for success.
Such assessment is built into the entire experience at Thunderbird. Whether online, in class or in applied learning labs, you’ll hear a lot about something called “global mindset” – but what exactly is it, and what does it look like in action?
Global mindset refers to the set of qualities and attributes that help a manager influence individuals, groups, and organizations from other parts of the world – it’s part personality, part know-how, like the ability to overcome cross-cultural differences in negotiations or avoid gift-giving gaffes and other cultural missteps.
Thunderbird Professor Mansour Javidan and his team have spent years researching, identifying, and teaching these concepts. They built a tool – the Global Mindset Inventory (GMI) – that measures three primary dimensions: global intellectual capital, global psychological capital, and global social capital. (To read more about the three types of capital, download the Global Mindset flipbook.)
Javidan says global mindset is the difference between failure and success. Fortunately, it’s not static – so yes, you can grow your global mindset! All Thunderbird graduate students take the GMI before starting their programs and then again after they graduate. Across the board, their scores improve significantly. Executive education participants have the chance to assess and improve their global mindsets at Thunderbird in the same manner. It's one of Thunderbird's most intriguing differentiators.
“In international business, global mindset is the difference between failure and success.” – Click to tweet
So what does global mindset look like in action? Read on:
When Johnson & Johnson faced a crisis in Brazil, a new leader with a global mindset made all the difference. The company had thrived there during decades of military rule, but in the 1990s when the Brazilian government opened up the economy, the company’s fortunes turned. “Our competitors were moving faster than us,” explained one executive at the time.
In 2000, Johnson & Johnson tapped Jose Antonio Justino as its new managing director. Justino understood his native Brazilian culture, but he also brought international experience and a global mindset to the job. Justino skillfully assessed the situation and led the company through change in a complex environment. By 2005, costs had come down while sales, profits, and employee satisfaction had increased.
So, how are leaders with global mindset like Justino developed? Thunderbird Professor Mary Teagarden offers these four best practices:
“Global leaders need international perspectives and exposure starting early in their careers.” – Click to tweet
The warriors, philosophers, and politicians of history believed a negotiation hinged on which party had all the power. But times have changed, and so must negotiations, says Thunderbird Professor Karen Walch, whose expertise is in international negotiation, cultural competencies, and global mindset.
Rather than crushing opponents, 21st century negotiators in a global economy “often find themselves in situations where they must build lasting relationships of trust,” Walch says. “They understand the miracle of trade and the value of shared mutual outcomes.”
Using a “power of understanding” approach instead of the historical “coercive power” approach can help negotiators achieve outcomes that don’t come at the at the expense of others, Walch says. In other words: win-win. (Learn more in “Nine Secrets of Negotiation Power.")
“Successful negotiators today rely on the power of understanding – not coercive power.” – Click to tweet
Of course, it’s a big world out there, so you might have to negotiate with someone who sticks to hardball tactics and shuns transparency and civility. Still, you don’t have to play that way. With a global mindset and good preparation, it’s possible to lower the tension and build mutual trust and respect. (If you find yourself in that kind of a situation, here are 6 ways to respond.)
With more than 42,000 alumni in 48 nations, Thunderbird’s alumni network is the envy of business schools everywhere, not just because of those numbers but because of our graduates’ abilities and achievements.