Anyone can grow their Global Mindset, and improve their ability to thrive in global business. Learn how.

This article is derived from the multimedia flipbook “To Succeed In Global Business, A Global Mindset Is Essential.” For a complimentary download of the flipbook, visit 

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Global Mindset is the set of individual qualities and attributes that help a manager influence individuals, groups, and organizations from other parts of the world.

Some people have a naturally higher Global Mindset than others. But anyone can grow their Global Mindset, and improve their ability to thrive in global business. A perfect example: all graduate students at Thunderbird take the Global Mindset Inventory shortly before beginning their programs – and then once again just before they graduate. Across the board, students’ scores improve significantly.

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“Global Mindset can be learned,” explains Thunderbird Professor Mansour Javidan, who teaches Global Mindset to graduate students. That’s the Global Mindset for Strategic Leadership program; learn about it at

 How to Build a Global Mindset*

Building intellectual capital – You cannot effectively influence people who are different from you without a good understanding of what those differences are. Intellectual capital is by far the easiest of the three types of capital to develop. Most managers who are very successful on the domestic front – those managers likely to be given developmental global assignments – simply need to make the effort to acquire it.

Building psychological capital – This is the most difficult type of capital to develop because there are limits to how much you can (or should try to) change your personality. Start with deep reflection on two questions, which will increase your self-awareness and, ideally, inspire a desire to change. First, ask yourself, “How do I feel about people, places, and things that are foreign to me? Why?” And second, ask, “Do I feel the need to change my feelings in any way? Why? What’s in it for me?”

 “Anyone can grow their Global Mindset, and improve their ability to thrive in global business.” – Click to tweet 

Building social capital – This type of capital is largely relationship-based and acquired through experience. However, it is possible to increase your ability to emotionally connect with people who are different from you – people not just from other countries but from other subcultures within your own country. The trick is to widen your circle of social interaction to include individuals with interests that diverge from yours.

 *From the Harvard Business Review article Managing Yourself: Making It Overseas by Thunderbird professors Mansour Javidan, Mary Teagarden, and David Bowen.

Global Mindset for Strategic Leadership
October 22-24, 2017 | Dubai, UAE

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Networking to grow your global mindset

When T-birds find themselves preparing to go to a new country or region, and don’t have the social capital they’d like to, they pick up the phone and call a fellow T-bird. Whether it’s for a few cultural tips on doing business in Japan or referrals to suppliers in Mexico, T-birds count on their network to connect with colleagues around the globe and to continue to grow their Global Mindset.

 “Count on your network to connect with colleagues around the globe and to continue to grow your Global Mindset.” – Click to tweet

Thunderbird’s research shows that having strong networks with people from other cultures is a key component of Global Mindset. Yet maintaining an active global network can be a challenge if you aren’t currently in a global role or if you are focused on a particular region. So here are seven tips to help you keep your global network alive – and your Global Mindset growing: 

  1. Connect with influential people in your own organization and industry – Identify key connections inside, across, and outside of your organization by asking colleagues. Then ask for a warm introduction.
  2. Build relationships before you need them – Periodically engage people in your network in dialogue. Friendly conversation is the starting point for deeper friendship and trust. This can be personally fulfilling, and it also opens doors to new information and new connections over time.
  3. Actively seek input from people in your network – Many people enjoy helping others by providing suggestions or pointing them to resources. It can be a great way to boost the confidence of your colleagues, as well as helping you with an issue at hand. Their ideas will enrich your work and will help you get to know them better too.
  4. Identify a mentor in your industry or organization who is good at networking and learn from him/her – Networking is an art. Those who are very good at it make it seem effortless. However, in reality these people are tending their connections in ways big and small on a continuous basis. Connect with people in your industry or organization who are very good at networking and ask them for their tips. Shadow them if you have the opportunity.
  5. Diversify your network – Examine how diverse your network is and make a concerted effort to connect with colleagues and business partners outside of your normal circles. Consider joining new professional or social organizations, or building your contacts in a particular field or region.
  6. Be a virtual extrovert – If you work on a virtual or geographically dispersed team, be sure to get to know your team members. Regularly foster those connections through a variety of communication methods. Email, phone, and web platforms are all useful for communicating messages, but make sure you make efforts in other ways too. Sharing interests, hobbies, and even photos adds a personal element that can create stronger bonds.
  7. Remember that it is the quality of your network, not the quantity that really counts – Don’t let your headcount on LinkedIn or other social professional networks fool you. Numbers mean nothing when those connections aren’t plugged in. While technology makes communication easier, the question remains: Are you fully plugged in?

Mansour Javidan teaches these concepts in depth in the Global Mindset for Strategic Leadership program, which is offered April 10-13 in Glendale, Arizona. Enhance your strategic global leadership perspectives and capabilities for increased influence across cultures and greater overall success with global responsibilities. Learn more about the Global Mindset for Strategic Leadership program.

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