Conclusion: The Essential Key for Global Leaders is Global Intelligence - Igor Poza
As companies expand their businesses globally, the demand for true global leaders is significantly increasing. Successfully leading an international business is a challenging task that requires a specific understanding of how to align employees and their cultural differences with the company’s missions and values. So does a leader do that? How do you implement all that in an easier way for employees to understand? How will it affect the company if not integrated?
Before starting the Global Intelligence series, I read two insightful books about leadership: The Heart of Business by Hubert Joly and Discover Your True North by Bill George. Together, the two books provided a perfect breakdown that is necessary to develop a successful leadership journey. After reflecting on the contents and coming to a realization of how leadership models are a constant variable, it further allowed me to value the importance of “global intelligence’ in an international business setting.
In addition to reading the insightful books, I also attended the Leading Global Businesses at Harvard Business School Executive Education, co-led by Bill George and Hubert Joly. The highly personalized global leadership program was geared toward developing global intelligence and personal effectiveness in leading global businesses. They covered diverse topics like strategy, customer-centric marketing, and global organizations’ and teams’ structure and operation.
“To create dynamic global strategies and adaptive organizational structures, today’s leaders must understand the global context of their business and possess awareness of how geopolitical events can impact it.”
As I started my journey of sharing what global intelligence entails, I learned that when global leaders lack leadership qualities, it is because they lack global intelligence. When leaders have a good understanding of what global intelligence can do for a company and leader as a whole, it leads with purpose and humanity, creating genuine human connections and inspiring employees to be more confident in their decisions and actions.
After reading his book and listening to him speak, I further came across another article by Bill George, People + Strategy: The New Global Leaders, that further explained the 7 elements (which I’ve compiled into 5) that make up global intelligence, all of which are essential for global leaders.
“Being exposed to different cultures helped me decode how culture is influencing your international teamwork and building trust effectively with those from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. Communication and human connections with local people allow you to grow cultural sensitivity and contribute to building a stronger global brand.
“Cultural sensitivity is an ever-continuous progress path which results in evolving our communication to others with greater sharpness in being more open and empathetic. It naturally leads to less prejudice and inequity and allows building constructive and efficient working relationships between co-workers from different countries and cultures.”
“Awareness is a state of knowing and being informed of something, while adaptability is the quality of being able to adjust to new conditions. These 2 conditions play hand in hand when it comes to being in an unfamiliar environment.
“Firstly it’s about the environment that you are in and how you increase your self-awareness through introspection and feedback. Then, how do you, as an individual, adapt yourself to these new factors. We need to figure out a way to always balance both, then will we be able to reach maximum adaptability.”
“Empathy is the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes, understanding where they are coming from and what they are trying to say. Empathy leads us not only to experience the feelings of another but also to reflect on those feelings and compare them to our own.
“Cultural empathy is simply having an appreciation and consideration of the differences and similarities of another culture in comparison to one’s own. People, leaders nonetheless, with cultural empathy are more tolerant of differences and accepting of those from other cultures.”
“Cultural empathy is an important cultural aspect that requires high emotional intelligence and in a cross-cultural work environment, it is required of leaders with high humility to be able to empathize with team members.”
“Organizational alignment entails “agreement or cooperation among persons or groups with a common cause or viewpoint” in the workplace. As such it requires leadership and precise communication. It is the leader’s responsibility to unify the workforce around a common purpose — the company’s mission, vision, and values — and it is crucial that everyone have a clear understanding of these goals”
“Integrating local markets into a greater strategy weaves your brand into the structure of those markets, serving populations that you may have been overlooking. A deep understanding of the needs of local markets allows for you to leverage the unique strengths of your brand in order to deliver the solutions consumers are searching for.”
Business leaders have found immense success in their leadership journeys by following the elements mentioned. A higher cultural understanding makes everyone a stronger connector, someone who empowers people and grows businesses sustainably. I have had the opportunity to work for European and American companies, from Paris, Hong Kong, and New York City, and have witnessed many cultures along the way — this has not only increased my cultural sensitivity, but has also helped me build upon my own sense of global intelligence.
Global Intelligence is an ever-evolving and dynamic variable. As the saying goes, “You learn something new every day”, the same concept goes for culture. Today’s world is rapidly changing, and leaders need to understand how to respond while also respecting the cultures in which the business takes place. The Global Intelligence series is a living document and just as the world evolves, so will this series.
The Global Intelligence Series:
The Essential Key for Global Leaders is Global Intelligence - Igor Poza
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About Igor Poza: Igor is a Global Brand and Team builder in Luxury Leather Goods and Cosmetics with 25+ years of comprehensive experience, both in headquarters and subsidiaries of Multi-billion Fortune 500, Family-owned businesses and private equity-owned startups. He has expertise in multi-channel retail and multicultural management. His cultural intelligence allows him to bring people together and transform businesses. He currently serves as the Chief Commercial Officer at Mansur Gavriel.