• Entrepreneur of the Month

Mansour Javidan Helps Us Think Globally

AUGUST 2013: HOW TO BECOME A GLOBAL LEADER

By Hope Katz Gibbs, Founder and Publisher
Be Inkandescent magazine

When it comes to thinking globally, Mansour Javidan, PhD, is an expert. He’s the director of the Najafi Global Mindset Institute, and Garvin Distinguished Professor at Thunderbird School of Global Management.

He also is the past president and chairman of the board of directors of the world-renowned research project on executive performance and leadership known simply as GLOBE, an acronym for Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness.

This project’s ongoing research involves 825 organizations in 62 countries, and just produced a third book, “Strategic Leadership Across Cultures,” on CEO effectiveness across 24 countries.

What impact do cultural preferences have on the way the people of a country behave—and on how business owners should respond?

To find out, Javidan put his research to the test when he took a four-year sabbatical from his university teaching duties to work with the CEO of TransCanada PipeLines, a multibillion-dollar Canadian energy company. He was instrumental in helping the CEO develop new directions and strategies, and facilitate cultural change within the company and its pipeline business. And he was directly involved in the acquisition of a $15 billion corporation, the largest such merger at the time in Canada.

The merger resulted in the formation of the fourth-largest energy services company in the world. Javidan established a process for new business development that involved more than 200 employees throughout the company and proposed new business ideas that produced an estimated $50 million in net after-tax earnings.

I sat down with Dr. Javidan recently to discuss his latest publication, “Developing Your Global Mindset: The Handbook for Successful Global Leaders,” co-authored with Jennie Walker, PhD.

Are you ready to develop your global mindset? Scroll down for our Q&A with Javidan. And click here for our podcast interview on the Inkandescent Radio Network.

Be Inkandescent: Let’s talk about “mastering the art of global leadership.” What does that mean exactly?

Mansour Javidan: In most industries, growth is coming through globalization. Companies are looking for new markets in other countries; they’re looking for supply-chain partners in other parts of the world, and also talent pools in different parts of the world. Corporations are globalizing.

Be Inkandescent: What is the impact of that very simple idea—a company wants to explore global markets—on the day-to-day activities of a typical manager or entrepreneur?

Mansour Javidan: As the company globalizes, a typical manager will be increasingly asked to work effectively with people who are from different parts of the world. It doesn’t matter where the manager was raised, as much as where the people are from with whom the manager is working. That is the crux of the HR challenges that businesses are facing. Think back to your own elementary and high school education, your teachers’ advice, and the textbooks you read—did they teach you to live and work with people who are different from you? The answer, when I asked thousands of managers, is, “No.” Most of us have learned how to live and work with people who are “like me.” That’s what societies do, that’s how they educate their kids.

Be Inkandescent: So increasingly, companies are saying to their people, “Yeah, it’s good that you can work with people who are like you, but I need you to work with people who are different from you.”

Mansour Javidan: Right. And a typical manager is scratching his or her head, saying, “Well, what the hell does that mean? I never trained for that, I never developed for that.” There is a real disconnect between what the companies are very logically asking of their managers and how managers are developed as human beings.

Be Inkandescent: So, is the issue of global leadership how to increase your influence?

Mansour Javidan: Yes, leadership is about influence. The question is, how do you influence people who are different from you? Many of us now work with employees in many different countries, and we’ve discovered not one single company that would say it has an oversupply of global leaders. Every company we know of tells us it has a shortage of global leaders. The reason is obvious: People are developed as local leaders, and companies are asking them to think globally. The focus now is to decide what kind of training, what kind of development, what kind of support does the corporation, does the individual, need to figure this thing out and be successful at that.

Don’t Stop Now! Click here learn about Javidan and Walker’s Nine Steps to Creating a Global Mindset in our August 2013 column, Tips for Entrepreneurs.

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