One of the things I loved most about my career at Baxter – and now teaching at Kellogg – is the fantastic global experience; the opportunity to work with people around the world and gain a truly global perspective of not only business, but cultures, values, religions, history, languages, philosophies, and I could go on and on! I get excited just by thinking about it.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to teach my “Leading a Global Company” class at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) for the Kellogg-HKUST Executive MBA. This was my second year of teaching in the program.
The current group of students (KH18) is a very engaging team of senior executives working in countries all over Asia. The diversity of ideas and opinions, and the ability to look at business issues from many perspectives was fascinating.
Gaining a global perspective builds on my second leadership principle of BALANCE: taking the time to understand “all sides of the story”. One of my students from KH18, Stephanie Hermawan, has a prayer of St. Francis of Assisi on her desk that summarizes the concept perfectly: “To understand rather than being understood”.
It is clear that if you are going to be successful in leading a global enterprise, you better have a global perspective. Some examples:
–providing and receiving feedback will be very different depending on the country and culture
–how one challenges your boss (or “leads up”) will be very different
–how women manage and lead will be very different
–how one deals with the government and regulatory bodies
–how a leader prepares his teams for change, controversies and crises
I wish the KH18 team all the best as they lead their organizations forward around the globe!!