Leadership development: developing global minded leaders

July 22, 2015 by Wally Bock

We’ve come a long way. What is now the Thunderbird School of Global Management was founded in 1946 as the American Institute for Foreign Trade.

Leadership development for “over there”

For years the programs trained college graduates in the skills needed for managing a US company’s interests in a “foreign” country. In 1961, the Institute and its programs were described as:

“America’s most effectual institution for the practical training of college graduates in foreign trade. The American Institute offers a 3-part curriculum designed to train its potential junior executives in day-to-day foreign trade techniques, the living culture of the peoples of world market areas, and a foreign language.”

For a long time, the foreign languages were limited to Spanish and Portuguese. The “living cultures” were mostly in Central and South America.

Leadership development for a global world

The Institute for Corporate Productivity and the American Management Association have just released The 2015 Global Leadership Development Study. Here’s the view of Kevin Martin, i4cp’s Chief Research Officer.

“We’re seeing a trend emerge from our research that indicates that organizations must look at leaders through a different lens. Business skills and acumen remain critical, but are now table stakes. It’s the ability to influence and drive collaboration across cultures, boundaries, and borders that has the greater variability on global leadership effectiveness and can make the biggest difference.”

It’s a big shift

The shift in language represents a huge shift in understanding. Not that long ago, we were preparing a limited number of people for “foreign,” exotic assignments. Now we’re preparing leaders who will spend their entire careers in global organizations.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Leadership Development

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