An article by Andréa de Paula Santos, Partner at Ascend Executive Search – Brazil. 

We live in a time where internet gives us unlimited access to knowledge and information, virtual communication allows the contact with diverse cultures, travelling around the world is more and more accessible and common, geographical boundaries are no barriers to access cultural, political, economic realities worldwide. In such an environment, a global mindset for executives dealing with international businesses is a given at first sight.

But, what are the competencies then that make any of us a global mindset person? Let’s pick one definition that can give us an idea.

According to the author of “Being Global II: Global Leaders Have a Global Mind” published by Forbes in 2012, “ Global mindset can be defined as the ability to perceive and decode behaviours in multiple cultural contexts. It is an ability to connect with people from other cultures on an intellectual as well as emotional level. Culture dictates the way we dress, the food we eat, the language we speak, and the stories we tell. The global mindset is thus the capacity to appreciate the differences among cultures and bridge the interfaces between them. Leaders who possess a global mindset are able to view situations from a variety of perspectives, develop trusting relationships with individuals from different contexts, and identify promising routes to successful collaboration.”

By taking a close look at this definition from the many articles and studies available about global mindset, the opportunity comes for a reflexion about how prepared we really are to deal with a function globally and what we can improve.

To expand this opportunity, let’s pick Brazil, the only Portuguese speaking country in Latin America. Starting from the language uniqueness, many others are to be considered. One of them: Brazilians value job titles. They do and it makes a difference to their decision to join a company if they are called Director instead of Manager. A second situation that usually causes surprise is the “dissídio”, which is an annual increase to the employee’s salary defined by the employer with unions and granted by law. No meritocracy is applied to this adjustment in salary. A third situation is cultural: Brazilians tend to avoid conflicts and value an indirect style of communication. Therefore a very straight forward way to communicate with them may lead to total silence and no collaboration at all.

To meet the global mindset standard is a challenge and the chance to develop our competencies to listen, learn, understand and give adequate answers to each one of the contexts we face. Being global demands a lot in terms of adaptation and is not a simple act. So, if from facing facts that are unknown we become open to learning more, maybe, we are on the right way to be a global mindset person.

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