Global Explorers: The Next Generation of Leader by J. Stewart Black, Allen J. Morrison, and Hal B. Gregersen Routledge, 1999, 256 pages, $27.50
Few corporations and industries are untouched by the globalization of the world's economies. As a result, future managers must possess the skills and personal characteristics that will allow them to manage global workforces in global markets.
But what is a global leader? What specifically are the experiences and characteristics required for global leadership? How does one acquire those characteristics? These are the questions addressed in Global Explorers, a work by three academics based on interviews with 130 senior executives in 50 companies worldwide. The result is an insightful model for global leadership built on four personality traits:
Inquisitiveness. Global leaders, write the authors, love to learn. They are excited about discovering new lands, cultures, habits, methods, or philosophies.
Perspective. Global leaders have a unique dual perspective that allows them to see the global picture while recognizing the importance of local input.
Character. Globalization requires balancing many cultures and mind-sets. They must, for example, be able to resolve the sometimes thorny ethical challenges raised by different value systems. The key is character, a strong sense of personal integrity to anchor the leader in sometimes stormy seas.
Savvy. Global leaders are quick, perceptive, and ready to recognize and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
While the authors focus on the personal characteristics that apply to any global situation, they also argue that roughly one-third of what makes a global leader successful arises from business-specific dynamics. Specifically, different leadership qualities are needed for different countries, industries, companies, and functions. There is, in other words, no one-size-fits-all recipe for global leaders.
Well written, packed with examples, Global Explorers is highly recommended for anyone who aspires to a top leadership role in the global 2000s.