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Being global – what does it really mean?

April 23, 2012

Ángel Cabrera believes that global leaders can be made – he’s the president of Thunderbird School of Global Management, so it’s his job to say this.

“Truly global leaders”, he says, “act as bridge builders, connectors of resources and talent across cultural and political boundaries — relentlessly dedicated to finding new ways of creating value. They don’t just think and act global, they are global.”

Thunderbird’s research into how to best develop global leaders, surveying thousands of managers around the world helped them identify three critical skill sets that are essential for effective global leadership:

1. global mindset,

2. global entrepreneurship, and

3. global citizenship.

Associated with these 3 skills set are the 3 tasks of the global leader:

Connecting, creating, and contributing are the three core tasks that make or break a global leader.”

So where are the living examples?

Samuel Palmisano, IBM’s chairman and former CEO, recognized that IBM’s traditional hierarchical structure would not be effective in the 21st century. With 440,000 employees in 170 countries, Palmisano recognized that IBM couldn’t be run solely from the top; and in 2003 he reorganized the company into an “integrated global enterprise” focused on worldwide collaboration.

In a speech on IBM’s 100th anniversary, he said:

The old model of the heroic superman is increasingly archaic. The most active and successful leaders today see themselves as part of the global community and peer groups. They listen as well as they speak.”

You can read up on his own words here.


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