Global Leadership – The Three Lenses

| By TMA World


In The Global Leader: Critical Factors for Creating the World-Class Organization (McGraw-Hill, 1997), I published a framework of global leadership competencies.  This framework proved to be useful for many TMA World clients for quite some time, but we can’t in all good conscience continue to apply it like it contains immortal truths about what it takes to be a global leader. 

My latest framework is called ‘Global Leadership: The Three Lenses’.  I dropped the original name ‘The Global Leadership Triad’ after some complained that I was associating global leadership with Chinese organized crime!!!  I suppose they may have had a point…

The Three Lenses framework consists of the following:

The Environmental Lens looks at global leadership from a macro perspective. What competencies do I need to lead effectively operating in a global company within a global environment? Competencies in this set are:

Ambassadorship: acts as role model for the global corporate culture and values, while ensuring that local cultures are respected and taken into account when making decisions, and for motivating employees and satisfying customers.

Digital Acumen: utilizes big data and the push and pull communication capabilities of new technologies to connect, engage, and leverage collective intelligence.

Organizational Know-How: knows how to get things done by capitalizing on capabilities and resources from across the enterprise and beyond

Strategic Learning: engages in ongoing strategy making through continuous inquiry and analysis of changes and trends in the global business environment.

Universal Perspective: weighs global (standardized) and local (specific) goals to make decisions that generate optimal results for the business.

The Interpersonal Lens looks at global leadership from a group perspective.  What competencies do I need to lead effectively across geographic, cultural, and other borders?

Collaboration: works together with others across borders and distances to create new value for the business.  The collaboration could take a number of forms – virtual project teams, communities of practice, and/or social networks.

Conflict Management & Negotiation: manages conflict constructively in a problem solving rather than confrontational way, and builds robust agreements across differences

Cultural Intelligence: develops and maintains productive relationships across cultural groups through developing self/other awareness and understanding, planning, and flexing.

Empathic Communication: Seeks first to understand and then be understood.  Listens to learn.  Attempts to look at the world through the eyes of others.

Networking: reaches out across boundaries to form strong and weak ties that enable the rapid flow of knowledge and expertise to support individual or shared goals.   

The Personal Lens looks at global leadership from an individual perspective.  What competencies do I need to lead effectively in this new world?

Confidence: believes he or she can make things work out and get results despite unfamiliarity, uncertainty, and complexity.  To succeed the global leader must be confident while avoiding arrogance.

Creativity: applies imagination and improvisation in situations that have not been encountered before.  Is willing to experiment and adapt.

Curiosity: creates opportunities to learn about self and others through training or real world experience and reflection.  Is not satisfied with surface understanding that can be misleading and destructive.

Expansive Thinking: understands the limitations of either/or thinking in a complex world full of dilemmas.

Resilience: keeps going when setbacks occur.  Always adopts a learning mindset in unfamiliar situations, and stays calm and controlled. Looks for a way forward rather give in to anxiety and stress

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