Despite the growing imperative for organizations to adopt a global mindset, it seems they have made little progress toward that goal during the past year. This was the finding of a new study, “Global Leadership Development: Knowledge Immersion Now,” issued today by American Management Association and i4cp at the SHRM 2014 Annual Conference and Exposition held in Orlando.
The study featured the findings of a survey of more than 1,000 senior business and human resource executives from 57 countries.
While the proportion of firms addressing global leadership grew from 31% in 2010 to 44% in 2014, a majority of organizations still have yet to make an effort to develop a global mindset, according to the survey, which has been conducted yearly since 2010. Even among large employers, just 54% maintain a current focus on global leadership, either as part of a distinct global leadership development program or within a general leadership development curriculum.
At the same time, organizations have grown more critical of their programs’ overall effectiveness, as compared to prior years. In 2010, 42% considered their programs to have been effective, either to a high or very high extent. In 2014, however, that dropped to 19%. Although the “effective” rating was higher among large employers, it was just barely so, at 21%.
“The latest findings reflect the sad state of global leadership development, yet they also may guide future improvement” said Jennifer Jones, Director at AMA Enterprise, a specialized division of American Management Association that provides organizations with assessment, measurement, and tailored training solutions. “Indeed, for companies investing millions in creating a global leadership outlook, there seems little to show for it.”
“Developing leaders with global skills and competencies is about enabling the organization to operate more effectively on a global basis,” said Jones. “But it’s also about creating a more inclusive culture and equipping leaders to be better at collaborating with, coaching, and influencing employees of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and customs. Global leadership isn’t just the ‘latest trend,’ but something essential for an organization’s future growth and success.”
According to Kevin Martin, Chief Research Officer for i4cp, the new study identified several elements that promise to improve program effectiveness in a meaningful way. “Companies have to ratchet up efforts to develop leaders with global skills and competencies…preferably within a distinct global leadership development program, but at least by including such curriculum within a general leadership development program.”
The study offers four recommendations:
• Focus selection on behaviors, not buddies
: Selection of participants in global leadership development programs is best made with objective evidence by those who have observed and documented behaviors related to skills and competencies, as well as the individual’s performance track record and the use of behavioral assessments.
• Look longer-term; it pays off
: Develop curriculum based on the future-focused skills and competency needs of the business.
• Global leaders should be both collaborative and influential
: These skills are brought to bear in teaching employees with diverse learning styles and in leading virtual teams.
• Global leaders must develop local knowledge
: Immersion in the cultures and customs of local markets is essential for creating a global leadership development curriculum, building competencies, and delivering learning.
Jennifer Jones noted: “The good news is that companies now think more broadly about global leadership development and have higher expectations for such programs. Companies worldwide, both public and private, as well as governments, want their employees to master the global skills and competencies needed to work optimally with customers, suppliers, colleagues, and distributors from a wide variety of cultures around the world.”
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In its fifth annual survey, AMA Enterprise partnered with the i4cp and Training magazine to track current trends in global leadership development. The study population consisted primarily of senior-level business, human resource, and management professionals and was drawn from AMA and its global affiliates, i4cp’s global survey panel, and subscribers to Training magazine. The survey population was 1,030 with participants from 57 countries.
A majority of the organizations represented in the survey are headquartered in North America.
With more than 90 years’ experience and headquartered in New York, American Management Association is a global leader of comprehensive talent development. AMA Enterprise, a specialized division of AMA dedicated to building corporate and government learning and training solutions, transforms enterprise-wide talent to fuel innovation, high performance, and optimal business results.
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