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Global Leadership Development

Preparing Leaders for a Globalized Market

By: I4CP


The state of global leadership development

The purposeful development of global competencies and capabilities among leaders is essential to organizational effectiveness and competitive edge.

This fifth iteration of the global leadership development (GLD) study shows little progress on the part of most employers in equipping their leaders to perform in a global environment. The proportion of firms addressing global leadership, either within a distinct GLD program or embedded within a general leadership development curriculum, grew from 31% in 2010 to 44% in 2014, yet this still amounts to less than half of organizations addressing the development of global skills and competencies. Even among large employers, just 54% address global leadership development in 2014, despite the fact that success in the globalized business environment makes it an imperative.

In addition, while organizations are keenly aware of the importance of the development of global skills and competencies in their leaders, overall, they have continued a trend toward tempering their self-assessments of GLD effectiveness from previous years. In 2010, 42% considered their GLD programs effective to a high/very high extent; in 2014, that dropped to 19%, overall.

Developing global skills and competencies within the context of a distinct global leadership development program is preferable, but such skills can be developed within a broader, general leadership development program if the curriculum includes substantive global content. The 2014 study identified key initiatives that drive greater GLD effectiveness. Following Global Leadership Development: Everybody’s Game (American Management Association, 2013), this year’s study discovered key elements that will move the effectiveness needle in a meaningful way:

Four key findings:

  1. Global leaders need local knowledge: Immersion in the cultures and customs of local markets is essential to creating a GLD curriculum, building competencies and delivering learning.
  2. Collaboration and influence define the new global leader: These skills are brought to bear in teaching employees with diverse learning styles and in leading virtual teams.
  3. Focus selection on behaviors: GLD selection 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.
  4. Looking longer-term pays off: Develop GLD curriculum based on the future-focused skills and competency needs of the business.
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