Can a Global Mindset Position a Small Business for Growth?

Melissa Lamson, global mindset, small business growthThis is guest post is by Melissa Lamson,President of Lamson Consulting Please join us on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz, this Friday, March 8th at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT as we focus on Can a Global  Mindset Position a Small Business For Growth?

Global business facts

  • Qatar is the fastest growing global economy
  • Brazil has the most Twitter and Facebook users in the world
  • Last year, China’s GDP surpassed Japan’s

Developing global mindset is key for doing business successfully

Ernst & Young came out with a study last year that said the number one priority for leaders of multinational companies is to hire talent with a global mindset. A Global Mindset, as presented by Mansour Javidan’s research at The Global Mindset Institute at Thunderbird University, is:

  • Intellectual Capital Knowledge of business operations in other countries
  • Psychological Capital – The will to get to know or work with other cultures
  • Social Capital – The ability to negotiate and influence across cultures

Most companies work internationally, if not globally.

As consultants and other service providers, it’s important to understand the various needs across cultures in order to better support our client’s expansion goals. For example, if one doesn’t establish relationships with government officials and show how the business impacts the society in which it operates, an international venture won’t be successful in South Africa.

Learning what builds relationships is important for clients and small business owners

Learning what will build relationships, foster trust, and clinch the deal faster will ensure success in meeting our client needs. It is also important for our own small business growth. For example, in Europe, when you spend time at dinners and coffees outside of the business meetings, your European counterparts will see you as more credible. They are more likely to want to continue building a relationship with you.

To know or not to know, that is the question

If,according to the definition of global mindset, processes, procedures, and systems are culturally determined, it is important that we know how, what and why they are different. Many camps argue that it’s good enough to promote “good leadership skills” or to “project manage successfully”. Some believe as long as there are standard best practices in business, it doesn’t matter what culture someone is from nor which country one is operating in. I don’t believe that. My point of view is that there is no such thing as standardization when it comes to business approaches, especially communication.

For example, according to the The Globe Project study, 100 top Chinese executives said, “…competing with direct reports, being friends with subordinates, and using metaphors instead of communicating directly…” defined “the best leaders.” From a US perspective, these would be the qualities of failed leadership. Individuals have different needs just like cultures do, and we have to adapt and adjust.

 Increasing your Global Mindset has far reaching implications

As a small business owner, increasing your Global Mindset and your abilities in intellectual, psychological, and social capital will allow you to be more agile in working with diverse clients, minimize fear or trepidation in traveling to new countries for projects, and provide you with a portfolio of experiences and knowledge that will differentiate your skill-set from other vendors. With today’s focus on global mindset and increased international interaction in business, accelerating your knowledge will only make you and your clients more globally intelligent.

Why is it that there aren’t more discussions in social media about global or cross cultural business issues?

How prevalent is it now for small businesses/consultants to work internationally?

With people being more mobile, could business owners find a need for having a global mindset to work within their local region?

What are the barriers to developing a global mindset?

How is it a negative to rely on globally standardized leadership skills or best practices in project management?

How does using a global mindset support greater agility for the small business?

About the author: Melissa Lamson, President of Lamson Consulting accelerates the goals of global business leaders by developing global mindset and creating best practices across cultures. Melissa has worked on projects in over 40 countries across all industries.