The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world

Cross-cultural Intelligence 3.0: Develop a Global Mindset

worldview1207_v2.jpgYes, we’re living in a world economy and it’s the era of globalization. Yet it seems so difficult for many organizations to develop a global view. Innovation, speed to market, and customer intimacy are increasingly becoming drivers for achieving competitive advantage in today’s networked world. Yet few companies are paying full attention to the needs of a culturally diverse audience. Everybody’s talking about the need to survive in a “flat world”. Yet few managers are talking about what this means to their global planning and execution needs. Which begs the question: What have you done to develop your global mindset?

It’s a question that continuously persists in my mind and my work. Wherever I go, there it is: how can I increase the ability for global thinking in every project manager, every project, in every organization? And yes, that includes my own ability to continuously expand my cross-cultural perspective and knowledge.

In every presentation that I attend, every project meeting that I participate, and every planning session that I facilitate, that nagging question still lights up like a marquee on my forehead: Have you considered international needs and requirements? And often the response is “well, uh, no” or “we haven’t explored that yet” or better yet “the domestic plan is the global plan”. And each time, the lights go out on my marquee. The cast is then gathered in order to re-write the script and rehearse a new play that will be ready for the worldwide premiere.

Developing a global mindset should be a priority for every organization. From executive leadership to the core project team to stakeholders, the organizational goals and values need to encompass a multicultural audience. If an organization intends to capture a global marketplace, then it needs to develop a story based on an international cast. In order to ensure rave reviews from customers around the world, project teams need to continuously seek ways to expand their cross-cultural perspectives through learning, travel, and work across cultures.

The ability to develop a global mindset is within each of us. If everyone asked the simple question “What are international needs and requirements?” at every single phase of a project, there would be a new world of opportunities. Organizations would be able to demonstrate cross-cultural best practices through improved alignment and support, increased organizational productivity, increased recognition, and revenue in international markets. They could also enjoy improved organizational performance and customer relations worldwide.

So, next time you’re ready to lead a planning session, facilitate a project meeting, or motivate your project team, consider this simple question: “Have we considered international needs and requirements across all functions and cultures”? Then you’ll be on your way to making cross-cultural intelligence a competitive advantage for your organization.

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About the Author

Karina Jensen is a global management consultant, instructor and facilitator with nearly 20 years of experience in launching business and education initiatives across cultures. She is the founder and principal of Global Minds Network, a consulting firm that facilitates global market success through effective planning and execution solutions. Karina has successfully launched and managed products and education programs across the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific for companies such as Hyperion, Adobe, Macromedia, NEC, and Symantec. For clients such as Hyperion and Adobe, she planned, coached, and facilitated strategic planning and communication programs to ensure successful product introductions worldwide. In her prior roles at Macromedia, NEC, and Symantec, she introduced international product management, marketing, and communication programs to strengthen team performance and global business results. Karina holds an MBA from the ENPC School of International Management in Paris, France, and a BA degree in Public Relations from California State University, San Jose. She currently teaches courses in International Marketing, Management, and Communication at UC Berkeley Extension's International Diploma Program, the Art Institute of California, and Menlo College. Karina specializes in the areas of global launch management, cross-cultural communication, and international business education. Karina can be reached at
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