Looking For Global Leaders Locally

Larry Price
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Wednesday - March 31, 2010
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It seems like every time there is an opportunity to fill a top job in Hawaii, our organizational leaders set out to conduct a national search to find a “world-class” replacement. But we should develop our own global leaders right here.

Culture has an impact on the success of a business, and the power of a well-trained global leader outweighs that of any other. For that reason, being educated here shouldn’t be a handicap. It should be an advantage. But it’s not.


The first barrier to working globally is ignorance and the challenge to develop competencies for global leaders.


Organizations all over the world have made global leadership development a priority in strategic planning. The World Economic Forum is known as the foremost global community of business, community, political, intellectual and other leaders of society. A portion of its mission statement taken from its Web site (www. weforum.org) tells of the significance leadership holds in the business world of today: “Globalization has both made the world a much simpler and yet, at the same time, a much more complex place to live. In today’s interconnected and interdependent society, the ripples of significant global events reach us all. Today no one government or company or group, working alone, can solve a major issue. They all have to work together.”

Our world is at a point in which organizations no longer follow the traditional transactional leadership style of command and control approaches to leadership. The approaches are no longer effective; the authoritarian leadership and highly structured organizational hierarchies of the past are too restrictive. Global thinkers are now the key to accelerating an organization’s progress both globally and domestically. Reliable research shows at least eight attributes of global leaders: the ability to develop and convey a shared vision, competence in system thinking, a global mindset, confidence in technology, recognition of the importance of ethics and spirituality in the workplace and a model for lifelong learning (executive education programs).

From factory workers to Fortune 500 executives, more of us today are attempting to meet deadlines with people across the globe. So what has happened? Global business and communication skills are no longer essential only for company leaders, but also are required throughout many functional areas of the organization.

Interculturalists are now dealing with increased opportunities to assist globalizing firms, and consequently this field of study is ever increasing. This is especially true in Hawaii, because global leadership means not only global business, it means global labor resources, global markets and global unions.

Don’t look now, but global unions are right around the corner. Ask yourself this question: “How many unions will it take to plan, construct, operate and maintain a $5.4 million rail system?”

I hope to someday hear a local leader say something like, “We want to find the best person for the job and we are going to start looking right here.”

Wouldn’t that be a shock?

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