Today, there are more similarities between a teenager in Shanghai and a teenager in Rome, or Singapore and Madrid, or London and Paris, than you might expect, given the transcultural differences between China, Italy, Singapore, Spain, UK, France etc. In our traditional thinking about geographical cultures, the focus is on differences. The reality of the age-related tribes such as the Global Teenager is commonalities. How can we reconcile both?
In the world of organizations, the issue of ‘global leaders’ comes up all the time. What are they? What are their competences? What does one have to ‘have’ to be, or to become a global leader? There are indeed some answers, not surprisingly mainly from the field of intercultural studies led by consultants or academics. But most of these views are based on fairly retrospective data. Many times the answers feel a bit old and suspiciously predictable. For example, we are told that global leaders must have ‘cultural sensitivity’, which is the equivalent of saying that an airplane must have wings.
I am caricaturing this a bit – at the risk of annoying a great group of expert colleagues in this area – there is something about the set of competences of ‘global leadership’ that make me feel slightly uncomfortable. The competences are sometimes a sort of mental ‘deja vu’. Have I seen them before? Which ones are specific, if any?
I wonder if instead of looking backwards with analytical tools (as is usual in academic research), we would gain far more by looking forward in time and observing the emergent characteristics of any ‘global phenomenom’. I suspect, teenagers are a good start. They did not receive training on how to be global. How did that happen?
Just wondering, if instead of focusing on developing global leaders we could focus on developing good leaders. If we drop the ‘global’, will the sky fall down? Will new generations of leaders be global if they are good leaders?