Let’s Start With Global Mindset
The concept of a global mindset refers to the instinctive power of integrating everything an individual absorbs, in regards to culture, into their unique attitude and various behaviors. Carefully molding this concept will enable you to be two steps ahead in the business world by interpreting and completely understanding communication beliefs, values and norms from numerous cultures around the globe. Properly crafting a global mindset takes valuable time and effort due to the many, equally important pieces involved; but if done correctly, you and/or your business will have an immense advantage over the competition.
It is necessary to understand that a global mindset is not a new concept but it is becoming much more vital for success as a professional in the work force or as a business. Much like learning a new language, the early adaptation to a global mindset can be complicated. You will start out having to translate every cultural distinction or “sentence;” but gradually you will subconsciously begin to think in the new “language” and understand its meanings without having to translate piece by piece. This is extremely vital because it allows you read verbal and non-verbal cues as well as interpret behavior much more effectively.
A global mindset is much more than understanding other countries in a broad manner, as the seven dimensions of culture we previously discussed guides you through; it is appreciating every individual country as a unique entity and asking you to fully understand and latch onto their history, mythology, heroes, etc. Once you’re able to master the global mindset, it means: you are extremely effective in interpersonal relations, you intuitively understand local markets and take full advantage of business opportunities, you recognize superior talent not matter what its appearance entails, and finally you are able to adapt personal strategies as well as plans in a distant culture.
As a global entrepreneur, seeking out foreign business can seem like a daunting task; but as discussed before, mastering a global mindset will pave the way for achieving international success. No matter where you are from you are built with your own, unique cultural values and biases. When achieving a global mindset, you need to recognize these values and biases as well as fathom that others are a creation of their own, distinctive cultures. Analyzing the manifestations of the seven keys in culture, discussed throughout this blog, and breaking them down for the specific cultures you work with, will give you an edge in the brutal world of business. Most importantly you must envision yourself as a sponge and be a continuous learner. Mastering a global mindset and achieving it in a business sense will enable you to stand out and gain successful worldwide exposure.
Before this program I would never known how to pursue business in Italy or how to deal with someone of an Italian background, specifically Southern Italian. Now, I have opened myself up and crafted my very own global mindset to differentiate the Italian beliefs, values and norms form those of the United States, in which I abide by. After this intensive intercultural course I feel much more comfortable and confident in pursuing business in other countries, specifically in Southern Italy. Pertaining geographically to Southern Italy, their cultural beliefs, values and norms are different than those of Northern Italy.
In conducting research and performing intensive fieldwork in Sorrento, I have found that Southern Italians value specific ideals that shape who they are and how they conduct business. The value of family plays an important role in shaping these Italians. From birth to retirement, most of them follow the path already paved for them, which consists of taking over the family store or working with siblings and parents as well as grandparents to deliver quality product to all of Sorrento and its numerous tourists. I found that they save money for the three slow winter months of the year and work their tail off in the nine busy tourist-filled months to bring in as much as possible for the remainder of the year.
Italians conduct business strictly along the lines of their values. As an entrepreneur you must know what is valued in Italy and the best ways to succeed in this country. It is necessary to analyze the seven dimensions of culture, as explained throughout this blog, in order to gauge exactly what is important in Southern Italy. Beliefs, values and norms shape who individuals are and how their culture operates; therefore being completely informed will in turn create successful business professionals as well as organizations.
Next Stop, Global Teams
As an entrepreneur or a leader of an organization that seeks worldwide exposure, the most effective teams must be structured properly in order to take a business to the ultimate level. With a newly acquired global mindset, you must use your expertise to form an unstoppable group of individuals. However, it is important to reiterate the fact that different cultures present themselves with their different values. When building a global team, you need to analyze these different values such as: group-oriented vs. individualistic, transactional vs. relationship-oriented, direct vs. indirect communicators, and the wide-ranging attitudes toward time.
To put these concepts into perspective, I briefly compared the United States and Sorrento. Italians contrast completely from Americans. They practice business as a group; whereas, Americans love to conduct any kind of business on the individual level. This is why we often see American global entrepreneurs starting in their twenties. The United States is an extremely transactional society and Italy maintains those important relationships when piloting a business. As we have learned from this amazing experience in Italy, Italians are “charming liars” and sugarcoat the truth so it sounds like there is no problem. Americans will be straight up and tell you that you are wrong without any remorse whatsoever. We can conclude from this that Americans are much more direct communicators compared to the Italian indirect culture. Finally, Italians view time as an unimportant dimension to their unique culture; therefore, as we have experienced every day, they will tell you five minutes, which is realistically twenty-five. Whether you are a business professional seeking work in Italy or an entrepreneur debating to expand your business to beautiful Sorrento, building a global team must be done correctly in order to give yourself the best chance for success.
The seven dimensions of culture affect team behavior; therefore, once again, it is extremely important to analyze these concepts when building a global team internally and externally. Experiencing language and cultural barriers, developing trust, overcoming logistical challenges and developing a common context for decision-making are challenges that you will face in forming a global team. Setting clear goals and objectives, clear rules and role definitions, achieving active participation, setting clear discipline and consequences as well as communication channels can counteract these challenges and shape an effective global team. Meetings are equally important as well because it keeps members active and engaged, while at the same time building the necessary trust a team needs. Although the United States and Italy are on two different sides of the culture spectrum, by following these practices it is possible to gain success as a business professional seeking work or as an entrepreneur expanding business globally.
As an American group studying in Italy, we had to breakthrough our own cultural conflictions before taking on Sorrento. We all came from different cultural backgrounds and grew up in drastically different ways but managed to come together by gauging each other’s personal beliefs, values and norms. We became a team during these three weeks and were able to adapt in Sorrento. Through blood, sweat and tears this American group took on a completely different environment and made the absolute best of it. We used each team member’s strengths to write this blog and make sure readers are fully informed of the great, academic experience we had in Sorrento. Italy changed us for the better and opened our eyes to the fact that different cultures operate differently around the globe.
About The Author
My name is Andrew Garcia; I am a senior majoring in communications and minoring in cultural anthropology at the University of Colorado Denver. This Maymester program was one of the best things that could have happened to me both academically and professionally. Italy was much more exquisite and culturally connected than I originally thought. Their rich history, amazing landscapes and dynamic culture amazed me and I would not trade this experience for anything. I have learned a lot from this program from how to respect other cultural beliefs, values and norms, to how to operate my professional image as well as my entrepreneurial skills globally. This is not an opportunity that you can pass up; therefore, register for Managing Across Cultures, pack your bags and gain the experience that will forever change your life.