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4 Key Practices for Developing Global Leaders

4 Key Practices for Developing Global Leaders

Mark Vickers | i4cp

June 18, 2010

But it’s also clear from our interviews that flexibility, adaptability and creativity can be key requirements. Van Parys notes that at Boston Scientific, external providers become “extensions of ourselves” and so must be flexible enough to accommodate the organization’s specific needs. For example, her company requires all its vendors to follow the same processes so that the program can be provided in a unified, seamless way.

Flexibility is also one of the key criteria that SGS – a global provider of inspection, verification, testing and certification services – looks for in a vendor. Vice President of HR Dominique Ben Dhaou notes that her organization requires external providers to listen well in order to understand the unique needs of SGS. External partners not only need to be flexible but also creative and highly responsive.

i4cp’s 4-Part Recommendation:

1. Decide which competencies are most critical for the success of global leaders in your organization. Query senior leaders, external experts and key business partners about what they view as key competencies. Although every organization will have unique needs, keep in mind that in today’s shifting global environment, global leaders must often stay agile and adaptable, know how to manage innovation well in a highly diverse workforce, and have a good idea of how to expand the organization’s brand in a global marketplace.


2. Involve your senior leaders. At the very least, ensure they play a key role in communicating the value of the global leadership development initiative to participants and high potentials in your organization. But also consider having them become more deeply involved in the process of establishing the business results you want from the initiative, shaping program content, selecting key participants, and even helping teach courses or engaging in coaching.

3. Measure the impact. Of course, it makes sense to track the basics, such as number of participants and courses and satisfaction with the programs. But also try to track the business results derived from particular development opportunities, changes in leadership behaviors, the amount of learning achieved and the impact on the bench strength of your leadership pool.

4. Choose your external providers wisely. Start by making a list of the characteristics you want in a provider. Subject matter expertise and a proven track record are key, but so are other criteria, such as flexibility, agility and responsiveness. Make sure that vendors are listening carefully to your organizations’ specific needs. Also, keep in mind that for organizations with a broad global scope, criteria such as geographic representation and the ability to handle multiple languages can gain prominence as selection factors.

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