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12 competencies define a global leader


Research highlights innovative approaches for developing global leaders for successful globalization.


Despite the unprecedented scale and intensity of the globalization of organizations, few are well prepared for the talent demands required to successfully lead the business objectives behind globalization strategies.


Now, reviewing research from Mercer, organizations need to:

 Acknowledge that global leaders require different skills and capabilities

 Develop global leaders earlier in their careers and in different ways

 Approach global leadership with the same intensity as a global business model


In collaboration with Jay Conger, PhD, Professor of Leadership Studies at Claremont McKenna College, Mercer’s research explores global leadership issues, competencies and best practices by drawing from extensive research, in-depth interviews and first-hand experience.


Reviewing the report provides a global leadership capability framework – 12 competencies that define a global leader – to help organizations identify the skills, mindset and personal attributes that characterize those individuals who are more likely to succeed in global leadership roles. It describes how to cultivate these competencies and at what point in employees’ career they can and should be developed to be a successful leader between countries and cultures.


“Global leadership in many organizations is often a capstone assignment to a long and distinguished ‘domestic career’,” said Colleen O’Neill, PhD, Mercer’s Global Talent Management Leader for the Americas. “Research shows that this approach is flawed. Global leadership is not always the next level of leadership – it’s far more effective to cultivate the capabilities necessary to be a successful leader earlier in an employee’s career.”


Mercer’s research examines the types of experiences and capabilities that are most helpful to developing global leaders, including expatriate assignments and mentoring. Additionally, it describes common organizational barriers, such as insufficient value placed on international assignments and modest repatriation programs which can hinder the development of global leadership talent.


Globalization strategies
To fully embrace their globalization strategies, organizations need to dedicate better resources to developing global leaders throughout their careers. Some critical steps for starting this process include:

 Identifying high global-potential talent pool and tracking their development

 Valuing and managing global mobility activities by requiring international assignments at a certain managerial level and creating a mobility function within Talent or Organizational Development to manage success

 Charting the course by knowing the stepping-stone roles toward global leadership using the full complement of development assignments, from multi-year overseas assignments to short term in-country projects to global team projects

 Building standardized and rigorous performance and talent management systems that are global




About Jay Conger
Jay Conger, one of the world’s experts on leadership, is the Henry Kravis Chaired Professor of Leadership at Claremont McKenna College in California and the faculty chair of the Kravis Leadership Institute. He is also a visiting professor at the London Business School. Jay has worked with more than 350 organizations in his 25- year career. In recognition of his extensive work with companies, Business Week named him the best business school professor to teach leadership and one of the top five management education teachers worldwide. Additionally, the Financial Times ranked him as one of the top global executive educators.





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