Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Innocents Abroad

Faster growth rates in developing countries combined with the continuing awareness and strength of globalization will require engineers to have a global mind-set. In the April 2010 issue of Harvard Business Review in an article entitled "Making It Overseas" - - three key intellectual capital attributes are outlined:
  1. Global Business Savvy - - a strong grasp of how the industry operates worldwide, how global customers behave, how your competitors target their needs and habits, and how strategic risk varies by geography.

  2. Cognitive Complexity - - the ability to piece together multiple scenarios with many moving parts, without becoming paralyzed by the number of options.

  3. Cosmopolitan Outlook - - an active interest in the culture, history, geography, political and economic systems of different parts of the world.

When it comes to psychological capital, receptiveness to new ideas and experiences is critical. The main attributes are:

  1. Passion For Diversity - - a penchant for exploring other parts of the world, experiencing other cultures, and trying new ways of doing things.

  2. Thirst For Adventure - - an appreciation for and ability to thrive in unpredictable and complex environments.

  3. Self-Assurance - - self-confidence, a sense of humor, a willingness to take risks in new contexts, and high levels of energy, the ability to be energized , rather than drained, by a foreign context.

For social capital, which helps you build trusting relationships with people who are different from you, the three most important attributes are:

  1. Intercultural Empathy - - the ability to engage and connect emotionally with people from other parts of the world.

  2. Interpersonal Impact - - the ability to bring together divergent views, develop consensus, and maintain credibility; and skill at building networks - - not just with peers and senior leaders but with other, less obvious potential connections.

  3. Diplomacy - - listening to what is said and what is not said, ease in conversations with people who are different from you and a greater inclination to ask than to answer.

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