You Really Can See for Miles.

Growing up in a small southern town, my childhood sightline ended at the county line. It wasn’t until I took a French class in college that I tasted my first croissant, and truth be told I wasn’t sure what to think about it. But that first taste awakened in me a wider, global interest that has continued throughout my education and my career.

As I began to look around, I quickly saw that not only is the world flat, it’s within arms’ reach. Every country. Every language. Every culture. In order to identify and capture every opportunity, today’s business and team leaders need to be both versed and nimble in the world market. Most business people would agree with this general notion, but now what?

Where is the ‘how’? Approximately 70 percent of Americans don’t hold passports, and thanks to our geographic isolation, the notion of hopping a train or a quick flight to a neighboring country is nearly nonexistent. Yet for business managers who invest in themselves with an honest and open interest in the world, the possibilities are inexhaustible.

Begin at home.

If you haven’t ever done so, create the time to conduct some self-awareness study. As you grow and advance in your career, this knowledge is invaluable. Take a DISC or Myer-Briggs test and determine your leadership philosophy and baseline. Understanding where you come from in terms of business viewpoints will help you decide not only where to go, but how to get there.

Locate yourself on the map.

In the same vein of self-awareness, determine your global awareness. Take a Global Leadership Survey and discover how your leadership methods compare, contrast and integrate with management approaches from around the world. Recognize how you perceive the world and how those perceptions could influence your decisions and your actions in a global marketplace.

Look around you.

Consider your exposure to other countries and cultures. Where have you traveled? What languages do you speak? Do you have international friends or co-workers with whom you spend time? Do you read about and follow global economies, governments and movements? Think about what you know, what you suspect and what you believe. Now consider all that you don’t.

Draft an itinerary.

You know where you are, and you have some ideas about where you’d like to go. Now you need directions. Create a personal development plan to provide a framework. What steps can you take in the various aspects of your personal and professional life to enhance your global awareness and understanding? Think across dimensions. Consider your educational, professional, social, and cultural opportunities.

Over the next few weeks I’ll share some roadmaps with you about how you can take the idea of a global perspective and build it into a true knowledge base and business asset.

How have you expanded your global perspective on business?