The PM as a global connoisseur

-3 easy steps to develop your global perspective

I believe in the old adage that you “have to be the change you want to see in the world”, it is therefore important that you start by looking critically at yourself and your working style.  To be a successful global PM you have to understand how you work successfully in a global workforce, how you perceive and work with others and how they can most effectively work with you.

1-      The first step in this process is to “Know yourself”, you have to examine your own cultural influences, your learned behaviors, working styles.

Self-assessment tools that help you understand how you work with others in pervasive throughout the internet and many of them are useful to get a general “stake in the ground” on who you are and how you work well with others. The global perspective however is one that most of these tools do not cover adequately, leaving a large part of the global workforce equation unanswered.

The GlobeSmart© tool ( from Aperian Global in San Francisco has become a critical tool in my toolbox.  The tool starts by allowing the user to complete a self-assessment like the tools mentioned above, but measures you on 6 cultural dimensions and then giving you the opportunity to explore your profile against these cultural dimensions.  If you are like me, born and raised in a different country than you currently work and live in, then you can proceed to compare your profile with the profile of that country. Following this the tool will give you advice on areas such as: Improving teamwork, managing employees, establishing relationships, and managing outsourced and joint projects.

2-      Understanding your success through your capital; Intellectual, Psychological and Social

Once you have a foundational understanding of your global perspective and how to effectively work in a global environment, the next step is to dig a little deeper into the fabric of your global aptitude.  My preferred tool in this space is the Global Mindset© Inventory from Thunderbird School of Global Management.  The school has established a Global Mindset Leadership Institute to help global corporations develop the talent in their global workforce.

Thunderbird has based their research on interviews with more than 200 global executives in cities all over the world, and a survey of more than 1,000 individuals in many countries, a team of eight Thunderbird professors have scientifically defined global mindset and its three major dimensions: Intellectual Capital, Psychological Capital and Social Capital. Below is a a graphic that describes the attributes of each dimension.

According to Thunderbird “Global mindset is a set of individual characteristics that help global leaders’ better influence individuals, groups, and organizations unlike themselves.“ for a PM it is therefore critical to develop a global mindset to effectively manage the project and programs that have a global nature.


3-      Engage your environment

While assessments are great and leave the user with a wealth of information and perspective, the value is lost if it is not put into context.  It is therefore critical that the PM engages their team in the same activities and compare results in a working-session.  I have found that the GlobeSmart tool is invaluable each time I start engage a new team of coworkers. Once each team member has completed their assessment, the team is able to see how each team member compare to the rest of the team and the averages of the team.  Engaging in a conversation on how the team can work most effectively using this as a backdrop can help your project become a success and help your coworkers develop their global aptitude as well. Below is an illustration of how my profile compares to a few country profile.  When team members add their profiles to the tool you are able to see how you and your team compare.



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