Being Global: A book review by Bob Morris

Posted on: July 3rd, 2012 by bobmorris

Being Global: How to Think, Act, and Lead in a Transformed World
Ángel Cabrera and Gregory Unruh
Harvard Business Review Press (2012)

How and why business leaders who develop a global mindset can help their companies to transcend cultural barriers

Companies cannot become global leaders unless and until their executives “think, act, and lead [them effectively] in a turbulent, transformed world.”  This requires a global mindset. Ángel Cabrera and Gregory Unruh provide in this book an abundance of information, insights, and counsel that will help executives in almost any organization (whatever its size and nature) to develop that mindset.

More specifically, leaders who “act as bridge builders, connectors of global resources and talent, dedicated to finding new ways to create value…They have experienced the difficulties of crossing lines in a world that is becoming more tightly connected yet no flatter, where the nuances and differences across cultures are becoming, if anything, more visible and critical. They have found ways to navigate uneven terrain, close gaps, and make a difference for people around the world.” Thus have Cabrera and Unruh identified only a few of many dimensions of what a global mindset must accommodate.

These are among the several dozen passages that caught my eye:

o  How global leaders connect, create, and contribute (Pages 23-27)
o  Why new global business requires a global mindset (32-39)
o  The major benefits of a global mindset for a business (82-86)
o  Why global citizenship is an uncommon path to common solutions (121-123)
o  How to build prosperity for everyone involved in the given enterprise (140-147)
o  How and why leadership makes a difference (169-174)
o The obligations and privileges of  “global  citizenship” (180)

To their credit, Cabrera and Unruh immediately establish and then sustain a direct and personal rapport with their reader. Thus, when approaching the conclusion of their book, they pose a question and then respond to it: “What can you do to ensure you continue to stretch your global mindset, that your ability to find and create new value remains nimble, and that you continue to value the contributions and protect the interests of those around you? The first step is to recognize that your learning never ends…To strengthen your global entrepreneurship, you need to put yourself in positions that allow you to apply your global mindset to create value…And to grow as a global citizen, you must constantly renew your commitment to making a difference by surrounding yourself with individuals who can support and strengthen your resolve.”

No brief commentary such as this can do full justice to the scope and depth of material that Ángel Cabrera and Gregory Unruh provide in this book. However, for executives in organizations that are or aspire to become global leaders, I think this is a “must read.” I also highly recommend it to executives in other organizations that seek to strengthen their relationships with global leaders.

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