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Leading across borders: inclusive thinking in an interconnected world - EY - Global

Today, every leader knows that things need to be different. But not every leader knows how to be different.


If Google were a person, what kind of person would it be?

Business psychologist Douglas LaBier has an interesting take on that question.

Google displays “the model of a psychologically healthy adult in today’s world,” LaBier wrote in an article in The Washington Post. “Its corporate culture and management practices depend upon qualities like transparency, flexibility and collaboration with diverse people; non-defensiveness, informality, a creative mind-set and nimbleness, all aimed at aggressively competing for clear goals within a constantly evolving environment.”

Leaders should take note of this paradigm. Today, every leader knows that things need to be different. But not every leader knows how to be different.

No doubt, companies have made some progress in incorporating diversity into their senior management teams. But they are still far from achieving a true balance of different perspectives. Women, for example, are significantly underrepresented on boards and leadership teams.

Companies also have a long way to go when it comes to incorporating diversity of experience, skills, cultures and education — the basis of the flexible, open-minded and inclusive leadership essential to capitalize on global talent and propel the organization to success in a volatile world.

The good news is that inclusive leadership is not an abstract concept. There are practical techniques that leaders can implement to hone their ability to benefit from multiple perspectives.

Through new research we conducted with the Economist Intelligence Unit (see full results) and interviews with leading thinkers and heads of global corporations, we identified three things that business leaders can do on Monday morning to learn, think and act differently:

  1. Collaborate in the face of uncertainty.
  2. Seek out new cultures and experiences.
  3. Consciously sponsor and appoint senior leaders who look, think and act differently.

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