Grow a global mindset

Many, if not most of us, work and live in globally interconnected ways. Our businesses employ diverse people, often from different locations and cultures. We manage and lead teams across borders and frequently have team members who do not share the same office, country or time zone. Political, institutional, legal and economic differences between countries may directly affect your business. Global uncertainty and disruption of the status quo are turning many long-held beliefs on their heads.

To what extent are you aware of cultural differences and how that might play in your business – with its own culture? How global is your mindset? To what extent can you move fluidly across cultures?

The Najafi Global Mindset Institute of the Thunderbird Business School in Arizona has developed an interesting approach to define, measure and develop Global Mindset.

To develop a truly global mindset, three areas need attention: psychological, intellectual and social capital. The model shows the areas where we need to become proficient if we are to effectively lead, motivate and influence people from different socio-cultural backgrounds.



Westminster Coaching can measure to what extent you have a global mindset, and pinpoint the specific areas that may need to be further developed. You can broaden your inter-cultural effectiveness by actively engaging in culturally diverse activities, reading and travelling broadly, and asking for feedback from others from different cultures on how effective they perceive your interactions with them are.

Some ideas to help you to develop a global mindset:

  • When you come across something done differently by a colleague from another culture, try to think “this is interesting and different, I’d like to learn about and understand this, rather than “that’s not how you do/say that”
  • Read about the cultures of the countries you do business with
  • Explore differences actively and ask friends or colleagues about how they do things differently and why
  • Travel to a country you have not visited before and immerse yourself in the culture. Read about it, ask about it and try some culturally specific experiences
  • Challenge yourself to read a book, watch a movie, eat a dish, or have an experience from another country with some regularity.
  • Learn how to cook your favourite foreign dish and go shopping for all the ingredients. Most cities have a variety of ingredients to be found in off-the-beaten-track shop
  • Most of all, develop the mindset of being curious, rather than judgemental about differences

Learning from our mistakes

In the wake of the debacle regarding the mistaken announcement of Best Film at the Oscars, I could not help but reflect on our tendency to catastrophise mistakes. We purport to learn from mistakes and not to make the same mistake twice. At the same time we point fingers with impunity and demand that heads should roll at even minor missteps.

If we demand the swift exit of the culprit from their role, do we lose the learning of that person in relation to their specific mistake? Businesses say that “lessons will be learned”, but we see variations of the original problem crop up again and again, or we try to regulate our way out of the potential to make the same mistake again.

Some mistakes clearly result in life and death situations (as pilots and doctors well know), some have a global impact (the 2008 crash), some may affect the company’s value in the short term, such as Samsung’s Note7 woes. But most mistakes are of such small consequence that they certainly do not warrant the public flogging we so frequently engage in, and they certainly do not warrant the firing of a valuable employee. Replacing someone and re-training a new person is an expensive and time-consuming activity too.

At the basis of many mistakes is the very human propensity of not being perfect, of making bad decisions, or letting our environment seduce us into atypical behaviour. I have yet to meet the executive who has not made a few mistakes on the way up the career ladder, or who have not trusted someone else to get it right first time, only to be disappointed.

Why do we find it so easy to blame others, the situation, the weather, anything to hand, rather than put our hand up to say “sorry, I will learn from this and will not repeat the mistake”? I have seen businesses where a blame culture develops and everyone tries to find someone to point fingers at, and nobody willing to take responsibility, when things do not go to plan.

In an environment where agile working is becoming more and more prevalent, we accept almost by definition that things are not going to be perfect before we implement the final solution. We make the best decision in the moment, we implement, evaluate, adjust, make new decisions based on the outcome, and then repeat the process a number of times. Perfection is not what we are seeking, so we should also accept mistakes as part of this iterative learning process

How do you handle mistakes – your own and those of your team? How do you ensure learning happens at both individual and business level? How do you coach for a better outcome next time?

I do accept that the buck should stop somewhere, but good corporate governance should create checks and balances before a simple mistake turns into a disaster. Should we perhaps reflect on the scale and impact of a decision before we demand heads roll?

Taking calculated risks, and resiliently bouncing back from negative outcomes by learning the lessons at hand, are part and parcel of leadership.

Listening for perspective


Our November article about perspective reminded me of Maestro: A Surprising Story About Leading by Listening, the excellent book published in 2009 by Roger Nierenberg, the widely acclaimed international conductor from New York.

There are many important leadership lessons in this book, not least the importance of listening. As a conductor, Nierenberg’s explanation of his ability to compare what he actually hears with what he wants to hear in real time and seamlessly adjusting the performance accordingly, gives you a unique insight into the importance of true listening.

In an orchestra, the conductor has a slightly elevated position from which to integrate activities. Everybody is facing in the direction of the podium, which stands slightly above the orchestra and offers the conductor a unique position with which to hear the combination of all the sounds from each instrument.

By contrast, the members of the orchestra are sitting, or standing, at different distances from the podium, often with their backs to one another. They have different levels of involvement, some spending more time waiting for their moment than playing. The music each will hear will be slightly different, dominated by the instruments in their immediate vicinity, and at times they may hear little of what is going on in other parts of the orchestra – unless specifically directed to concentrate on that by the conductor. They will be absorbed in their own role and may be unaware of how the overall performance is going.

As a business leader you too have a unique position in your company. You see the overall results in a way that individual members of your teams may not. You are likely to be based at the hub of your organisation, whereas you may have important members of your team who are distant, or at least do not see you or feel the pulse of the organisation on a regular basis. Whilst you have the perspective of shareholders, customers, suppliers and markets accessible to you, your team are unlikely to have access to more than one these parties.

‘What is it like for you’ should become your first thought in order to achieve the most from your teams. You must understand what it is like to be in each department of your organisation. Your teams are playing for you all day, every day, but are you ‘listening’ closely enough to know if they are getting it right, as their perspective of what is required may be very different to yours. Without the appropriate level of attention they may also not understand the importance of their role and the importance of its repeated excellent execution on the company as a whole. As the cleaner at NASA was reported to have replied when asked what her role was, ‘I am part of a team that puts men on the moon’! Do your teams get the big picture? If they don’t, it is your responsibility to make sure they can see it

If you have the time, read Roger Nierenberg. Maestro: A Surprising Story About Leading by Listening. As a minimum, listen to the differing individual perspective(s) of other members of your team to make sure execution is flawless.

Author: Jeremy Hamer


Waiting in a client’s meeting room, I looked out the window at the London skyline and thought how what I saw could be a metaphor for coaching.

The nature of my work means I travel all over London, and see the skyline from different perspectives. The familiar city looks very different from different vantage points. Some buildings are obscured, others are visible and it looks totally different from different heights.

As a leader, you have a certain perspective as a result of your unique position, and that will be only your own view.

Are you in a position to see the situation from another perspective? Are you, from your vantage point, able to see the detail at lower levels? When you look at a situation, do you see the view, or a view? Do you know whether other people see the situation in the same way? What about people who may be directly involved or affected by a situation, how do they see it?

We are products of a combination of our environment, our experience, our genes and personality. We can only see situations through our own lens, which will never be exactly the same as another person. Almost by definition it is a unique perspective.

Where we stand determines what we see. It is not always possible to understand how someone else views a situation, because we may not have first-hand experience of it. We must ask, and crucially listen, to get others’ view of the picture.

When we react or behave according to our view of things, we are probably ignoring how other people experience the situation. This is particularly true if we assume others see the situation the same way we do. Failure to ask and involve other people when creating a complete view of a situation can cause much misunderstanding and many lost opportunities.

Five things to try:

  • Ask yourself: “Is there another way of looking or dealing with this?”
  • Ask others “ How do you see this situation? What do you think of this?”
  • Explore different views together to add to the detail of mutual understanding of multiple angles
  • When presenting your view, check what others understand of your position
  • Check your assumptions to make sure you are not dealing with your view of the world only


Author: Annelie Green

Lessons from the top – observations from coaching

In this article, I reflect on my observations and experience in working with senior executives on the themes that recur with some regularity. I have worked with more than 230 Executives for a total of more than 2,000 hours over 14 years as a coach and more than 30 years in various corporate change related roles. My colleagues and clients in the UK, Europe, Asia and in the USA, Southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand across have taught me much about how businesses large and small, locally and globally, work. They have shared their experience, worries, uncertainties, glory, dedication and learning with me. I of course have not been immune to all these experiences myself as I made my way in the corporate and entrepreneurial world. This patchwork of experience has provided an understanding of global business environments, cultures and the challenges leaders face. It has also taught me much about what it takes to succeed in big business and as an entrepreneur. I will focus on six key observations and share some of the choices my clients, colleagues, and I have myself made. It is a reflection on a personal journey as much as on what I have observed.

I shall describe the key themes first, and offer some ideas for how clients have chosen to deal with that particular challenge effectively. Maybe you will identify with a sentence or two and maybe you will be thinking: “so what do I do about that?”

I have to declare though, at the outset, that as much as we would like to think we are all unique, the human condition has a way of also rendering us similar in many ways.

We are sometimes our worst enemies – and can even subconsciously sabotage ourselves at worst, or not put ourselves in the strongest possible position at best. Let me tell you how I come to this conclusion: have a read of the themes and ideas in these examples below and see how many you associate with. These themes are some for the most common things that get in the way of us performing as well as we can and even might, despite “knowing our stuff”…


Author: Annelie Green


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Coaching at the top – lessons from fellow Executives





Is your organisation ready for the emerging talent and leaders of tomorrow?

New and emerging talent in organisations may well be one of your key differentiators in an increasingly more integrated and connected world. The new generation do however, have very different expectations of both the organisation and its leaders.

It is the Milenials (those born between 1980 and 2000) who will have a significant impact and influence on the way they work.  It is safe to say that Milennials want to be inspired by role models.  They want to be coached and they want instant, regular feedback.

By 2025, Milennials will account for 75% of the global workforce (Forbes), so equipping your leaders to understand the benefits of working differently, will make your organisation more successful and future proof.

Our 3 day ‘Maximising Milennial Power’ programme equips  managers and leaders to recognise and focus on the skills needed to lead themselves, their teams and their organisations to greater success.

To read more about this exciting new programme, please contact us

Author: Annelie Green

Leading the Millenials

Many of the commonly held beliefs of the past 30 years about how businesses should be run, and how people should be lead, are being challenged by the new entrants to our workforce. Add to this the technology changes in a globally connected world, and a serious re-think of the new rules of the game becomes necessary.

Work and life have become much more integrated, the lines between the two more blurred.

Technology has given us access to data and ways of working that we could only dream of 10 years ago. We expect people to be “always on”. We expect people to take their work home.

Do we accept they will bring their home to work?

Have we adjusted the policies and practices at work to allow for these blurred lines?

Have adjusted our reward systems to adjust to the much more complex and conceptual world?

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Author: Annelie Green


Whose target is it anyway?

So whose sales target is it? Well that‟s the starting point and where we have seen greatest success we have also seen this question answered most effectively. In organisations that are driving sales performance upwards month on month, the accountability and responsibility for sales achievement is clear. Where we are seeing sales performance stalled or continuing to fall we are simultaneously witnessing the same confusion about who is accountable for what. Furthermore, we are likely as not to see the same people perpetuating the confusion.

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Value based leadership

Harry Kraemer in his book From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership says, “becoming the best kind of leader isn’t about emulating a role model or a historic figure. Rather, your leadership must be rooted in who you are and what matters most to you. When you truly know yourself and what you stand for, it is much easier to know what to do in any situation. It always comes down to doing the right thing and doing the best you can.”

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Tough Questions on Leadership

Most of us have heard the often quoted phrase of “Tough times don’t last, tough people do!” so, what does it take to be one of these “tough people”?

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