Two Key Ingredients for Building your Reputation as a Global Leader

“You cannot build a reputation on what you are planning to do.”  Henry Ford’s words are resonant in a time where HR leaders are tasked with a myriad of planning activities: strategic action planning, performance plans, development planning, succession plans.  Planning is important, but it is how your plans translate into reality that builds your reputation. 

This is the much recited, ‘past behavior predicts future performance’ mantra that lays the foundation for many leadership programs today.  This is not news to you, I know.  But it is an important starting point to examine what really creates ones reputation.  It turns out that for those who work with diverse peoples, reputation actually boils down to two key ingredients: leadership behaviors and cultural adaptability (i.e. Global Mindset). 

According to renowned industrial and organizational psychologist Dr. Robert Hogan, both are key ingredients for global business success.   Recently, Dr. Hogan spoke at Najafi Global Mindset Institute’s Summit on Developing Leaders for Global Roles (you can view Dr. Hogan’s full speech here:  He emphasized four points:

  • Cultural adaptability is essential for global business success—at the individual level.
  • Leadership is essential for global business success—at the business unit level.
  • Cultural adaptability and leadership are not the same thing.
  • Both are a function of one’s reputation.

What this boils down to in our increasingly diverse workplaces is that cultural adaptability is not simply a one-time module to be included in leadership training. It is a fundamental framework that should be integrated into every development discussion across the leadership pipeline.   To see the complete research-based framework for Global Mindset, visit

Stay tuned for next month’s blog where I’ll give you a preview of my session at the SHRM Annual Conference: “Creating a Global Learning Organization.”

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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