Effective Methods for Developing Global Leaders

“The best way to accelerate global leadership development is to have a sound framework,” Robert Kramer, Principal Researcher, The Conference Board and author of the report Developing Global Leaders: Enhancing Competencies and Accelerating the Expatriate Experience, says. “It is important to identify what lessons and performance demands are needed to build international business proficiency, and to find key talent and focus attention on the fast learners.”

The report found that 77 percent of the companies surveyed are seeking a variety of approaches to improve their global talent development with the majority seeking ways to accelerate the process. Almost half of the firms surveyed (47 percent) reported that providing targeted feedback on performance and potential as being the most effective tactic for accelerating global talent. In addition, 33 percent cite longer-term international assignments while 18 percent cite international cross-functional team participation as being among the most effective practices for developing global business leaders.

Since the primary vehicle for developing international leaders is experience, accelerating the process depends heavily on recognizing what experiences prepare talented individuals to become global leaders and giving talented individuals access to them. Early career experience overseas in specialized offshore assignments is reported to be a moderately or very effective by 86 percent of participating companies. More than two-thirds of companies regard education and training as only a supplement to actual expatriate assignments in the development of global leaders.

Other actions that can speed development of talent include:

  • Aligning development activities closely with known corporate leadership requirements.
  • Make use of external international management education and training opportunities.
  • Move work experiences to people instead of moving people to experiences by redesigning jobs and relationships without reassigning staff.
  • Tighten the company’s approach to talent development by actively managing the careers of top talent


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