From the Dean
To Be or Not to Be Global ... The Answer Already Exists
I met a friend at a local coffee store. When I sat down, my friend began to complain about all the news reports about immigration, foreign wars, terrorism and the fact that, to him, if everyone just left the United States alone, all U.S. citizens could live the good life. I chuckled a bit as I noticed that he was drinking coffee from Guatemala out of a cup made in Taiwan. His shirt was made in Thailand, and his pants were assembled in Mexico from fabric made in Sri Lanka. His car was a Japanese model assembled in Canada from parts made in the United States. The gas he put in his car possibly came from Venezuela.
The airline tickets he had mentioned to me the day before were probably purchased over the phone from a call center operator in India, and the flight he took was on a French-made Airbus. Later that day, my friend called me and told me about the antique clock he bought on eBay—the clock was purchased from a home-based antique dealer in England. My friend paid for the clock using PayPal. The antique dealer recorded the payment the next day and shipped the clock by DHL a day later. My friend had, by default, become global.
The interesting thing about being global is that we already are. How did this happen, and what will happen in the future? While U.S. citizens lament the loss of jobs to other countries, this job movement is one reason the United States developed in the first place. Investors and financiers in Europe sent people to the Colonies to move work to the new country where wages and material costs would be cheaper due to “free” land and an abundance of raw materials—in addition to religious freedom. The movement of jobs from one country to another has occurred throughout history and is part of “being global.” This process is known in business lingo as “comparative advantage.” While a country, nation or location may be able to produce a wide variety of goods and services, it is to the country’s advantage to produce what it can do best in terms of quality and cost. Shipping of goods to other countries has always been the great leveler—not the military, as might be perceived.
In summary, the question is not a question when the answer is obvious. We have already become global in all we do—day in and day out. Global leadership is about understanding the local and seeing how it fits the global—and vice versa. Global leadership is about wisdom, seeing the obvious and finding the principles that govern success and satisfaction, for both the employee and the organization. Global leadership is about building global cultures based on core values, such as humaneness, that are valued by people around the globe. Global leadership is about respecting the local culture, norms and language while not losing the value of the global “whole.” Global leadership can be enhanced through education, experience and mentoring. Local economies can benefit through entrepreneurship and determining what comparative advantages the local country/region might have. Through the blend of entrepreneurship for economic gain and leadership for relational value, the world can gain in peace and prosperity.
Regent’s School of Business & Leadership recognizes the global focus that the university has long been developing and exemplifies the entrepreneurial path envisioned from the beginning. I invite you to come and join us this year and continue your quest for excellence, innovation and world-changing leadership.
Bruce E. Winston, Ph.D.