By Mansour Javidan, Mary Teagarden and David Bowen
When Alan, a rising star at a U.S.-based manufacturer, arrived in Beijing to take a position as the general manager for consumer products in China, he was energized and excited. He’d been charged with leading the firm’s expansion in what his bosses kept telling him was the fastest-growing market in the world. He thought the assignment would be straightforward and easy, but roadblocks quickly appeared. Alan’s enthusiasm gave way to frustration, and his company eventually called him back to the States. As it turns out, Alan’s employers had sent him to Beijing for the wrong reason. They’d assumed that a good track record at home is a predictor of success in the global arena. But they failed to consider Alan’s “global mindset.” Our research at the Thunderbird Global Mindset Leadership Institute has allowed us to define global mindset, measure it, and identify ways to improve it. In the end, our research allows companies such as Alan’s to take the guesswork out of expatriate assignments. Read the full article in the April 2010 issue of Harvard Business Review.