Multicultural executives have an edge

Multicultural executives have an edge

By Jose Ruiz | Alder Koten

The term globalization has been thrown around for decades but it has never applied as much as it has in recent years as organizations become more focused and specialized within a particular industry or product, and reach beyond their traditional regions of business. Globalization has evolved from being a commercial exchange to a multifaceted integration of many aspects of the business. This trend has created a need for strong leaders who can manage a complex environment with a high level of interdependence.

When we looked at background of the top 100 CEOs in Mexico our analysis showed that fifty-four percent of the newest CEOs have performed assignments outside of Mexico, and 53 percent hold Master’s degrees from institutions outside of Mexico. However, Robert Grosse, Dean of EGADE Business School, cautions: “foreign experience is not the same as foreign business experience…Mexican executives could still benefit from more foreign experience in business activities”.

Executives who have been successful in international assignments have usually excelled in understanding the environment, leading visionary change and results, as well as mastering complex business problems. These competencies, coupled with already acquired industry expertise, translate into a small learning curve and quick results.

According to research performed by William W. Maddux, Adam D. Galinsky, and Carmit T. Tadmor (Harvard Business Review, September 2010, p24) people who have international experience or identify with more than one nationality are better problem solvers and display more creativity. This is based on measuring the ability of these managers to see and integrate multiple perspectives on different issues. In these studies, bicultural managers scored higher than their monocultural counterparts. Their research also suggests that people with international experience are more likely to create new businesses and products and to be promoted.

Senior executives of successful organizations are a more diverse group than ever before, and the impact goes beyond the leadership teams. Middle managers and staff members are being exposed to global management techniques, metric-driven environments and matrix organizations that are preparing them to be the next generation of leaders.


About Alder Koten

Alder Koten helps shape organizations through a combination of research, executive search, cultural & leadership assessment, and other talent advisory services. Our recruiters and executive search consultants bring to the recruiting process an in-depth understanding of the market conditions and strategic talent issues faced by clients within their particular industry. Our leadership consultants provide advisory services that are crafted to be collaborative, responsive, pragmatic, and results oriented. Focused on expanding the capabilities of the organization through talent.

Jose Ruiz is also involved in executive search work focused on board members, CEOs and senior-level executives; and consulting engagements related to leadership and organizational effectiveness helping clients create thriving cultures.