There are some results in the DDI/IED study that seem to line up with the conclusion I’m drawing from my interviews. The study authors surveyed a wide range of global executives and development professionals who support them. One of the questions in the survey was, “What unique skills make for an exceptional global executive?” Here are the five skills that the global executives themselves think are most important:
Ability to influence or motivate people from different cultures
Resourcefulness to get things done in an unfamiliar situation
When you think about it, listening is more or less a foundational behavior for each of these top five skills. To really make the connection, I think it’s important to break listening down into some of its higher order components. For instance, the ability to influence or motivate people from different cultures requires questioning and observational skills to learn and understand what the motivators are in a particular culture. Good listeners are typically good questioners and observers. The same principal applies to resourcefulness. Good listeners are generally more resourceful because they’re not afraid to ask for advice and ideas.
Speaking of asking questions, what do you think? When you scan this list of the top five global executive skills, what other core behaviors do you think underlie them?
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