The competency at the heart of having a global mindset is called cultural intelligence (CI). CI is the capability to relate and work effectively in culturally diverse situations and is perhaps the critical aptitude needed for leaders to be successful in the global environment. This aptitude goes beyond just being culturally sensitive or aware. Cultural intelligence is comprised of four separate capabilities: CI-Drive, CI-Knowledge, CI-Strategy, and CI-Action.


CI-Drive is a person’s level of interest, persistence, and confidence during multicultural interactions with others.


CI-Knowledge is the depth of a person’s understanding of how cultures are similar and different.


CI-Strategy is a person’s awareness and ability to plan for multicultural interactions.


CI-Action is a person’s ability to adapt when relating and working in multicultural contexts.

Leaders must have a “global and local” perspective to be successful in global business. Developing a global mindset and strong cultural intelligence will provide the ability to hold this “both-and” perspective.

Additional Reading(s)

Buechel, B., & Sorell, M. (2014). Developing a global mindset: The five keys to success. International Institute for Management Development. Retrieved from

Cohen, S. L. (2010). Effective global leadership requires a global mindset. Industrial and Commercial Training, 42(1), 3-10.

Levy, O., Beechler, S., Taylor, S. & Boyacigiller, N. (2007) What we talk about when we talk about “global mindset: Managerial cognition in multinational corporations. Journal of International Business Studies, 38(2), 231-258.

Livermore, D. (2015). Leading with cultural intelligence: The real secret to success, 2nd ed. New York, NY: American Management Association.

Ramsey, J. R., Aad, A. A., Jian, C., Barakat, L., & Drummond, V. (2016). Emergence of cultural intelligence and global mindset capital: A multilevel model. Multinational Business Review, 24(2), 106-122.

Tuleja, E. A. (2014). Developing cultural intelligence for global leadership through mindfulness. Journal of Teaching in International Business, 24(1), 5-24.

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