The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

MLDP Recap: Developing a Global Mindset

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Read a student's account of our most recent session in our Management Leadership and Development program below. For more information, about MLDP, click here.

During Chris Wohlforth's session on Developing a Global Mindset this past Tuesday, MLDP participants discuss ways they way become aware of cultural differences in their interactions with clients, bosses, and colleagues. An important question Wohlforth discussed was how to consciously assimilate or not assimilate into cultures and the spectrum of cultural openness for individuals.

Dr. Christianne Hardy Wohlforth, Acting Director of Dickey Center for International Understanding led this session entitled, "Developing a Global Mindset." The goals of this session were to develop an
understanding of what a global mindset is, learn to recognize cross-cultural experiences and associate
them with learning opportunities, to explore different ways to prepare oneself to be affective in cross-
cultural experiences, and to create a customized roadmap to help on attain a global mindset. Dr.
Wohlforth opened up the session by asking what everyone remembered from their last session. She
received an adequate amount of feedback and she explained her purpose in asking this question. She
wanted to make sure that people would actually remember the information she was about to share. Dr. Wohlforth proceeded in asking everyone to think about a time when they felt different and to connect with how feeling like an outsider made them feel. She then explained that coping mechanisms used in domestic settings can also be applied to global experiences.

Dr. Wohlforth explained that skills, values and context make global leadership distinctive. She then
remarked that the eight essential skills being taught through the Management Leadership Development Program (vision, communication-personal and in teams, motivating others, problem solving, critical thinking, diversity awareness, strategic planning and systems thinking and respect) could all be culturally defined. In other words, these skills help in developing a global mindset. Dr. Wohlforth then played a video of Dartmouth students sharing their experiences of going into a new cultural context. The purpose of this video was to explore expectations vs. reality. All in all, the realities of their experiences were different from that of their expectations. From this Dr. Wohlforth explained that all experiences are learning opportunities.

The next part of the session focused on Intercultural sensitivity, which is how people experience
differences. She explained that functions of this are interest in other cultures, sensitivity to notice
cultural differences and willingness to modify behavior as an indication of respect for other cultures. Dr. Wohlforth then spoke about the Intercultural Sensitivity Continuum (Denial ‡ Defense ‡ Minimization ‡ Acceptance ‡ Adaptation ‡ Integration). She instructed that in order to move along the continuum one must work on the functions of intercultural sensitivity.

The MLDP Participants then broke into groups of roughly three and analyzed cross cultural dialogues in order to recognize cultural misunderstandings that were taking place and to learn from them. After coming back together, Dr. Wohlforth went over the dialogues and talked about dimensions to think about (status hierarchy, gender roles, cultural norms, political environments and history).  The session closed with Dr. Wohlforth distributing a handout with questions to help everyone create a personalized road map to a global mindset.

-Chauna Pervis '14

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences