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Global Brains: Knowledge and Competencies for the 21st Century

Intercultural Associates

By Gary Ferraro
Posted January 1, 2002
Tags Alumni Books Faculty Books
Owing to the recent forces of globalization, the world is a very different place than it was just two decades ago. The world-wide movements toward trade deregulation, privatization, and the lowering of tariff barriers, coupled with the information revolution, has made obsolete many of the more traditional ways of thinking and behaving. If we are to succeed in this new, fast-paced, diverse, and complex global economy, we will need to equip ourselves with new skills and new understandings. We need to be more competent than ever before. But more than that, we need to develop a new mindset for this changing world, which Ferraro calls “global brains.”

Having global brains requires a solid understanding of cultural differences, a desire to learn other languages, and a willingness to see change as an ally rather than as an enemy. Today’s leaders in the global economy need to understand the world differently than they were conditioned to see it. A global mindset involves interpreting information and making decisions that are not dependent exclusively on one’s own set of cultural assumptions. Moreover, having global brains involves honing a wide range of competencies including seeing interconnections, balancing contradictions, building personal relationships, becoming perceptually acute, and maintaining mental flexibility.

At the same time, the globally savvy person must maintain uncompromising integrity without sacrificing his or her own core values.

For anyone interested in his or her long term career trajectory, Global Brains identifies the cultural pitfalls of operating in the rapidly changing global economy---and provides a lively guide for becoming a successful players in the 21st century.

Introduction


"The world---and the world of business---has changed dramatically in the last 15 years. While the old adage that “there is nothing as constant as change’’ was as true in our distant past as it is today, the nature of the changes that have occurred since the mid-1980s have been profound and far reaching. The end of the cold war, coupled with the rapid onset of the information age, have unleashed forces that are transforming not only the way we do business in the world today, but indeed the very nature of both corporations and the countries in which they are operating. These vast changes are often subsumed under the general heading of “globalization,” a term often used, frequently misunderstood, and capable of generating heated political discussions."

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