Global Leaders Require Global Intelligence

In recent years, researchers have begun to emphasize the importance of these three “new” intelligence: Emotional IntelligenceDigital Intelligence (Artificial Intelligence) and Global Intelligence.

The concept of Global Intelligence (GQ) was first introduced to me at graduate school by none other than Bill George, the bestselling author of Discover Your True North. GQ is the intelligence needed to manage the world. As the world becomes more and more globalized, people, products, investment and technology will continue to cross national borders and cultures; making people and business more connected than ever before. GQ requires the same universal set of principles such as compassion and caring that we feel for our own family and community members.

Having a good GQ requires having the experience and the ability to have unique experiences dealing with different cultures, customs and languages, not to mention a general in-depth understanding of differences. Having a healthy GQ is key to being a great leader, especially in globalized and diverse markets. A lot of failures derive from leaders lacking the six elements that make for a high GQ.

These six elements are as follows:

  • Adaptability
  • Awareness
  • Curiosity
  • Alignment
  • Collaboration
  • Empathy



Adaptability in GQ is understanding the world and predicting the changes that are bound to happen in the coming years. Leaders should be able to adapt to the ever-changing global context quickly and be prepared to change tactics overnight to accommodate any changes necessary to stay competitive in today’s globalized market place.



Have a strong sense of awareness in GQ is the ability to understanding yourself and the world around you; this includes understanding your strengths, weaknesses and prejudices to predict how you’re going to react to significant cultural differences in the new economy.



The ability to be curious when it comes to the cultures and differences you encounter along the way is key in developing a GQ. We’re talking about personal passion and an insatiable desire to learn more about other cultures. It’s important to remain humble and acknowledge that there are different cultural norms and ways of doing things. In Denmark, we’ve chosen to incorporate symbolic policies like forcing people to shake hands when receiving their citizenship. That’s supposedly how “we” show one another respect. I disagree. We display one another respect by embracing the fact that some people would instead prefer to bow, hug, kiss your cheek or even fist pump.



One of the challenges of globalization will be ensuring that people continue in the same direction in spite of their differences. Norms and customs differ from one country to the next and having the ability to work and get everyone on the same page and in the right direction is what makes for great leadership.



In a global context, the ability to build horizontal networks across geographical borders and bring people together for a cause will be paramount.



Empathy is the ability to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. This requires humility and an ability to engage with people from different cultures on a personal level. In the new economy, there will be no room for judgment. Without empathy, you will never achieve remarkable results. Even people in positions traditionally characterized by their introverted and internally oriented nature are now required to interact with others, so it’s essential that we all work toward improving our abilities to connect with others. Without it, we won’t be able to inspire trust which is a key element to securing a solid professional life.


Do you know why people don’t hire you, why your customers don’t buy your products, or why voters don’t vote for your party? If you want to find out why you need to look beyond your skillset, the price of the product or your resume and focus on whether or not people like you. Do you know what kind of emotions you inspire in other people?

Source: Forbes – Leadership


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