The term globalization has been thrown around for decades but it has never applied as much as it has in recent years as organizations become more focused and specialized within a specific industry or product, and reach beyond their traditional regions of business. Globalization has evolved from being a commercial exchange to a multifaceted integration of many aspects of the business. This trend has created a need for strong leaders who can manage a complex environment with a high level of interdependence.

When we looked at background of the top 100 CEOs in Mexico our analysis showed that fifty-four percent of the newest CEOs have performed assignments outside of Mexico and 53 percent hold Master’s degrees from institutions outside of Mexico. But Robert Grosse, Dean of EGADE Business School, cautions: “overseas experience is not the same as overseas business experience…Mexican executives could still benefit from more overseas experience in business activities”.

Executives who have been successful in international assignments have usually excelled in understanding the environment, leading visionary change and results, as well as mastering complex business problems. These competencies, coupled with already acquired industry expertise, translate into a small learning curve and quick results.

According to research performed by William W. Maddux, Adam D. Galinsky, and Carmit T. Tadmor (Harvard Business Review, September 2010, p24) people who have international experience or identify with more than one nationality are better problem solvers and display more creativity. This based on measuring the ability of these managers to see and integrate multiple perspectives on different issues. In these studies bicultural managers scored higher than monoculturals. Their research also suggests that people with international experience are more likely to create new businesses and products and to be promoted.

Senior executives of successful organizations are a more diverse group than ever before and the impact goes beyond the leadership teams. Middle managers and staff members are being exposed to global management techniques, metric-driven environments and matrix organizations that are preparing them to be the next generation of leaders.

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