Importance Of Culture & Global Mindset In The 21st Century Learning Environment

The article is a collaborative effort of Viswanathan Easwaran, Associate Director – HR & Training, Speridian Technologies, Deepa Krishna, Associate Director- L&OD, Mindtree & Upasana Mukherjee, L&D, Ex – Pearson

Through the years, Global mindset has emerged as a critical individual capability. It has a direct bearing on an organization’s long-term competitive advantage. To define it, Global Mindset is an individual’s ability to identify, read and adapt to cultural signals, both overt and covert so that the individual’s effectiveness is not compromised when they deal with people from diverse backgrounds.

Culture is quintessential in laying the foundation for developing a global mindset. Knowledge of one’s culture and adherence to it makes a person appreciative of new ideas and way of doing things.  It makes one nimble enough to adapt to changes and leverage from it.

In this article, we will explore the importance of developing a global mindset among today’s employees, the role of cultural values in that, and the most effective learning programs for fostering a 21st century learner. 

Global Mindset & Culture

Though it has gained popularity only in the recent decade, the concept of Global mindset is an old one that can trace its roots back to the ancient texts of Hinduism. It echoes the thought process embedded in the Sanskrit saying, “Udara Charitanam Tu Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam ” in Maha Upanishada; loosely translated as “the world is one family”. This concept preaches a sense of inclusion, and a sense of belonging .

In the general sense, Global mindset is needed for promoting a sense of empathy and harmony in society, to accept and live with the differences. When you talk about it in relation to the corporate world, cultivating a global mindset among employees can enhance an individual’s goals and solidify common objectives. 

When we talk about Culture, it is an umbrella term  that is used to refer to the principles, ideals and rules that govern a particular community; it consists of traditions, beliefs and social norms and rules regarding what is right and what is wrong. It differs from region to region. The concept of Culture is essential for setting the harmony and pace of a society. It gives identity to people, talks about what is known and what is unknown and is needed for helping an individual to adapt and survive in the world.  

In today’s world, staying culturally fit is more of a challenge than staying technically savvy. Irrespective of age, it is relatively easier to teach someone a technology than teaching them to appreciate their own culture and this has a lot of bearing on developing global mindset.

Importance Of  Developing A Global Mindset

Developing a global mindset is essential for learning professionals to grow in this era of globalization. In today’s work environment, the business interaction that happens is not geographically limited between cities, states, countries or even continents. In this scenario, understanding each other’s culture can be a key factor while striking an important business deal/merger.

Today, technology has brought us closer than ever, with the socio-cultural boundaries between nations blurring to a  large extent. We can see that there is an increasing exchange and amalgamation of ideas, innovations, and practices amongst nations. In this scenario, it is imperative that an organization recognizes this and mirrors the diversity. amongst its workforce to stay relevant. The more the organization creates opportunities for the workforce to work in diverse teams, nudge them to collaborate for results, the more effective they will become in developing a global mindset. 

It is incorrect to assume that a global mindset is needed only if you are working in  multi-national/ international organization. In this age of globalization, businesses at all tiers are going to be affected by global forces. An awareness of  the cultural, geographical and political diversity will enable an individual to stay sensitive to the constant change and identify the best innovation and practices that are relevant to their business.

Impact Of Learning On Developing Global Mindset 

Most of the employee’s today enroll in learning programs  not out of passion, but to get ahead in their career with a certification. Though this is not wrong, it has the consequence of defeating the real purpose of learning. Learning for learning’s sake is liberation; this is an idea embedded in the sanskrit saying, “sa vidya ya vimuktaye” from Vishnu Purana.  It basically means that education is liberation; liberation from insecurities and liberation from the belief that one is all aware. When learning is effective, it teaches a person that what they know is just a miniscule part of an iceberg. This research-oriented learning should thus be encouraged as it can lead to an open mind-set. 

Top Employee Development Programs Critical To Develop & Sustain A 21st Century Employee

Today’s learners need a holistic approach for their development. Any learning program for them needs to address not only their skills gap, but also needs to be customized to engage them personally.  Each learner’s needs are varied and recognizing this diversity is the first step to equipping today’s modern workforce.

One of the important ways in which employees can be developed is to teach them the art of unlearning. As per the concept of unlearning, teaching oneself to discard the previously held notions, knowledge and beliefs can open up a person’s mind to imbibe new learning faster and more effectively. This is an invaluable tool to develop an intelligent and alert workforce.

Additionally, Learning agility and continuous learning programs are important to prepare employees today. Continuous skilling, reskilling and upskilling is essential in this age, particularly in the IT domain where skills are becoming obsolete in only five years. Organizations should also focus on creating and fostering an environment your employee can experiment, learn, change and adapt. Organizations should also focus on employee’s ability to understand business, and tell business stories. 

Lastly, organization should also focus on honing their employees storytelling abilities. Storytelling is a critical aspect of employee success; telling the right stories becomes even more important as they advance up the corporate ladder.


About Connect L&D Collaborative

Connect L&D Collaborative

Connect L&D Collaborative brings together L&D professionals to curate a knowledge-driven article. The article is a collaborative effort of 2 or more L&D professionals who shares their unique personal insights and experiences on a topic central to the L&D domain

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