by Sandra Trice Gray
See the complete list of articles by Sandra Gray.
Think and act both locally and globally.
According to John Naisbitt in his book Global Paradox, "The bigger the world economy, the more powerful its smallest players." In the 21st century, it will be necessary to think and act both locally and globally if we as leaders want to ensure that our organizations maintain a strong presence among increasingly diverse constituencies. The 21st-century leader must be able to see and seek both local and global connections and to consider how these relate to the viability of his or her organization.
Many associations already transcend a national scope. After all, association activities (e.g., communication, education, research, standards setting) are borderless. And since populations ? regardless of makeup or location ? are increasingly addressing interdependent issues, such as disease, environmental concerns, and technology, 21st-century leaders will need to function with a consciousness that looks not only at how these issues impact their own memberships but also at the impact of these issues on a worldwide scale.
Communication technology has increased our capacity to interact in a timely manner with people anywhere in the world, making our efforts equally and immediately local and global. However, one crucial question becomes, "How do we globalize our thinking as leaders and work to internationalize our organizations?"
Here are a few starter ideas for institutionalizing an international perspective into your association?s functions:
As our organizations become more and more placeless within a global society, our interrelationships will become an important reflection of who we are and what we do as associations. As today?s association leaders pay more attention to the borderless world in which we live, they will naturally see existing linkages ? and they will facilitate new ones ? with other organizations, communities, and populations around the nation and the world.
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