Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
How globally literate are you?
Abstract The author describes four twenty-first century literacies crucial to global business success: personal literacy, social literacy, business literacy, and cultural literacy. The Global Literacy Quiz offers readers the opportunity to assess their own skills in each of these areas. Successful global business leaders will use these literacies to mobilize people, relationships, and culture.
Keywords Globalization, Leadership, Skills, National cultural, Multicultural society
Arrogant and self-absorbed US companies, dazzled by prosperity, are headed toward failure in the global marketplace, according to our recent study of global leadership and world-class corporations. Businesses that fail to understand the importance of cultural differences and refuse to learn to speak the new global language will be blindsided by the rivals they underestimate.
There are four twenty-first century literacies crucial to global success: personal literacy, understanding and valuing one's self; social literacy, engaging and challenging people; business literacy, focusing and mobilizing one's business; and cultural literacy, valuing and leveraging cultural differences. People express these literacies in their own ways, depending upon where they live, work, and conduct business.
The statements in the accompanying diagram are indicators of global literacy. Circle the number that indicates the extent to which each statement is true about you, total your score, and find your GLQ at the bottom of the page.
Successful global leaders understand how to use the literacies to mobilize their three most important assets: people, relationships, and culture. Companies used to live or die primarily by the availability of materials, but globalization and technology have leveled the playing field. People provide the only remaining competitive advantage. As companies deal with an increasing number of diverse, multicultural customers, partners, and employees, only those that are globally literate will survive.