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Working GlobeSmart

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Working GlobeSmart

12 People Skills for Doing Business Across Borders

Davies-Black Publishing,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

When you embark on global business dealings, leave your assumptions at home. Adaptability is a cultural necessity.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


This basic, solid book on global business takes nothing for granted. Author Ernest Gundling teaches by example and illustration, and has something approaching a horror of direct statement. At the end of each chapter, where a bolder writer might insert points to remember, he provides, instead, lists of questions to consider. This book will tell you the skills you need and will make you very aware of your deficits, but it will not tell you precisely how to develop those skills. Gundling does provide a wealth of little, fictitious anecdotes about people who have done the right or wrong thing in global business. In a refreshingly humble approach, he sometimes uses his own blunders as examples of what not to do. recommends his book, which brings to mind that Socrates was judged the wisest of men because he knew he knew nothing. Readers will come a few steps closer to such Socratic enlightenment. What you may not know about conducting yourself in international business would fill a book - this one.


What You Need to Know

Twelve people-related skills are indispensable to success in global business. These essential people skills, also called competencies, fall into three categories. They are:

  • Interpersonal skills - Credibility, feedback, information gathering and evaluation.
  • Group skills - Global team-building, training, sales and negotiation.
  • Organizational skills - Strategy, knowledge transfer, innovation and change management.

Mastery of these people skills is fundamental in the craft of global business leadership. Many challenges await the businessperson who sets foot - whether physical or virtual - on alien soil. Indeed, foreign shores may be as close as the computer monitor where you receive e-mail messages from global teammates in a cross-border corporate project. Language and cultural differences make it more difficult to communicate clearly. People expect and assume divergent things, and it is harder to figure out what their expectations and assumptions are. You may not recognize feedback when you get it and, even in person, you may not realize that you are communicating unintended messages with your tone of voice, phrasing...

About the Author

Ernest Gundling, Ph.D., co-founder and managing director of Meridian Resources Associates, Inc., is the author of The 3M Way to Innovation. He lectures at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

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