Spring 2015 Issue
Recommended Reading: The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business and Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions
Recommended Viewing: How to Lead Change Management
From the Web: Navigating the Cultural Minefield
An integrative framework for global leadership competency
Leadership - Measuring the Return on Character
Everyday moments of truth: Frontline managers are key to women's career aspirations
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Dear Clients & Partners, 

Welcome to the Spring edition of Executive Edge. 


In this edition, our selections include a framework for developing global leadership competency. Once you've reviewed, you may be interested in our "Recommended Reading"; "Recommended Viewing"; and "From the Web" columns (below left), where we feature Erin Meyer's "Culture Map" work.


Have you ever wondered if there's a bottom line return on leadership character? The answer is yes, it appears there is one. Our second study explores how leadership character impacts company performance.


Finally, we share an important report from Bain & Company on how and why men and women's career aspirations and confidence start to differ by mid-career, based its five year research study. 


We hope our selections are informative and thought-provoking, as well as providing you with ideas, tools and resources to facilitate your success as a leader as well as aid in the development of others. Do let me know if you'd like to know more about any of these studies. 


DCP Margarett

Margaret D'Onofrio
Principal / Executive Coach


The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business

In The Culture Map, Erin Meyer provides a field-tested model for decoding how cultural differences impact international business. She combines a smart analytical framework with practical, actionable advice for succeeding in a global world. 

See also the HBR article below and link to take the culture survey.


Decisive: How to Make Choices in Life and Work

Winner in the Practical Manager category of the CMI Management Book of the Year awards 2014, authors of number 1 New York Times best-seller Switch, show you how to overcome your brain's natural shortcomings. In Decisive, Chip and Dan Heath draw on decades of psychological research to explain why we so often get it very badly wrong - why our supposedly rational brains are frequently tripped up by powerful biases and wishful thinking.


Check out the Heath brothers' website for some great free resources. 





How to Lead Change Management
How to Lead Change Management

DeAnne Aguirre, senior partner with Strategy+Business, discusses techniques that can help companies transform quickly and effectively. For more insights, read "10 Principles of Leading Change Management"


From the 
  Navigating the Cultural Minefield


 Harvard Business Review  
May 2014  


As we work with colleagues and clients who come from all parts of the world, it is vital to understand how cultural differences affect business. Yet too often we rely on clich�s and stereotypes that lead us to false assumptions. 

To help managers negotiate the complexity of an international work team, INSEAD professor Erin Meyer has developed a tool called the Culture Map, which plots the positions of numerous nationalities along eight behavior scales: Communicating, Evaluating, Persuading, Leading, Deciding, Trusting, Disagreeing, and Scheduling. 

Meyer suggests that comparing the relative positions of different nationalities along these scales can help us decode how culture influences workplace dynamics.

Take Meyer's 25 question culture survey and enter your country to see where you fall on the eight scales. 


Web Link - May require an HBR subscription.  




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An integrative framework for global leadership competency 

Junhee Kim & Gary N. McLean (2015): An integrative framework for global leadership competency: levels and dimensions, Human Resource Development International, DOI





The authors start with the premise that HRD professionals need to know what knowledge, skills, and attitudes are essential for developing leaders in global organizations. They set out a theory-based integrative framework that can be used to build a company-specific global leadership competency model which in turn can be used to recruit, deploy, develop, retain, and reward global leaders. 



The authors conducted a literature review to answer three research questions:

  1. What methods have been used to establish global leadership competency models in the peer-reviewed literature from 2000 to 2014?
  2. What global leadership competency models have been proposed in the peer reviewed literature from 2000 to 2014?
  3. What theory-based framework can be developed to incorporate identified levels and dimensions in global leadership competency models?

The authors defined several key concepts to overcome problems of different meanings and/or lack of definition in the literature reviewed before tabulating 38 publications and analyzing and cataloging traits, motivations, self-concepts, attitudes, values, knowledge and skills across all studies reviewed. They also reviewed frameworks of global leadership competency. 


  • The authors resulting integrative framework proposes that global leadership competency should have four dimensions: intercultural, interpersonal, global business, and global organizational
  • Each dimension of global leadership should be composed of three levels of global leadership competency: core traits, character, and ability as shown in the table below.


Implications for HRD


The framework suggested by the authors serves as a compass for companies to develop a systematic global
leadership competency model tailored to their specific industry, culture, and country. They point out that:

  1. Core traits are known to be relatively immutable over time. 
  2. Personal character is more immutable than ability.
  3. Personal character and core traits are both more mutable than traits and motives which means that developmental interventions can be more effective in developing both character and ability. 
  4. It is more cost-effective for an organization to select or recruit for core traits and motives and then train and develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to accomplish the global leadership role.
  5. In addition to distinguishing the levels, the dimensional structure of their framework allows practitioners to determine content domains for developmental interventions within their organizations.

They conclude with areas for further research to develop a universal global leadership model, while also urging HRD to evaluate developmental approaches employed to assess their effectiveness.


Web Link - Requires Paid Subscription  

DCP leadership   

Leadership - Measuring the Return on Character 


Idea Watch - Harvard Business Review - April 2015. Pages 20-21

In a new study by KRW International, a Minneapolis-based leadership consultancy, researchers discovered that highly principled leaders and their organizations outperformed those where executives acted out of self-interest, greed and hubris. 



identified these four moral principles-integrity, responsibility, forgiveness, and compassion - using an inventory from anthropologist Donald Brown. Anonymous surveys were sent to employees at 84 U.S. companies & nonprofits, asking how consistently their CEOs and leadership embodied the four principles. Interviews were also conducted with many of the executives. The organization's financial results were also factored in to the analysis.   


The researchers found that CEOs whose employees gave them high marks for character had an average return on assets of 9.35% over a two-year period. This compared to an average ROA of 1.93% (nearly five times lower) for those CEOs rated as having low character. 

"Virtuoso leaders"  engaged in behaviors such as standing up for what's right, expressing concern for the common good, letting go of mistakes (their own and others'), and showing empathy.

"Self-focused CEOs" were often described as warping the truth for personal gain and caring mostly about themselves and their own financial security, no matter the cost to others.

"I was unprepared to discover how robust the connection really is," reported Kiel, co-founder
 of KWR. "In addition to outperforming the self-focused CEOs on financial metrics, the virtuosos received higher 
employee ratings for vision and
strategy, focus, accountability, and executive team character."

Learn more about KRW's findings in Return on Character, by Fred Kiel (Harvard Business Review Press, 2015).

Web Link- May require a paid

DCP leadership   

Everyday moments of truth: Frontline managers are key to women's career aspirations


Julie Coffman and Bill Neuenfeldt. Bain & Company, June 2014.

Click to enlarge

Over the last five years, Bain & Company has been tracking men and women's career paths to understand how and why they differ. In its 2014 US gender parity research, more than 1,000 men and women across all career levels were asked about their interest in a top management position (board, CEO level, and one or two levels below CEO) in a large company. The research revealed:

  • 43% of women aspire to top management during the first two years of their position, compared with 34% of men. Both genders are equally confident about their ability to reach a top management position during this stage. 
  • Over time, women's aspiration levels drop more than 60% while men's stay the same. Among those with two plus years of experience, 34% of men are still aiming for the top, while only 16% of women are. Marital and parental status do not significantly differ for women who aspire and women who don't.
  • Three reasons are offered for the erosion in women's aspirations and confidence in mid-career. These include the clash with ideal worker stereotypes of "always on" fast-tracking go-getter; the lack of supervisor support for mid-level women; and the lack of women role models at top company levels.

Practical Application


The researchers offer practical recommendations for both managers and corporations. 


For managers:  

  • Encourage a healthier work-life balance to influence employees' views of the ideal worker
  • Invest more time in providing individualized attention to employees
  • Expand the concept and definition of role models

For corporate leadership: 

  • Communicate company expectations for gender parity across the organization
  • Equip and train managers to meet these expectations
  • Refine recruiting and talent management approaches and procedures
  • Encourage sponsorships between senior-level employees and rising stars
  • Implement and track progress on key metrics 
Web Link - Does Not Require Paid Subscription  
In Closing ...
I hope you have enjoyed this issue of Executive Edge. Like us on Facebook to receive more leadership articles and ideas throughout the year.
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Margaret D'Onofrio

Principal & Executive Coach