Harvey S. Firestone 


Globalization is an undying force and here to stay. Major advances in transportation and communication technology have made the world shrink. However, despite the unifomization of consumption patterns, cultural differences are still significant and working in a multicultural world is still as challenging as it was before. In this VUCA world, a mindset shift is important. In order to mitigate the risks and maximize the opportunities of working internationally, companies need to develop trully global leaders, leaders with a GLOBAL MINDSET. It will become a key source of competitive advantage.

For companies, this means developing not only individual global mindsets at the manager level but also networks & connections to leverage these mindsets at the organizational level. They need a learning culture in which this global mindset can flourish. 

Add to this megatrend, two other major evolutions: demographic changes and the knowledge revolution. Both have contributed to significantly change the work environment as well. With Baby-Boomers retiring, employers need to fill the workforce gap. There is already now a talent/ leadership shortage. Furthermore, lifelong employment no longer exists, requesting from younger generations to find ways to increase their marketability, by regularly upsilling and reskilling. 

The Knowledge Revolution has put knowledge and learning at the center of the debate. Information overload, global and virtual work, have contributed to question the way we share information. Knowledge has become the new power.


The challenge is that in many companies, Learning & Development has not evolved and adapted to these megatrends. A large percentage of the time and resources invested in learning events are “wasted.”  That is, the learner is not able to apply what they have learned on-the-job in a way that increases the success of the business. Often corporate learning programs are just one time events, without any follow up to convert new thinking and behaviors into new habits. The content is also too often disconnected from the realities of the manager’s work and can’t be applied on the job. Many programs  also fail to engage the manager’s key stakeholders back at work.  

The biggest challenge though for most organizations is that their Learning & Development efforts have the wrong focus: they point exclusively on horizontal development (meaning on adding more knowledge, skills and competencies; they are focused on WHAT you think), rather than on vertical development (meaning on the ability to think in more complex, systemic, strategic, and interdependent ways; focused on HOW you think). In most companies there is no vertical development at all. However it’s specifically this developmental approach that is so important nowadays in this complex and knowledge-driven world.