Shaking the globe
A new leadership book by Blythe McGarvie '78 stresses the importance of courage and curiosity
By Amy Trang
Blythe McGarvie '78 is founder and president of Leadership for International Finance, a firm that provides strategic and financial advice to international businesses. Her recent book, Shaking the Globe: Courageous Decision-Making in a Changing World (John Wiley & Sons, 2009), outlines the traits leaders need to succeed on the global stage.
Kellogg World: Why did you title your book Shaking the Globe?
Blythe McGarvie: "Shaking" is a metaphor for recognizing that what happens in one part of the world influences business activity in another, much like an earthquake in one part of the world will affect business in another part. Tomorrow's influential leaders must "shake things up" by challenging old practices, attitudes and assumptions.
KW: Your book introduces a "Courage Quotient" assessment tool to measure courageous leadership characteristics. Is courage inherent, or is it something that can be learned?
BM: Courage is definitely something that can be learned. I found that courage is defined by competence, curiosity, caring and perseverance. Curiosity compels one to keep asking questions, meet new people, develop new ideas and try to progress. Today's business activity serves people all over the world. Our leaders must care enough about others' needs and values to be able to address them. Perseverance is key because every leader has failed or been stymied at one time or another. Those who refuse to be defeated show courage.
KW: What do you think top-tier business schools like Kellogg should be doing to educate and prepare such future leaders so that they acquire this mentality?
BM: Kellogg is aware of the importance of cultivating a global perspective. The school's faculty and administration cultivate the global brand and develop meaningful relationships around the world. If I were going back to Kellogg today, I would take advantage of the Global Initiatives in Management course. I also would take advantage of meeting people from other countries attending the school. Getting to know people at Kellogg who are not like you is one of the successful steps toward being a global citizen. You are really laying the track for future success. You are starting to shake the globe by being part of the Kellogg network.