Cari E. Guittard Shares Real Life Global Leadership Lessons: 5 Steps to Strengthen Your Intellectual Capital

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Global Mindset, Global Skillset

This past week I had the great privilege of conducting a webinar for WiRL (Women in Real Life) which is a brilliant leadership platform for companies who are serious about developing their high potential female leaders.  WiRL was founded by Mitch Shepard in 2008 to be different, practical and impactful. Throughout the year they feature a number of thought leaders on a variety of subjects and I was asked to develop a webinar series based on my global consulting and graduate teaching for the Hult International Business School on Breaking Down The Global Mindset. The Global Mindset was pioneered and is led by Dr. Mansour Javidan at Thunderbird and has developed into a groundbreaking institute where Javidan continues his research and work with global companies and executives exploring the keys to sustainable success in a global environment.  The first in the webinar series that we explored last week was on Intellectual Capital, one of the three foundational elements of the Global Mindset.  Global Intellectual Capital ‘reflects your global business savvy, your cosmopolitan outlook, and your cognitive complexity.’  It involves excellence in building and maintaining a deep reservoir of current global knowledge and then strategically applying it to global and cross-cultural situations and environments.

Global Mindset Institute, Thunderbird School of Global Management

Five Steps to Building & Strengthening Your Intellectual Capital

Being originally from Texas, I wasn’t raised in a global environment so I had to quickly learn how to develop global intellectual capital when I began my career in cyber security post grad school at the US Department of State.  It was a baptism by fire of sorts ― you had very little time, especially in the post-9/11 environment to apply what worked in school.  You had to absorb, engage, and adapt on the fly in a global environment; constantly testing yourself and learning from others. Over the years, particularly in my own consulting practice and then in developing and teaching courses for my graduate students at Hult, I’ve refined how I approach Intellectual Capital so others can benefit from my global experience and what I refer to as professional scar tissue, the trial and error of every kind of information absorption and memory hack that is out there.  The following five steps are what I have ritualized to strengthen my Intellectual Capital daily, weekly, and then throughout the year.  Anyone, at any level can utilize this ― or even parts of this that work best for them ― to build on their own Intellectual Capital and global learning.

Cari Guittard, July 2016
Building Intellectual Capital Over Time
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Continuous Cycle

Step I ― Discovery ― this is when I dedicate time each day (typically an hour) and then over a longer period once a week to read through all my favorite aggregated news sources.  To scan the headlines, observe what is gaining training globally and make note of key shifts, events, and issues.

Favorite News Aggregators & SourcesThe Week, The Daily Skimm, STRATFOR Daily Intelligence Brief, Global Incident Map, Watching America, The World Post and the Fast News App.  

Step II ― Distillation ― after taking notes on what is gaining traction, I go deeper into those issues I’ve highlighted to try and parse out any building trends and tendencies that are emerging and put them into an initial response outline.  This is also when I allow myself more time to go deeper into some of my news resources, books and research.

Favorite Global Authors: Books I’m Reading & Re-Reading Now ― Ian Bremmer, Parag Khanna, Anja Manuel, Erin Meyer and Catherine Nomura.

Desk ReferencesGlobal Mindset Handbook for real world cases and examples and Any Wednesday by legendary global advertising guru Keith Reinhard.

For Fun Summer Reading ― Red Notice (Russia focus) and And Then All Hell Broke Loose (Middle East focus)

Step III ― Retention ― to increase my overall retention of the information I absorb each day I focus in on quality sources of information that I read through ― not watch on television. Second, after absorbing a ton of information in a short period of time I leave it completely to go about doing other tasks to allow my brain to properly digest everything.  I also re-review some of the key themes in my notes before I go to bed each evening to maximize this retention as sleep is one of the most powerful hacks to allow the brain to fully process information that you want to retain.

Step IV & V ― Recall & Understanding ― being able to access and strategically use the information you are absorbing when you need it is something that has become increasingly difficult in our on demand, multi-tasking daily lives.  To increase your recall and overall understanding of the Intellectual Capital you are building you need to use and test your growing knowledge constantly.  One of my favorite quotes that explains how to best approach this is by Wini Linguvic, a strength training yogi that I am fortunate enough to practice with here on the west coast.

Repetition is the Mother of Skill.

Simple tools applied with consistent, intelligent practice make all the difference over time.

Wini Linguvic

yogi, teacher, strength trainer, New York Times best selling author

Wini Linguvic

Optimal Inputs = Optimal Outputs

If you really want to jumpstart and focus on strengthening/expanding your Intellectual Capital you need to go beyond the five steps outlined above and also pay attention to how you feed and train your mind daily.  After studying a number of neuroscientists and leading physicians who specialize in brain optimization and in particular Dr. Mark Hymen’s UltraMind Solution, I believe that nutrition is vital to getting the most out of our brain power.  I closed the webinar sharing some of my favorite nutrition hacks for optimizing brain functioning and memory which include adding MCT Oil to my daily coffee, incorporating a number of healthy fats and foods known for their memory boosting effects, il Morso Matcha Green Tea  or Coffee&Cream Bars for a mid-afternoon, micro-caffeinated boost and chia seed, I cannot live without ample amounts of this throughout the day.

In addition to feeding the brain optimal nutrition, you also need to find ways to as Steve Jobs put it, ‘think clean’.  Find ways to actively clear your mind ― at least once a day and ideally a couple times a day.  I do this by practicing one of my favorite yoga poses ― that just about anyone can do ― first thing in the morning for 10 minutes and then first thing at night before I go to bed.  It’s called Viparita Karani or Legs up the Wall and it is the best way I’ve found to work on training my brain to rest and clear all thoughts. It is also a great way to reset and calm your nervous system when you are under intense pressure and stress.

AZ Quotes

Anyone can improve their Intellectual Capital.  Anyone.  If you have a global role or are planning a global leadership path, continually building on and strengthening your Intellectual Capital is essential for long-term sustained success.

In our followup WiRL webinar this fall we’ll explore another key Global Mindset Pillar, Social Capital.  Please join us.

View the article on The Huffington Post’s website here.

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