Do you pass the Global Mindset airport test?

By Mansour Javidan, Ph.D.

As a frequent flier to all parts of the world, I spend more time than most people at international airports. Whenever possible, I arrive early at security checkpoints because I sometimes draw attention as an Iranian native carrying a Canadian passport.

The extra time gives me an opportunity to observe my fellow travelers as they attempt to navigate the signs and procedures in a new country. This activity is a form of research for me as director of the Najafi Global Mindset Institute at Thunderbird.

The institute uses a scientific self-assessment called the Global Mindset Inventory, which has helped more than 15,000 managers since 2008 identify areas of strength and weakness in nine global business categories. Although less precise, the airport test is still revealing.

People with high levels of global mindset adapt quickly to unfamiliar environments such as busy airports. They remain calm as they walk around and figure things out. Others with provincial mindsets become stressed or even angry because things are different than home.

So how do you fare on the global mindset airport test when you arrive at unfamiliar terminals and gates? Even managers with a record of success at home might fall flat on the global stage if they can’t handle the pressure.

Mansour Javidan, Ph.D., is the Garvin Distinguished Professor and Director of the Najafi Global Mindset Institute at Thunderbird School of Global Management.