Until recently, businesses referred to themselves almost exclusively as “international” or “multinational.” The shift to the use of “global,” while subtle, is significant because the words have very different meanings and implications. Both “international” and “multinational” are based on our current governmental structure of nation states and refer to relationships based on nations. They both imply that the relationships can be between some nations but not others. “Global”, on the other hand, has nothing in particular to do with nations. Other meanings for the word are “universal” and “relating to a whole.”
For companies that truly have a vision of being global, the expansion of human minds and hearts is more than geographic expansion….Under our common use of “global” there is also a deeper, more essential notion of wholeness. Therefore, a global business is a business — whether worldwide or not — that has a vision of questing toward wholeness — for itself, for the people within it, for the world at large.
Excerpted from Leadership: A Sacred Responsibility first published in Leadership in a New Era: Visionary Approaches…, ed. by John Renesch, New Leaders Press, 1994.
Photo taken in Nepal in 1984 © Barbara Shipka 2010