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How Import-Export Businesses Can Develop a ‘Global Mindset’

By Megan Doyle

As the competitive advantages of a global mindset become more prevalent for import-export businesses, some organizations are beginning to take development into their own hands, whether through internal classroom-based training, interactive instruction, or sending employees and families on overseas assignments to participate in one-on-one sensitivity training.1

But for the import and export businesses that have yet to develop internal training, or for the globally minded professional, a plethora of external resources is available. Here are a few.


Government Provided Resources for Import and Export Businesses


The U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration's (ITA) is a useful portal for all aspects of import-export business. Its series of Country Commercial Guides provides market information on geography, currency, business customs and languages, as well as current regulations and opportunities for more than 125 countries.2


In addition, the ITA offers over 100 U.S. Commercial Service office locations and over 70 international offices. This local assistance aims to help international businesses choose the right market, develop strategies, increase exposure, and find potential business partners.3


For those looking to get into the finer details of cross-border trade, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) may be the place to look. The USTR provides comprehensive reports on import-export business across the world, as well as information on fair trade agreements, bilateral trade and investment issues, commodity agreements, and World Trade Organization issues.4


Similarly, the U.S. Department of State offers fact sheets on bilateral relations, complete with information on government and political conditions, economies, people, geography, and history across the globe – all of which may help international businesses garner a global perspective and potentially mitigate political, financial, and cultural risks.5


International Resources


Several global and local organizations provide a multitude of free resources for import-export businesses seeking a global mindset. For example, the United Nations Statistics Division's database provides a broad list of country, world, and regional profiles that touch on general information, economic indicators, major trading partners, social indicators, and environment and infrastructure indicators.6


Likewise, the World Bank provides a large amount of global development data free to the public, with information ranging from CO2 emissions to school enrollment rates to GDP and detailed economic data.7 The World Bank also offers a yearly publication, Doing Business, for purchase. The report includes up-to-date quantitative information on "the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it" across 190 economies worldwide. They have also released subnational reports of 485 locations in 71 economies since 2005.8


The University of Kansas's Community Tool Box provides a toolkit for import-export businesses looking to enhance "Cultural Competence" in their organization. The openly available resource is a syllabus-like framework that goes through steps such as defining visions and goals, how to conduct a "cultural audit," and how to build a culturally competent organization.9


Private Programs and Organizations


For importers and exporters looking for more formal training, a number of private programs are available. For example, RW-3's CultureWizard, whose goal is to help organizations "thrive in a constantly changing global workplace,"10 offers cross-cultural training programs that combine personalized interactive learning and access to a large multimedia library to help international businesses acquire intercultural business skills and, ultimately, achieve a global mindset. CultureWizard's resource center also offers free "pocket guides," studies, and infographics.11


INSEAD, the European Institute of Business Administration, is a graduate business school "for the world" with three international campuses. Its goal is to "develop value-driven business leaders with a global mindset."12 INSEAD also provides a free knowledge database with articles, blogs, and videos aimed to help international businesses and global executives and managers discover answers to business challenges on topics ranging from leadership, economics, customers, strategies, and more.13


The International Institute for Management Development's (IMD's) School for Management and Leadership offers programs for both individuals and organizations to help internationally focused businesses and professionals develop global leadership skills. Like INSEAD and CultureWizard, IMD also freely provides a series of publications and articles to supplement the journey towards achieving a global mindset.14


Finally, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers international businesses on-site training and development programs with topics on developing cultural intelligence and global management skills. SHRM provides an array of articles supporting the need for a global mindset and tips on developing a strong sense of cultural understanding for international businesses.15



An abundance of free and paid, public and private resources is readily available to help international import-export businesses promote intercultural awareness and understanding among employees. This wide variety of information at the fingertips of international business professionals may be a key to kick starting – or enhancing – their development of a global mindset.

Megan Doyle - The Author

The Author

Megan Doyle

Megan Doyle is a business technology writer and researcher based in Wantagh, NY, whose work focuses primarily on financial services technology.


1. “How to Create an Effective Cross-Cultural Training Program,” Society for Human Resource Management;
2. “Country Commercial Guides,”;
3. “Services for U.S. Exporters: U.S. Commercial Service,”;
4. “Office of the United States Trade Representative,” USTR;
5. “U.S. Bilateral Relations Fact Sheets,” U.S. Department of State;
6. “UN Data: A world of information,” United Nations;
7. “World Bank Open Data,” World Bank;
8. “Doing Business,” World Bank;
9. “Enhancing cultural Competence,” KU’s Community Toolbox;
10. “CultureWizard. BecomeOne.,” CultureWizard;
11. “Resource Center,” CultureWizard;
12. “The INSEAD Advantage,” INSEAD;
13. “About Us,” INSEAD Knowledge;
14. “Developing leaders. Transforming organizations. Impacting your future,” International Institute for Management Development;
15. “Society for Human Resource Management,” Society for Human Resource Management;

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