For many years, humanity has been facing a slew of crises – environmental, economic, social and political – which call into question the basic tenets of the modern globalizing economy. The COVID-19 crisis, in particular, has revealed the inherent vulnerability of the global system, and now even the mainstream media is questioning the policies that lead countries to be so dependent on global trade.

At long last, there is widespread recognition that globalization is not an inexorable force of evolution, but an economic choice – and, most importantly, we can make a different choice instead. More and more people are waking up to the fact that smaller-scale, more localized economic relations fundamentally improve their own quality of life, while positively impacting the world around them.

Now, as we are faced with repairing our systems from this immediate crisis, we have an opportunity like never before to bring the many disparate positive local actions around the world into a powerful movement for global change.

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To be clear, when we talk about globalization, we mean it in an economic sense. To many, the word may bring to mind a ‘global village,’ and there is certainly a need for us to come together globally to protect the environment and work for peace. However, the inexorable globalizing of economic activity—increasing trade distances, diverting wealth to multinational corporations, and deregulating big business and financial sectors has the opposite effect.

The globalized economy values corporate profits over all forms of life. It has a voracious appetite for natural resources, produces vast volumes of waste, and has put us on a path that systematically separates us from each other and the natural world. To make the system function, economic policies must be heavily skewed in favor of the biggest players. Lavish subsidies are funneled into large-scale production and the enormous infrastructure needed for global trade, while multinational businesses and banks are freed from taxation and regulation.

To a large extent, globalization continues because political leaders are so narrowly focused on abstract economic yardsticks – especially GDP growth – that they cannot see the real-world implications of their policies. GDP measures only the amount of money changing hands. This means that most kinds of healthy, non-monetary growth are ignored, such as the growth of native forests, of human knowledge and understanding, of meaningful livelihoods and resilient communities. Pollution, illness and crime, however, entail expense — and so they get added to the positive side of the GDP ledger.

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Many of the faults in this system have been laid bare by COVID-19. The pandemic has shown us that relying on mega-corporations using vast quantities of fossil fuel to import food, medicine, and other essential goods from across the world is a risky survival strategy. It has shown us that the privatization of medicine has only weakened already overburdened healthcare systems.

It has thrown wide open the gaps between rich and poor, with low-income people suffering a far greater burden of disease. It has revealed that no livelihoods are safe in a system that focuses on the growth of multinational corporations and GDP. As an example, American billionaires became $282 billion dollars richer in the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic, even as over thirty-three million Americans lost their jobs.

Although this time has been deeply frightening and tragic, it has also led many to wonder: how can we do better? How can we go forward from here, together, to build systems that have humans and nature at their center?

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Localisation has demonstrated its benefits time and again through on-the-ground initiatives ranging from farmers markets, CSAs and ‘agri-wilding’ projects to local business alliances, community banks and place-based education schemes – and they are happening in almost every country.

Such initiatives nurture our faith in human nature. It is both humbling and inspiring to imagine the possibilities if our economic levers—taxes, subsidies and regulations—were redirected in support of the local. If the countless grassroots localization initiatives were systematically supported, we could see a flourishing of biodiversity alongside a geometric increase of human prosperity and wellbeing.

Rather than funnelling more wealth into a shrinking handful of global monopolies, we could promote a multitude of place-based businesses and industries and grow the number of meaningful jobs. Rather than using GDP, we could value the growth of our real economy – the living earth—on which we ultimately depend for every single one of our needs.
In localizing, decision-making itself is transformed.

Not only do we create systems that are small enough for us to influence, but we also embed ourselves within a web of relationships that informs our actions and perspectives at a deep level, enabling us to become both more empowered to make change and more humbled by the complexity of life around us.
Join the conversation. Join the movement from global to local.

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Helena Norberg-Hodge

Is founder and director of Local Futures, previously known as the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC).

Author and filmmaker Helena Norberg-Hodge is a pioneer of the local economy movement.


Research: Women Score Higher Than Men in Most Leadership Skills

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For the first time in history, a major political party in the United States has several women who have declared their candidacy to be their party’s presidential nominee. But TV pundits have been questioning whether, despite the progress indicated by the huge influx of women elected into Congress last fall, the U.S. is ever going to elect a woman to the country’s highest leadership position.

This is baffling to us, especially in light of what we see in our corporate research. In two articles from 2012 we discussed findings from our analysis of 360-degree reviews that women in leadership positions were perceived as being every bit as effective as men. In fact, while the differences were not huge, women scored at a statistically significantly higher level than men on the vast majority of leadership competencies we measured.

We recently updated that research, again looking at our database of 360-degree reviews in which we ask individuals to rate each leaders’ effectiveness overall and to judge how strong they are on specific competencies, and had similar findings: that women in leadership positions are perceived just as — if not more — competent as their male counterparts.

Still, the disturbing fact is that the percentage of women in senior leadership roles in businesses has remained relatively steady since we conducted our original research. Only 4.9% of Fortune 500 CEOs and 2% of S&P 500 CEOs are women. And those numbers are declining globally.

There are of course many factors that contribute to this dearth of women at senior levels. For centuries, there have been broad, cultural biases against women and stereotypes die slowly. People have long believed that many women elect not to aspire to the highest ranks of the organization and take themselves out of the running (though recent research disputes that). Lots of research has shown that unconscious bias places a significant role in hiring and promotion decisions, which also contributes to the lower number of women in key positions.

Our current data presents even more compelling evidence that this bias is incorrect and unwarranted. Women are perceived by their managers — particularly their male managers — to be slightly more effective than men at every hierarchical level and in virtually every functional area of the organization. That includes the traditional male bastions of IT, operations, and legal.

As you can see in the chart below, women were rated as excelling in taking initiative, acting with resilience, practicing self-development, driving for results, and displaying high integrity and honesty. In fact, they were thought to be more effective in 84% of the competencies that we most frequently measure.

According to our updated data, men were rated as being better on two capabilities —”develops strategic perspective” and “technical or professional expertise,” which were the same capabilities where they earned higher ratings in our original research as well.

Interestingly, our data shows that when women are asked to assess themselves, they are not as generous in their ratings. In the last few years we created a self-assessment that measures, among other things, confidence. We’ve been collecting data since 2016 (from 3,876 men and 4,779 women so far) on levels of confidence leaders have in themselves over their careers and we saw some interesting trends.

When we compare confidence ratings for men and women, we see a large difference in those under 25. It’s highly probable that those women are far more competent than they think they are, while the male leaders are overconfident and assuming they are more competent than they are. At age 40, the confidence ratings merge. As people age their confidence generally increases; surprisingly, over the age of 60 we see male confidence decline, while female confidence increases.

According to our data, men gain just 8.5 percentile points in confidence from age 25 to their 60+ years. Women, on the other hand, gain 29 percentile points. One note: This is what we see in our data though we recognize that there are studies that come to different conclusions on whether women truly lack confidence at early stages in their career.

Las mujeres se califican a sí mismas como menos seguras que los hombres hasta la infografía de mediados de los 40

These findings dovetail with other research that shows women are less likely to apply for jobs unless they are confident they meet most of the listed qualifications. A man and woman with identical credentials, who both lack experience for a higher level position, come to different conclusions about being prepared for the promotion.

The man is more inclined to assume that he can learn what he’s missing, while in the new job. He says to himself, “I am close enough.”  The woman is inclined to be more wary, and less willing to step up in that circumstance.

It’s possible that these lower levels of confidence at younger ages could motivate women to take more initiative, be more resilient, and to be more receptive to feedback from others, which in turn makes them more effective leaders in the long run.

We see a similar trend in women’s perceptions of their overall leadership effectiveness, with their rating rising as they get older. This data is from a study that includes 40,184 men and 22,600 women and measures the overall effectiveness rating of males and females on 49 unique behaviors that predict a leaders effectiveness.

Again, women at younger ages rate themselves significantly lower than men but their ratings climb — and eventually supersede those of men — as they get older.


This data continues to reinforce our observations from our previous research — women make highly competent leaders, according to those who work most closely with them — and what’s holding them back is not lack of capability but a dearth of opportunity. When given those opportunities, women are just as likely to succeed in higher level positions as men.

Keep in mind that our data is mostly perceptions of current and past behavior and performance. That’s different than a promotional decision that involves movement to a higher position and involves taking a bigger risk. If 96 out of 100 people currently serving in comparable positions are male, and you are making the decision about who to promote, and you have a highly qualified female and a highly qualified male, what are you inclined to do? It may seem safer to choose the man.

Leaders need to take a hard look at what gets in the way of promoting women in their organizations. Clearly, the unconscious bias that women don’t belong in senior level positions plays a big role. It’s imperative that organizations change the way they make hiring and promotion decisions and ensure that eligible women are given serious consideration.

Those making those decisions need to pause and ask, “Are we succumbing to unconscious bias? Are we automatically giving the nod to a man when there’s an equally competent woman?” And, as our data on confidence shows, there’s a need for organizations to give more encouragement to women. Leaders can assure them of their competence and encourage them to seek promotions earlier in their careers.


Jack Zenger

Is the CEO of Zenger/Folkman, a leadership development consultancy.


Joseph Folkman

Es el presidente de Zenger / Folkman, una consultora de desarrollo de liderazgo.


Originally Published at Harvard Business Review

The Case for Job/Career Jumpers

The past eight weeks of the global COVID-19 crisis have shed some light on a host of socio-political realities and brought to the fore many questions centered on economic existence. Beyond the catastrophe visited upon the public health sector, COVID-19 has facilitated broad community-centered, very public discussion and evaluation of financial systems but more importantly lively dialogue of economic sustainability.

Of particular merit is human capital and the pivotal roles it has played during this global event where, in the absence of some hard resources, human resources and accompanying skills-sets have been an invaluable commodity, which has helped to ensure the wellbeing of others during the crisis.

This mobilization of the overabundance soft resources in the social sphere are easily transferable in other sectors of the economy, where talent individuals can fully employ their competencies and skills sets in public sector and/or private enterprise. 

Still many are forced to re-image a pre COVID-19 world whilst other view and even welcome this crisis as an opportunity to envision and create a new reality where a premium is placed on environmental and social justice issues within a new sustainable global model.

With an estimated 22 million jobs lost in the United States alone and another million through Europe within the eight weeks of the crisis, the ILO (International Labour Organization) and the European Employment Commissioner Nicolas Schmit agree with the forecast of 12 million full-time jobs being lost in Europe.

The projected global job loss of livelihoods looms greater, especially in the face of uncertainty which this crisis thrusts upon us collectively and in particular those in decision-making roles. 

The term “career jumpers” originates from employers and HR professionals’ who hold assumptions of individuals with multiple short tenured and/or simultaneous careers failing to possess the staying power

Throughout the course of my professional career as an international civil servant, entrepreneur, public speaker and consultant, I have had the opportunity to discover different cultures and to meet dynamic individuals, including leaders, innovators and human resource professional that those in hiring positions termed as “Job/Career Jumpers“.

The term “career jumpers” originates from employers and HR professionals’ who hold assumptions of individuals with multiple short-tenured and/or simultaneous careers failing to possess the staying power.

For this reason, untrained hiring managers/HR professionals fall short to identify and/or value the potential contribution of a “career jumper” since they themselves fail to recognize the immediate value of such individuals, which is outside of the average 3  to 5 year readied of rate of investment (ROI) per hire.

As a consequence, many organizations lose opportunities to fully harness resource untapped and associated competencies of these unique individuals. In spite of the fact that “job jumpers” are a dynamic human capital that can develop institutional capacity in relation to their professional experience, which is a byproduct of competencies developed through their professional and life experiences. 

Further, whatever is the reason(s) for a job jumper, they have accumulated cross-sectoral exposure in different contexts and working situations is marked by their greater adaptability and flexibility periods of crisis, across specific subject matter and functional teams.

As result of their intrinsic curiosity and drive, which is enhanced by way of multiple careers, these individuals are poised to skillfully deal with fresh challenges in new roles where they use their professional competences, multidimensional talents and expertise across different sectors.

Moreover, since these “job jumpers” are able to identify and create new opportunities, see patterns and bring new insights, many have become consultants, advisors, project managers, innovators, entrepreneurs, subject matter experts and freelancers.

An example of on such person with multidimensional talents is Randy Komisar and Kabir Sehgal. Randy earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School, he worked with Steve Jobs in the acquisition of Pixar and eventually assume the role of CEO of several companies and venture capitalists firms.

Kabir, who himself has authored the article “Why You Should Have (at least) Two Careers”, describe having four vocations: Corporate strategist at a Fortune 500 company, US Navy Reserve officer, author of several books and record producer. 

Taking the above into consideration, the leaders and HR professionals must seize upon every opportunity to develop adaptable workforce by broadening their own insights and by developing initiatives, beyond the short-sighted ROI per hire, that promote innovation among their workforce. It is through the just-in-time detection of dynamic and talented individuals that this can be achieved.

An example of a missed opportunity came 10 months ago during market research that I was carrying out with one of my associates. The aim of the research was to help HR executives and business owners identify value, develop initiatives and build upon market’s opportunities.

During this research, we interviewed several executive and business owners with the primary objective to help them align their pain points with talent identification initiatives, acquisition and management process to our human capital success predictor solution.

After the meeting one of the executive expressed regret for not identifying (my) multidimensional skills during a job interview few years ago. Nevertheless, this recognition has positively impacted our mutual appreciation of challenges in areas where we can effectively partner to develop sustainable solutions.

In aim of recognizing and nurturing the multidimensional talents of “job/career jumpers”, leaders and HR professionals must upskills their human capital abilities in ways that enable them to purposefully engage and utilize the skills of these unique individuals within their organization

The World Economic Forum (WEF) Future of Jobs Report highlights the importance of having a workforce with multidimensional talents to be competitive and able to identify new opportunities and value creation in the industrial revolution 4.0. In aim of recognizing and nurturing the multidimensional talents of “job/career jumpers”, leaders and HR professionals must upskills their human capital abilities in ways that enable them to purposefully engage and utilize the skills of these unique individuals within their organization. 

Alexis Del Rio

Founder DEL RIO Consulting

Mentor of The Global School for Social Leaders

Get to know Alexis here.