To be competent and effective in a global market that is increasingly bringing different people, cultures and values together, business leaders need to develop a world view that acknowledges this new reality.

There are 196 countries in the world, an estimated 6,500 languages and around 4,200 religions. How do you find common ground within so much diversity? Understanding different points of view, other than your own, can be an investment in your future. Ignorance of world affairs and how other people think can result in lost business opportunities. For a start, here are 16 questions you should ask yourself now, that will make you pause and consider more deeply how the world works.

The list is derived from the Global Educational Checklist, compiled by Dr. Fred Czarra almost 15 years ago, but is still relevant today. The questions were originally developed for students, but can apply to almost anyone. Some questions may seem obvious, but you may surprise yourself if you ponder the questions a while longer and apply them to the many dire situations we see in the world today. Share them with colleagues or question your kids. Who knows, you may even be inspired to solve a big problem.

Do it for the sake of a brighter future, your business, your employees, your supply chain, the future well-being of your kids. Tomorrows business deals may rely on how well you’ve prepared an answer to the questions below. Answering just one question, and researching it further, may give you insight at your next business meeting and result in something extraordinary. For young leaders especially, being able to answer these questions could mean the difference between having an edge on the competition, and thriving or failing in an increasingly diverse future.

1. Are you aware that global issues exist that affect your life?

2. Do you know how to study global issues? Do you have the skills needed to investigate and research a topic or issue, solve problems, analyze issues, interpret information, make a case for a point of view through reasoned persuasion?

3. Do you have the ability to suspend judgment when confronted with new information about an issue when that information is in conflict with your own understandings and values?

4. Can you develop some sense of efficacy and civic responsibility by identifying specific ways that you can make some contribution to the resolution of a global issue?

5. Do you have a general knowledge about the major geographical and cultural areas of the world and some of the issues and challenges that unite and divide them?

6. Do you know and understand that members of different cultures view the world in different ways?

7. Do you know and understand that humans may identify with more than one culture and thus have multiple loyalties?

8. Do you know and understand that cultures cross national boundaries?

9. Do you know and understand how cultures are affected by geography and history?

10. Do you know how to analyze and evaluate major events and trends in a culture?

11. Do you know how to compare and contrast diverse cultural points of view and try to understand them?

12. Can you tolerate cultural diversity?

13. Do you have an appreciation that all human cultures should experience universal rights?

14. Can you identify and describe how they are connected with the world historically, politically, economically, technologically, socially, linguistically and ecologically?

15. Can you recognize, analyze and evaluate the interconnections of local and regional issues with global challenges and issues?

16. Do you read newspapers, magazines and books, and listen to radio and television programs that relate to intercultural and international topics? Can you actively respond to this information from the media?

To see how some of these questions have been adopted by the United Nations and formulated into a call for action by business, view the 17 Sustainable Development Goals here. Each of these goals is a challenge to business to help solve the world’s most pressing problems. Contact Julie@real-leaders.com if you’d like us to guide you.