Nola Hambleton, president of the International Confederation of Principals, was speaking as heads from 38 countries across five continents gathered for its biennial convention in Edinburgh this week.
Ms Hambleton said schools across the world faced many common problems including teacher shortages, excessive workload, standardisation and "administrative accountability" (inspections and targets).
Heads needed to use the experience of international colleagues as evidence for their arguments as they tried to influence their own governments'
policies. "We can do this by publishing the results of programmes that have not been successful regardless of having been promoted by various education authorities," she said.
"We've got through the stage of competitiveness in education, we have to share more."
Ms Hambleton said the convention, the first the ICP has held in the UK, had been its best yet with a greater emphasis on innovation.
The event saw the ICP Council admit three new heads' organisations - from Uganda, Zambia and Australia - and elect a future president. David Wylde of Southern African Heads of Independent Schools Association is well acquainted with English education, having taught at Radley, Wellington college and Manchester grammar school.
He will become president in 2005 having beaten three others including Kate Griffin, Secondary Heads Association president, and Sue Sayles, who is a past president of the National Association of Head Teachers.