Tag Archives: Global Executives

Is Expatriation an Addiction?


The last few decades has seen more and more people taking up a corporate expatriate posting, with all of the benefits and challenges an expatriation can bring.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.communicaid.com

After 25 years of expatriation, experiencing very different cultures such as Japan, United States or Russia,  I think I fit very well with the definition of an enthusiastic expatriate in this interesting article published by Communicaid : I feel comfortable almost anywhere.

I consider myself a successful “serial” expatriate and I think the following characteristics are very important :

1-Curiosity with a thirst for experiencing “otherness”

2 Humility with willingness to learn different ways of thinking

3-A strong family with high resilience and an adventurous spirit

4- Deep knowledge about who you are,  your strengths, weaknesses

5-Creativity and flexible attitude toward new challenges

6- Not afraid to step out of your comfort zone

7-Future oriented mindset

If expatriation is an addiction then by definition it means you can’t stop moving even if it would be reasonable to settle down. Sometimes this is called the  “Three Year Syndrome”: some expats, get bored, after 3 years, especially if they have no other job than being an expat partner and did not blend with the local culture by establishing a network of local friends.

There is another reason why some expats move so often: with the globalization and the development of virtual teams, with some exceptions, there is no need to have long term expats once the knowledge transfer has been done. There is also more and more people who work abroad  who are not sent by big multinational companies but hired locally. The problem is then to find ways to keep a job until you can retire.  Most of the time those people are forced to move to other countries where they can transfer their unique skills.

What type of expat are you ?

See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

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Global Leadership: Fitting in, without giving in


Adapting your leadership style to a different cultural setting can be tough, especially when the new setting demands a style different from how you would normally and comfortably behave at home. So how do you adapt your leadership behavior across cultures without losing yourself in the process?

Great article: Source: di.dk

It is not always wise to follow the advice : “In Rome do like Romans do ” because you are not a Roman and therefore the expectations people have about you are conditioned by their own bias and stereotypes and what they think about your culture.

Global dexterity is the capacity to adapt your behavior, when necessary, in a foreign cultural environment to accommodate new and different expectations that vary from those of your native cultural setting.

Watch also the interview of Andy Molinsky, Author of “Global Dexterity” :https://hbr.org/video/2363497345001/reaching-across-cultures-without-losing-yourself

See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Where are you really from ? An Expat Perspective On Racism


Womanblackman

I found the question in this article very interesting:   Is It Racist to Ask People Where They’re From?
As an expat, I am asked all the time where are you really from ?  and I usually have different answers for different audiences. However to many expats, they don’t feel comfortable with this question especially if they have been living in a foreign country for quite a long time and interpret the question as obviously you are not from there, you are different.
After 25 years of expatriation, I still have some mixed feelings about this question but sometimes it is good to feel different and not from “here”.  Being a French in France is actually harder for me than living abroad, I don’t know anything about popular TV shows or the secret lives of French politicians and I have often a very different view on sensitive questions as I am living on the “other side”.
When I lived in Japan in the 90s I obviously did not look Japanese and I have been asked frequently where I was from, but at that time, being French and saying I was from Paris, were magic words and I was very well treated both at work and with perfect strangers in the streets. I was kind of “exotic” there. However Caucasians were better treated than non-Japanese Asians, especially Chinese, Koreans or Filipinos.
In the US, when I lived in New York City and 8 months pregnant, strangers were giving me a “god bless you” very often, then we had the 9/11 dramatic events and my son was born 12 days later. However I got unpleasant remarks when I said I was French because at that time the French president and the government refused to send troops to Baghdad as if I had anything to do with this decision.
Altogether I had a very positive experience in NYC. I also lived in Atlanta and we were very well-integrated partly because of my son being at the Atlanta International School but generally speaking, Atlanta is a very international city. However I was shocked to see that nothing really changed since Martin Luther King Jr, I saw a lot of segregation between African-Americans and White Americans. Each community including Latin American people had their own neighborhood with very strict boundaries. I then realized that America was far from being a melting pot !
Then we spent one year in New Jersey and it was painful to have in the neighborhood listing “the French” instead of our family name.
Now we live in Russia, I don’t have any specific problems with racism, the “where are you from? ” is still there since my Russian is pretty basic but unlike the stereotypes, I find Russians very courteous with men giving their seats to women in the Metro for example. But here again even for wealthy expatriates,  it is better to be a Caucasian than having a dark skin color.

How do you feel about being asked : where are you really from ?

Related Article:  Encountering racism abroad — or why I sometimes wish I was white

Intercultural Communication at Work


See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

In this globalised world, communicating in intercultural contexts is not as easy as it may seem…

Anne Egros‘s insight:

When you don’t understand someone’s behavior in intercultural context, ask questions, don’t guess through your own perception.

Be aware of your own cultural bias is a good start then listen to other people and notice similarities or differences on how messages are perceived and understood by making sure there is no misinterpretation either in words, voice tone or body language.

Good demonstration at the end of this article using Anglo-Dutch Translation Guide.

See on www.spaces.nl

 

Davos Man and his defects. How to Define Global Leadership ?


THE two most popular words in the business lexicon are probably “global” and “leadership”. Put them together and people in suits start to salivate.  Read more about this article : See on Scoop.it – Global Leaders

Anne Egros‘s insight:

The cult of the global leader is spreading ! But more responsibilities come with the job.

Globalization is not a static concept. What you knew about fast developing countries like Russia and its cultural differences in term of consumer taste, regulations, politics or technology is obsolete after one year or two, so how do you monitor those changes in more than 60 countries if you are the top executives of true global companies ?

Global leaders need to live abroad at least 2-3 years in key countries to really understand local cultures, traveling is not a substitute for being an expat.

I cannot agree more with this statement:

“If leadership has a secret sauce, it may well be humility. A humble boss understands that there are things he doesn’t know. He listens: not only to the other bigwigs in Davos, but also to the kind of people who don’t get invited, such as his customers”

Related article

What makes a business leader a true global business leader?

https://zestnzen.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/wanted-true-global-business-leaders/

See on www.economist.com

 

Invent Your Future Job: Be Unique, Be Social, Be Global


The fast-paced changes of our societies have affected all industries and is changing the nature of work for the next 10 to 15 years. There are three major challenges for the workforce of the future increasing pressures on organizations to become innovation centered, highly productive and a magnet for global talent :

1-Shifting demographic patterns: Over the next 10 years, the world population is expected to rise from the current 6.83 billion to approximately 7.7 billion, with most of the growth in emerging markets generating  high economic growth. We already see an aging and declining population in developed countries with slow economic growth.  U.S. and European businesses are dealing with the challenges of a multi-generational workforce with three distinct generations Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. Employers will need to develop highly individualized solutions to accommodate the career needs of each generation. We will not see long careers of 10 or more years in one company but maybe 6 years with either functional or geographic changes every 2 years. The youngest  generation  will probably have 15 to 20 jobs during their career and multiple jobs at the same time because that is what they want to do.

2-Rapid technology changes: From nanotechnologies to neuroscience discoveries, many new technologies will be developed and globalization will continue to drive the utilization of advanced mobile technologies reshaping the workforce with increased telecommuting,  virtual  teams and overall more work flexibility.

3-Economic globalization  In our information overloaded global work environment, knowledge is not a competitive advantage anymore as it goes out of date extremely fast and anybody on earth with an internet connection has access to it in real-time. The critical skills to be successful in the new working environment are vision and  foresight.to anticipate or respond to change very quickly, make wise decisions and take action now to create a better future.

More than a year ago,  I had the chance to listen to Seth Godin “live” in a promotional event in Antwerp about the launch of his book “Linchpin”. I collected about 10 very interesting new ideas from his speech that I posted on a blog : “TOP 10 Seth Godin’s Quotes Made in Antwerp, Belgium. April 1, 2010”

Seth Godin is the bestselling author of more than seven books. He writes about marketing, the spread of ideas and managing both customers and employees with respect. His idea about our current economy is that the current recession is a “forever recession” because it’s the end of the industrial age, which also means The end of the average worker (Read more : article )

Nobody will ever be the only one on the market AND people have an infinite ways to access information. Humans evolved from Hunters, Farmers, Workers and now they have to be Artists-Seth Godin

HOW DO YOU BECOME UNIQUE  ?

1-You don’t need to become somebody you are not. Your uniqueness has to be authentic, you need to know who you really are, what is your dominant character, talent, personality, skills, strengths, what motivates you, what’s your passions in life ? How is your  business acumen and leadership style ? Can you summarize all those information in a compelling story for potential employers or clients?

2-You need to remove blocks that prevent you to excel at being truly you: fears, unmet needs, negative self-talk, lack of training and anything that is holding you back.

3-You need a vision, a purpose and a road map: No matter how old you are, how life has treated you in the past, how much money you have or how many debts, you need to give permission to yourself to have dreams, explore your possibilities and identify your options. We all have choices but we need to use our imagination to see them. You need to let your right brain expresses emotional intelligence and free the artist in you. Once you know where you want to be, then put your strategic thinking at work to identify your goals strategy and action plan to get you there.

BE SOCIAL, BE GLOBAL !

You can’t stop globalization even if you close borders and build walls made with bricks and mortars ! The internet, and social media make the world smaller and smaller everyday. Maybe your company is based in the U.S. but  vendors might be in India, and customers in more than 40 countries. That’s why multinational companies need employees able to think globally but communicate locally with cultural sensitivity. I like to use the term “glocalization” to instill the idea that global products and services need to be designed in the early stages of research and development with cultural sensitivity too.

You cannot claim to be a global leader if you have visited many countries as a tourist. It is like learning swimming in a book, you need to get into the water and get wet .

If you are still in college, learn key languages maybe Mandarin, Spanish, Brazilian or Russian will be a good choice in today’s economy. Find an internship or a job abroad for minimum one year.

If you are already a manager employed in a multinational companies, become the first on the list to be picked-up for an international assignment by participating in global projects and working with multicultural teams.

Learning a new language should not depends on age, you don’t need to be fluent but it is important to understand how a language is structured to get some clues about cultural values and unspoken social rules or business etiquette. You can learn about the fundamental cultural dimensions from colleagues or local intercultural clubs and of course online through many specific forums and social media.

Continued learning in a large variety of topics every day will become mandatory.

Where do you see careers heading in 2012 and beyond ?

 Have you invented your future yet ?

Related articles:

The Grass On The Other Side Is Always Greener !


greener side

When you see how it can make things better, you get more interested in making the change happen.

(Spencer Johnson-Who Moved My Cheese?)

~~~~~~~

Five months ago we moved from Belgium to the U.S. because we decided to live in a place where we think  we will have more chances to be happy than in Europe where my husband and I were born. We do think the grass is definitively greener from this side of the Atlantic.  We think the education system in France is too rigid and focus on the negatives while we see the American culture more incline to do  praising and positive reinforcement at school or at work which make people more positive in life than focusing on the negative. In America people have an entrepreneurial spirit and we think just because the country is still the number one economy in the world that statistically  there are more opportunities here on several aspects of our life.

Some psychologists may perceive this attitude as not being able to be happy with what you have and  immature or even unhealthy,  but I challenge that idea because this thinking has also the power to make your life more extra-ordinary. This way of thinking is a strong motivator to change and it is a survival mode too when things turn bad. It is important to make choices without comparing what you have with what other people have in a negative way like being envious or jealous. You need to have an explorer mind to discover new ways of thinking or people who enrich your life.

I am an expatriate by choice because I do find more positive than negative to live abroad even after 12 moves, back and forth across the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. In a previous post, I explain that people who are overcoming obstacles in unknown environments like expatriates in new cultures develop more resilience .(See:  Are Expats More Resilient ? )

For sure you can make you own grass greener if you don’t take is for granted and continue to take care of it, putting water removing weeds. However, you won’t be able to bring the world diversity in your backyard easily. It is also hard to predict changes and adversity  like new bugs or weeds that will destroy your grass or the one on the other side of the fence,  but adapting to changes is about moving on and looking where the grass is greener.

Interestingly I hear very often  the same things from Americans thinking France and Western European countries are better in term of education, healthcare, employment and quality of life in general as opposed to what they think about their own country.

We all agree that our perception is our reality and thinking that you can start a new life in a new place and that sky has no limit, foster a great positive mindset and makes you do things other people think there are impossible.

Life IS change ! What do you think ?

Do you have a pioneer mind ?

Here a short movie about Spencer Johnson’s book  “Who Moved My Cheese”

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