During the past few years my professional work has led to a return to international advisory, consulting, and training services after a two decade hiatus for personal health and work initiatives reasons. Because of this return and the demands of travel, it has resulted in a void in these blogs that I’ve had time to provide. Having now returned, what have I discovered from this real-life ‘field research’ working with people across five continents? Three particular insights seem worth sharing for the benefit of readers and international leader-managers.
The first insight from my experience with both leaders-managers across these continents and doing business in their cultures has been the similarity of issues and opportunities. Leaders and managers across continents face challenges that, like so many industries, are converging. Whether strategic or tactical, they face similar task and people issues. Of course, in some geographies and industries, the focus is on coping with a struggling economy impacting the stability and growth of their business. And, by contrast, in others I’ve been working with, their challenge is the speed, amount, and breadth of growth with the demands that accompany it. As an important example, the issues/opportunities related to ‘customer retention and growth’ will be addressed in a guest blog that follows this one in a few week by my international colleague, Phil Forrest, the founding Chairperson of the esteemed U.K. Business Awards.
The second lesson learned from my renewed international work has been an indisputable continuing verification of the universality of human behavior. For all the emphasis on change, while we live in a far different world today than two decades ago, people are still people! The same habits that have always described people still do, the variety of personal interests among people remain, and the range of personal values still evident. As in the past, both the expression of these motivations as well as the prevailing cultural norms across different societies differ. And, we currently live in a cyclical era in which less traditional beliefs and lifestyles prevail, thereby feeding the fires of both shifting and increasing consumer expectations.
A third, and related insight from these past few years is the transferability of applied ‘know-how’ that is increasingly being exchanged often daily on an increasing basis. Available technologies ranging from the internet, to low-cost video-conferencing, and other emerging mediums using the increasing number of mobile work tools continue to accelerate learning in non-traditional, timely and more affordable ways. Looking back over the more than two decades ago of my extensive international work, the learning curve, quality, and depth of transfer today is tremendous for advancing the transfer of learning in building the capacity of individuals, teams, and organizations. This transfer is one that involves now just the building of competencies and capabilities (at all levels), but also the further understanding and development of attitudes and motivations which have the potential to produce much more effective leaders-managers and, through their contributions in various walks of life, bettered lives and a more favorable future globally if used wisely.
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