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Why your company needs to consider its Global Talent

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There are some really important clues in the survey itself about how, by creating a more purposeful, collaborative, ethical, and diverse company with a clear mission and purpose, it’s actually possible to recruit, engage, motivate, and retain the very best talent. It’s really incumbent on organizations that are based in, say, North America or Western Europe, to be really conscious of what professionals in the workforce are thinking about.

It’s also important for international companies and organizations like Thomson Reuters, for example, to bring professionals from emerging markets to developed countries so the opportunities and energy can rub off. One of the key things here is for companies to think about their talent and workforce in a global context.
— Peter Warwick, Thomson Reuters Chief People Officer

Alison Williams writes on hbr.org that the American Dream is alive and well - just not in America.  Thomson Reuters surveyed 1,002 employees across their businesses and called it The Professional Revolution. It shows that

professionals in emerging markets (Brazil, China, India) are more optimistic, competitive, as well as collaborative than their developed-countries (UK, US) counterparts.

Could this indicate the dawning of a new way of doing business, combining people and community-focus with a successful bottom line? How exciting!

Professionals in the UK and US appear to be more cynical, or perhaps disappointed?, than their emerging colleagues. For instance, only 44 % of the former believe that "the business world is mostly or always ethical", compared to 66 % of the latter.

I admit I found this surprising, given the well-known levels of corruption in business and government of these emerging countries. Since these countries may allocate respect and status based on who you are and the position you hold, (rather than what you've achieved), however, bribes may be seen as simple favors between friends. 

With books like Lean In enjoying recent commercial success, it may also come as a surprise that only 22 % of women in the UK and US feel optimistic about their careers, compared to 41 % of their Indian, Chinese, and Brazilian sisters. Could it be a factor that the family systems in the latter countries is a lot broader? When more generations as well as relatives are involved in helping to bring up the children, the onus isn't so much on the mother alone or father alone, is it. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents also help out and lighten the load. 

The pendulum swings the other way when it comes to work-life balance: 80 % of UK and US professionals believe it is more important to have a reasonable balance between work and personal life, even if it means making career sacrifices. 66 % state they do not check their phones or emails while at home. This is compared to only 65 % of the Brazilian, Chinese, and Indians surveyed who believe in work-life balance, and 42 % who do not check in with work from home. 

I found this surprising, because I know many American professionals who work far more than the 40 hours a week they get paid for, and I have received emails with a 3 am timestamp. 

But what's most hopeful to me are the results for expected future trends:  Let's all make sure that equality and opportunity become a reality.

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From New York to Mexico: Alice gets an MBTI® assessment, culture training, and follow-up expat coaching

Business woman with suitcaseWe all know at least one person who is so comfortable with herself and confident in her abilities, she has a hard time seeing someone else's point of view, right? Let's call her Alice: Alice works in a health care company in New York State. Let's say they make blood pressure measuring machines that use the latest wireless technologies, so demand is growing rapidly. In her office, the idea of

"it's not personal, it's business"

prevails, and achieving sales goals is more important than being on good terms with other sales people. Her friends affirm to her on a daily basis that it's inspiring to see her excel at her work, kicking ass and taking names. They also admire the apartment and wardrobe she is able to afford. Her managers reward her by explaining that her integrity and focus show what leaders are made of; ready to make the tough call, and then reap the benefits of defending her position. She continually receives positive performance evaluations.

When Alice gets sent abroad to lead a project in Mexico, she knows she is the most qualified to see it through. The move was short-notice and the shareholders were putting pressure on everyone, so she didn't have time to take the culture training she was offered. After all, she has worked with some of the Mexican colleagues before, they know her, and she has only moved a few hundred miles South.

She sets up shop, gets to work as she is used to, and soon hits a wall. She chalks is up to getting used to the food and climate, maybe even blames her new colleagues a little for not keeping up with her pace, and decides to bring her best A-game yet. She begins setting stricter goals, speaking even more directly in meetings, and gripping on to her leadership get-it-done beliefs, which have now become convictions.

This has always worked in the past, and gosh darn it, she is here to do her job.

What she doesn't realize is that in Mexico, an orientation to team work, the community, nurturing relationships, and an indirect style of communication are the norm. Alice's insisting on doing what worked "at home" is stressful not just for herself, but also for her team. The Mexican colleagues continue to be friendly and agree with her in meetings, but they no longer meet their goals. Alice doesn't understand what's going on, and can only tell her superiors that people are agreeing with her but then turning around and doing something completely different. She doesn't know what else to do.

Coaching to the rescue

Her US American boss usually coaches her himself, but in this situation he thinks someone with first-hand experience might have a wider angle. He agrees with Alice to add coaching to her performance goals, and encourages her to choose someone specializing in expat leadership issues from www.theexpatcoachdirectory.com.

Alice speaks to two other coaches before choosing to work with me. After our introductory call, we agree we're a good fit, clarify what her goals for the coaching process are, and get to work.

The Process

The first thing I do is send her login details to take the MBTI(r) Step II questionnaire. She did it before but couldn't remember her letters, so she goes online to fill it in again, and once the results are in, we schedule a debrief to confirm them.

Sample MBTI Step II result screenshot

I'm in Texas and we could do this through Skype, but for our first meeting I'd like to see where she's at, so I fly to meet her in Mexico. We spend maybe two hours going over the MBTI(r) Step II results.

Looking at Temperament

Once we know her personality type preferences, we have a better understanding of what motivates her. For example, people with an NF in their code are so-called Catalysts™ who thrive on meaning and identity. Catalysts are great people-people who enjoy watching others grow and fulfilling their potential.

People with an SP in their code are called Improvisers™ and thrive on freedom and the ability to make an impact. They're the firefighters and troubleshooters who love being in the action.

If Alice has an SJ in her code, she's a Stabilizer™ and is probably driven by a sense of duty, responsibility, and belonging. Stabilizers appreciate hierarchies and defined roles, bringing structure and security to their communities and companies.

If Alice has an NT in her code, she's a Theorist™, driven by competence and self-control. Theorists value systems, strategies, and analysis, and are often the engineers or inventors of society.

We can also start looking at what possibly motivates her team and build bridges of understanding.

Underlying cultural values and how they affect behavior

Whatever the underlying motivation, it is clear that her current working practices are not achieving the results she's expecting. There's more to the puzzle. We would therefore spend another two or three hours looking at the differences between how leadership and business etiquette works in the USA, and how it works in Mexico. We might even throw in some socio-cultural questions, because I know she's wondering why everybody keeps inviting her to their homes, and how she can keep the black widow spiders out of her bathroom.

Pulling it together

Now Alice has a basic idea of a) how the general cultural values influence behaviors of everyone in both countries, and b) how individual differences show up in people's personality types. Her homework is to read the materials I've provided, and start paying attention to her interactions at work.

For about 3 weeks, she will jot down key items and interactions, send me a bunch of emails, and we'll look to decipher those interactions in our follow-up coaching sessions. The first one or two sessions will be reactive and learning from hindsight, but soon enough she will have practiced flexing her behaviors into what is customary among Mexicans. This will enable her to anticipate and better prepare for important vendor negotiations and client meetings.

After a total of maybe five or six sessions, we have reached our coaching goals and she is happy to let me go and continue by herself. Her confidence in herself and her abilities restored, she will likely enjoy her time in-country, build a valuable network of like-minded professionals, and deliver her project on time and within budget. She's happy to be back in the saddle, her team is happy to do their work, and her boss in New York is happy he didn't have to pull Alice out, move her back, find someone else to mend the fences in Mexico, and that the project is safe.

Happy people all-round for an investment of about $3,000 over a six-month period.

Does this story sound familiar?

Maybe you've been an expat or managed one and think "yeah right, in an ideal world. I've had training and it was hard anyway."

Becoming more aware of yourself with the help of the MBTI® or other self-assessment tools is a great start. But knowing a four-letter Type without decent follow-up means you'll soon forget the richness and potential.

Learning about your own cultural preferences and the values of your new colleagues and host country is essential on an assignment, or even a quick business trip. But having a framework without decent follow-up means you'll soon forget the richness and application.

That's why coaching is necessary to reinforce the learning, practice the new concepts until they become habits, and have the support of someone who's been there. To quote Aristotle,

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

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Yes, and.

(AP Photo/Smith College, Sam Masinter)Emmy and Golden-Globe-winning actress Jane Lynch at the 2012 Smith College commencement address. Fun, funny, heartfelt. Includes expletive. :-)

If I could do so much of my early life over, I would have taken more moments like this to breathe. I would have spent more time focusing on what was right in front of me, instead of recoiling from what is because it didn’t look or feel exactly as I imagined it. I wouldn’t have been forever trying to look around the corner to see “What’s next, what’s next?!”

I’d have taken in the beauty of the moment, and greeted everything in my life with a big “YES, AND.”

(...)

“YES AND” is the vital and only rule of improvisation. Never deny your fellow actor. You should be willing and able to accept whatever your fellow improviser throws at you. Use that as your jumping off point and expand it. “Heighten and explore,” as we call it.

(...)

In other words, in order for our lives to go forward, in order to engage fully in life, we need to be willing and able to accept what is right in front of us. Whatever it is, the good, the bad, the thrilling, the heartbreaking, every emotion, occurrence, event, person, place or thing, you will experience them all. That’s the “YES” I’m talking about. And the acceptance and embrace of it with all your heart and doing something with it, that’s the “AND.” You accept influence and then you exert influence. You can’t make a cloudy day a sunny day, but can embrace it and decide it’s going to be a good day after all.

(...)

As you travel through life, in these many years ahead, I guarantee that you will come upon countless times in which the last thing you’re gonna want to say is “YES AND.” You will experience loss, heartache, the death of a loved one, you’ll probably have to say goodbye to a lover, you’ll experience rejection, maybe have to deal with a bad diagnosis. You’ll age.

The trick isn’t to avoid these times or pretend they’re not happening; you can’t. What you’ll need to do is step up to them courageously and embrace them. Allow these experiences to permeate your being and weave them all into the fabric of your life. They will not only soften you and strengthen you, and you will open your heart to compassion. You will not be powerless in this. If you embrace what is happening, instead of denying it, you can make it your own. If life gives you lemons, grab it by the horns and drive. Yes I just mixed three metaphors, remember I was a “C” student.

(...)

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Jane, what about doing porno?” To which I say I am as surprised as you are that I was never offered that opportunity.

But would I have said yes to that? What if life gives us the opportunity to rob a bank, or a way to cheat on our taxes, or say it offers us several hours in a row of life with the Kardashians...hours that we can never get back?

To this I say: you can always trust that when you’re coming from your highest self and from your heart, you’ll know when you should say “YES AND,” and when to engage the awesome power of “NO WAY.”

(...)

I guess I am assuming you all are as terrified as I was of life, so you know that when you feel sick to your stomach, it’s a good thing! It signals “Opportunity For Big Growth Ahead!” “Somethin’s coming, somethin’ good.” Don’t ignore the nausea. Step up to it.

(...)

Life is not all about work — and the scariest places to say “Yes And” are also the most rewarding...in a relationship.

(...)

Your partner will inevitably see your soft underbelly. Shocking behavior you only read about will start to become your own. Your demon will rise up to righteously destroy your relationship in the guise of saving yourself from really seeing yourself. Your partner will say to you with all the tenderness that situation allows, “What the fuck?” You’ll want to break up with yourself.

Don’t be afraid of this horrible version of you! Face it, embrace it, coddle it, write it a poem, maybe it needs a hug. Shine the light of day on it. Unclaimed and unacknowledged, it’s got the power and its darkest forces will have you enslaved! Accept its influence, mine it for its gold. Yep, sometimes saying “YES AND” is going to take everything you’ve got. But the payoff, trusting in love, is just incredible.

Read the full text here.

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Only love can drive out hatred, only light can drive out darkness

You know I love her, and guess what, she gave a commencement address at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. :-)

Dr. Brené Brown chose three nuggets of wisdom she would have wanted to have upon her graduation:

1. Whatever you do, do not wait until you're unafraid to do something. Don't wait til you're brave. Don't wait til you're comfortable. Step into the discomfort and do it anyway. You're more ready than you think.

2. If you want other people to put value on your work, put value on your work. Period.

3. Find joy. Really find and cultivate joy in your life.

"Thank you for signing up to be the love and the light in this world."

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Maria Shriver on taking pause

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Maria Shriver on taking pause

As part of the Kennedy Clan, Ms Shriver has iconic quasi-royalty status in the USA - would that be fair to say? I don't remember reading much about her back over in Europe, but she has had her share of press in the past. Throughout, I thought she stayed classy and polished. Now she's encouraging us to take another look at communication and ... pausing.

Here are some of her words from last year's address at the Annenberg School in Southern California.

We’re communicating like never before -- across borders and time zones -- on platforms, devices, computers, tablets, phones, apps, games, you name it.

Communicating 24/7-- wired and wirelessly -- talking, texting, and tweeting -- trending and friending -- to the other side of the room and the other side of the planet -- spitting out the old, in order to consume the new.

Every minute you’re awake, you’re reaching out beyond yourself -- waaay out beyond. It feels like the entire universe is an extension of your own nervous system.

You communicate instantly, automatically, and effortlessly. For you...communicating is like breathing.

(...)

Even today at my age, people come up to me all the time asking, ‘Maria, What are you doing? What’s your job? Are you going back into television? Are you writing another book? Are you gonna run another women's conference? What are you doing?’

It’s like what we’re doing at this precise moment doesn’t even exist. Everyone is focused on the next thing. Everyone is racing to the Next Thing.

Well, I got caught up in that for a really long time -- so much so, that I could never really enjoy what I WAS doing, because I was always worried about what I was going to be doing.

I tell you all this, because I know right now everybody’s asking you those same questions: “What are you gonna do after graduation? Do you have a job? Where will you be working? How much are they paying? Where are you going? Where will you be living? Who are you seeing?” Oh, my God -- so many questions!

And here you are: sitting there ready to hit the Fast Forward button and find out the answers. I get that. I was just LIKE you: I lived on Fast Forward.

But today, I have one wish for you. Before you go out and press that fast forward button, I'm hoping - I'm praying - that you’ll have the courage to first press the pause button.

I'm asking you to learn how to pause, because I believe the state of our communication is out of control. And you? I believe you have the incredible opportunity to fix it.

You have the power, each and every one of you, to change the way we as a nation speak to one another. I truly believe you can change our national discourse for the better. 

You have the chance to change the way we talk to one another, what we read on the Web and newspapers and magazines, what we see on TV, what we hear on radio. You can help us change the channel.

I’m hoping you young men and women dare to bring change to our community by changing our communication.

(...)

PAUSE -- and take the time to find out, what’s important to you. Find out what you love, what’s real and true to you -- so it can infuse and inform your work and make it your own.

PAUSE -- before you report something you don’t know is absolutely true, something you haven’t corroborated with not just one, but two sources, as I was taught. And make sure that they’re two reliable sources.

PAUSE -- before you put a rumor out there as fact. Just because you read it or saw it on TV or the Web -- no matter how many times -- doesn't mean its true. Don’t just pass on garbage because you want to be first. There’s no glory in being first with garbage.

PAUSE -- before you hit the “send” button and forward a picture that could ruin someone’s life -- or write something nasty on someone’s Wall because you think it’s funny or clever. Believe me, it isn’t.

PAUSE -- before you make judgments about people’s personal or professional decisions.

PAUSE -- before you join in and disparage someone’s sexuality or intellectual ability.

PAUSE -- before forwarding the untrue and inflammatory tidbits that have made it so difficult for would-be public servants and their families to step up and lead.

(...)

Feel your strength and your vulnerability. Acknowledge your goodness, and don’t be afraid of it. Look at your darkness -- and work to understand it, so you’ll have the power to choose who you’ll be in the world.

Women: look at your toughness and your softness. You can and should make room for both in your life. The world needs both.

Men: find your gentleness, and wrap it into your manliness. You, too, can make room for both. The greatest men do.

(...)

Oh, how this world needs you -- young men and women with the guts to pause and acknowledge where you’re at and how you got here -- and then to change course if you need to -- and trust me, sometimes you’ll need to change course! But know you’ve got the strength to do it.

So today, as you head out into the Open Field of life, keep your mind open, keep your heart open. Don’t be afraid to be afraid. Courageous people often are afraid. In fact, that's why they need courage in the first place!

Pic found on mariashriver.com

Read the full text or watch the video here.

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The giddy delights of becoming a gay wizard

Pic found on justjared.com We were living in Mexico when the final installment of Harry Potter came out. This was a book I had eagerly anticipated, and you cannot imagine (well, maybe you can) how immensely outrageously happy I was when I realized the stores received copies in English. Hooray!

The list of inspiring women's quotes would not be complete without J K Rowling's Harvard address from 2008.

Feast your soul:

I have asked myself what I wish I had known at my own graduation, and what important lessons I have learned in the 21 years that have expired between that day and this.

I have come up with two answers. On this wonderful day when we are gathered together to celebrate your academic success, I have decided to talk to you about the benefits of failure. And as you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called ‘real life’, I want to extol the crucial importance of imagination.

(...)

Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.

(...)

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.

(...)

Now you might think that I chose my second theme, the importance of imagination, because of the part it played in rebuilding my life, but that is not wholly so. Though I personally will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared.

Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s places.

Of course, this is a power, like my brand of fictional magic, that is morally neutral. One might use such an ability to manipulate, or control, just as much as to understand or sympathise.

(...)

So today, I wish you nothing better than similar friendships. And tomorrow, I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine, you remember those of Seneca, another of those old Romans I met when I fled down the Classics corridor, in retreat from career ladders, in search of ancient wisdom: As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters. I wish you all very good lives.

Read the full text or watch the video here.

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Take that lump in your throat and run with it

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Take that lump in your throat and run with it

debbiemillman-450x287
debbiemillman-450x287

We all need pick-me-ups once in a while. I hope you're filling your own happiness jars with numerous notes of noteworthy positive events in your life! I'm sharing my favorite encouraging inspiring women's quotes this week, maybe they'll inspire you, too. Below is an excerpt of Debbie Millman's address to the students at San Jose State. Honest, touching, poetic.

Every once in a while – often when we least expect it – we encounter someone more courageous, someone who chose to strive for that which (to us) seemed unattainable, even elusive. And we marvel. We swoon. We gape. Often, we are in awe. I think we look at these people as lucky, when luck has nothing to do with it. It is really all about their imagination; it is how they constructed the possibilities for their life.

(…)

Our abilities are only limited by our perceptions.

(…)

Perhaps what is truly known can’t be described or articulated by creativity or logic, science or art, but perhaps it can be described by the most authentic and meaningful combination of the two: poetry.

As Robert Frost wrote: a poem “begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. It is never a thought to begin with.”

(…)

Start with a big, fat lump in your throat and run with it.

(…)

Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities, don’t compromise, and don’t waste time. Start now. Not 20 years from now, not 2 weeks from now. Now.

If you have time, read the beautifully illustrated version here.

Image by Mark Winterbourne, Flickr, Creative Commons License.

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Nora Ephron on education and dress rehearsals

Pic found on elitedaily.com This is going to be a week of inspiring quotes from inspiring women on leadership, creativity, and living life to the fullest.

Our first installment comes courtesy of one of my favorite authors and directors. It's from her commencement address to the Wellesley Class of 1996, whence she graduated 34 years prior.

Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim. Because you don't have the alibi my class had -- this is one of the great achievements and mixed blessings you inherit: unlike us, you can't say nobody told you there were other options. Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead. Twenty-five years from now, you won't have as easy a time making excuses as my class did. You won't be able to blame the deans, or the culture, or anyone else: you will have no one to blame but yourselves. Whoa.

(...)

What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. And don't be frightened: you can always change your mind. I know: I've had four careers and three husbands.

And this is something else I want to tell you, one of the hundreds of things I didn't know when I was sitting here so many years ago: you are not going to be you, fixed and immutable you, forever. We have a game we play when we're waiting for tables in restaurants, where you have to write the five things that describe yourself on a piece of paper.

When I was your age, I would have put: ambitious, Wellesley graduate, daughter, Democrat, single.

(...)

Today not one of those five things turns up in my list: writer, director, mother, sister, happy. Whatever those five things are for you today, they won't make the list in ten years -- not that you still won't be some of those things, but they won't be the five most important things about you.

Which is one of the most delicious things available to women, and more particularly to women than to men. I think. It's slightly easier for us to shift, to change our minds, to take another path. Yogi Berra, the former New York Yankee who made a specialty of saying things that were famously maladroit, quoted himself at a recent commencement speech he gave. "When you see a fork in the road," he said, "take it."

Yes, it's supposed to be a joke, but as someone said in a movie I made, don't laugh this is my life, this is the life many women lead: two paths diverge in a wood, and we get to take them both. It's another of the nicest things about being women; we can do that. Did I say it was hard? Yes, but let me say it again so that none of you can ever say the words, nobody said it was so hard. But it's also incredibly interesting. You are so lucky to have that life as an option.

Full text available here.

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