Global Leader Journey
The world is becoming smaller by the day. Although it’s a well-worn cliché, it does feel that way sometimes.
While technology enables us to see a colleague from thousands of miles away in high resolution and travel is easier than ever. I’m still waiting for a magic cure to Jetlag.
As distances seem minimized, one thing has not changed. It’s still humans working with other humans. Cultural differences remain, but now people with more significant differences in working styles, values, and worldviews get to work together. Larger gaps mean more opportunities for friction and misunderstanding.
Being a leader has always meant to inspire and lead a diverse group of individuals. Today the level of diversity has increased.
This poses new challenges for the leaders of tomorrow. They will have to navigate complex cultural dynamics in an ever-changing technological environment. Some will learn to do this intuitively and will succeed, and while others will see their careers stagnate.
To explore this journey of learning and growth, I’ll be borrowing from the Talented Robert Ellis, friend, and mentor. He adapted Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s journey and called it the Leader’s journey. I feel it’s an excellent model to show the phases of our challenges and growth in our careers and our lives.
Ready? Pack your bags and let’s go!
Call for Adventure
The journey begins with an opportunity knocking on our door—a call for adventure.
Will you accept it? Or not?
There are some calls you can refuse: a new job, a promotion, a project.
Others, you can’t refuse. For example, If you are diagnosed with an illness, especially once that’s incurable.
There could be economic pressures that force you to take on a job or a project that you wouldn’t otherwise. Though sometimes these are blessings in disguise, a way to push you outside of your comfort zone.
When my parents moved to Algeria and later to Canada, it was not a forced choice, but they were seeking a better life for their family, which was a powerful motivation. It was scary, moving thousands of miles away to another country with another language and a very different culture. In the end, it turns out very well for all of us.
My approach here is usually: if in doubt, say yes. The upside, even if not always apparent, is generally a lot bigger than any downside.
Once you have made the decision, it’s time to find the resources and allies you need. This means figuring out what skills, information, and tools you need to learn to be successful.
This can mean additional training and coaching. Finding a mentor who’s been successful going down the path you are going in can be immensely helpful. One of the best ways to help you succeed is to hire an executive coach who will be a companion on this journey, supporting you through every phase, be a thinking companion, challenge you when you most need it.
If you have the opportunity to select team members for this new work project, it is another way of gathering allies.
Crossing the Threshold
A threshold can be an actual or symbolic point of no return – getting on an airplane or start working on a new project. It can be physical is psychological.
Either way, it marks the beginning of the road of trials.
Road of Trials
Before long, new situations and challenges will come to test you and force you to expand your understanding and skills; even with the best preparation, there will be friction and growth.
As a leader, we naturally need to be able to build rapport, relate, and inspire a wide range of people. When working across cultures, the breadth of the type of people is increased.
To succeed in this new environment, you’ll need to develop your creativity — you’ll need to be creative to be able to inspire and align a wider range of people so that, together, you are going in the same direction.
Another key development is understanding the differences and similarities between people and cultures.
Why is this useful?
It’s impossible to know everything about every culture you’ll encounter, but if you can hone in on the similarities, you’ll be better at building trust and rapport, and if you know where the differences lie, you’ll know how to bridge the gaps successfully.
You’ll make mistakes, and hopefully, you’ll learn from them.
As an Executive Coach, part of my job is to be a thinking partner and help leaders navigate these challenging situations effectively. To help learn as much and as quickly as possible, accelerating the client’s growth and minimize side effects such as damaged relationships and wasted time and resources.
As you walk the road of trials, you will collect great boons in the form of learning experiences.
Whether the project is ultimately a success, learning, and personal growth is something that no one can take away from you.
You will learn how to leader and manage a wider variety of people. You’ll learn how to create a culture that inclusive and enables everyone to bring their whole self. All this can lead to better creativity, innovation execution, which in terms means saving time and higher profits.
You will develop a repertoire of behavior that you can draw on in future scenarios to quickly and intuitively find the best way forward.
As you walk the path of becoming a better leader for today’s leader, a global leader, learnings, and benefits will accelerate.
Beyond the internal benefits, there are also external ones: new friendships, contacts, allies.
Return to the threshold
The project may have a formal ending. In other cases, you reach a breakthrough. It can be an aha moment or a subtle level up to where you start to understand previously challenging situations clearly.
This journey and cycle are fractal in nature. Your career or time spent at a given company could be one journey. Within it, a specific project or specific challenge could be another.
The only constants are learning and growth
Master of two world
You have returned from your journey. What now?
As a result of this adventure, you have gained new knowledge and understanding. You have grown as a person and as a leader.
You may have a new addition to your resumé. But more than that, you are a different person now.
You understand the old world, but you can also navigate new environments, cultures, and cultural dynamics with more ease.
You are a master of two worlds.
You intuitively understand the similarities and differences between cultures. You continuously learn from your mistakes and see differences as opportunities to learn. Not something to fear.
You develop genuine friendships with a broader range of people, and your group of friends and the personal network becomes more diverse and interesting. Your quality of life is leveled up are more amazing opportunities come to both personal and professional.
You have developed a repertoire of behaviors that allow you to navigate a broader range of situations intuitively.
Where complex multicultural team dynamics were confusing and frustrating, you now handle them with ease and elegance.
All this leads to higher performance, better judgment, and creativity. As you are recognized by your peers, bosses, as well as your ever-growing network, a wider range of opportunities come to you with more significant rewards.
Perhaps a new call to adventures. What will you do next?
I’m here to help. Let me be your guide and companion on your journey.