Over the past 2 years, I have had an incredible opportunity to expand the impact of my work to a number of international markets.
As I head off to the United Kingdom again, I wanted to share a few lessons about what I have learned personally and professionally from working internationally.
In business, relationships rule:
Almost inevitably I get some variation of this comment, “you aren’t like most American business people.”
When I dig into this remark a little bit, I find that this comes up because I spend a lot less time focusing on how important I am and a lot more time focusing on learning about them and the things they are dealing with.
I have heard it said a number of times that the rest of the world focuses on the person before business and in the States it is vice versa. I think that this is largely true.
But I’ve also learned that now more than ever, relationships matter.
Processes cross borders:
We focus too much on what we know from a strategic or a minute standpoint.
In most cases, the big picture strategic things matter as much or more.
And, what I’ve found holds in almost every case is that processes cross borders extremely well.
That means that you can spend a lot of time taking big picture items all around the world:
Traveling and working abroad is an incredible learning opportunity:
When I travel, I learn.
It is that simple.
One of the hidden benefits of traveling is that you are forced to see the world through a different set of eyes.
And, if you don’t take advantage of that, it will make your work suffer at home as well.
I’m sure there are many more lessons to share, but these three came to mind as I was sitting here waiting to board.
What lessons do you have to share about working internationally?