Oct 18, 2008

ELC Session: Building Global Acumen

The first session I attended was one on building Global Business Acumen. Having worked in Europe, Africa and now in North America - I was keen to attend this session and learn more about how I can strengthen my global acumen.

We started out with a few polling questions - I learnt that about half of the audience worked with International colleagues, but over 50% hadn't actually travelled outside the US, on business. There was some interest amongst attendees about International Assignments - and the panel sought to provide some insight on how to build Global Business Acumen - below are my key takeaways....

Our colleagues around the world seem more keenly aware of what's happening in International Markets. Many of them speak more than one language and have a keen understanding of how Global Financial Markets, work.

We all know it's important to find ways to differentiate ourselves - to stand out, for the right reasons. Gaining International Experience is one great way to do so - especially if one works for an organization that has a presence in key International Markets.

I reaffirmed the importance of being informed, of understanding how International Financial Markets really work - of knowing how the Global Economy affects me and my employer. A stint in an International Market present great opportunities - however one needs to be prepared.

Why would someone consider you for an International Assignment?
1. Do you understand the strategic (global) plans of your corporation?
2. Do you understand your company's strategy - as it applies to key European, Asian or S/American Markets?
3. Do you read Analyst Reports about your company?
4. How familiar are you with your company's main International Competitors?
5. How many languages do you speak?
6. Have you thought about getting a mentor who lives & works in a key International Market?

We also explored the challenges and nuances involved in living and working abroad – such as language barriers, cultural factors, loosing contact with friends & relatives back home. Strong International Business Leaders are adaptable, flexible and have a willingness to learn new ways to accomplish things

Ultimately though – the decision to seek International Experience must fit into one’s career growth model. There will be many sacrifices and whilst the opportunities may bring richer experiences, they may not result in very rapid climb up the corporate ladder.
It’s important to outline a “what if” analysis and create a series of back-up plans.

That said, it’s almost certain that any Global Corporation would value individuals who have some Global Business Experience.

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