Global Mindset — Where can I get one? (Part 1)

About two years ago I was mentoring a young Russian graduate, helping him with the process of applying for graduate trainees programmes at international companies.  Here is the question that he struggled with the most:

Success at Company X requires our employees to have global mindset. What makes you internationally aware and culturally sensitive?

A month ago I started talking to a rapidly growing IT business in Eastern Europe about possible leadership development interventions.  Developing Global Mindset in its leaders was the ultimate goal of the company executives.

How do young people develop it, so that they can prove the graduate recruiter that they have it?


Can senior leaders develop it?  Should they? How? Continue reading


Bosses of all nationalities are only human… With their individual negatives and positives

You cannot say that a line manager of one nationality is better or worse than that of the other – in the end of the day they are all human with their individual positives and negatives.


Meet Ivanna, an HR Manager with almost 20 years of experience working for a large multi-national company. She joined them in Russia where she built an excellent career progressing from a Management Trainee to a number of top HR roles, she worked at a Regional level being based in Moscow, worked on a major HR project for Europe as a member of a virtual team flying to London for team meetings, and then took a risky decision to go on an assignment as Head of HR for Egypt and Northern Africa. Continue reading

International Development Assignees — What Happens When They Come Back?

I remember this overwhelming feeling of becoming Head of Talent in a big multinational company in Russia almost 10 years ago.  I thought I will be doing things right, I will be following up on every talent process we had scrutinising all the stages:  from planning to post debriefing, from creating lessons learned to actually learning from these lessons.

One of the talent management tools I thought I really needed to have a closer look at was International Assignments.  We were using them as ultimate development took for our Hi-Pos and getting excited about every assignment we could secure.  But once the assignees were out of sight we would conveniently relax and most of the time would be caught unprepared for them when they would return.  Continue reading

you’re in my space

Still Pondering

I was in a new city; a city I had just begun to call home. With directions in hand and cautions to calm my nerves memorized, I put on my “I know what I’m doing” face, ignored my rapidly beating heart, and boarded the bus for this unknown place.

I had been warned that the bus might be hot and crowded so it was comforting to see only a dozen or so people on board initially, all local citizens, mostly male, and one American, me. I settled in for the long ride near the front and my heart beat returned to normal.

At the next stop a woman boarded and she sat down next to me. An empty bus, seats available everywhere, and she chose the seat next to mine. After smiling a “good morning” greeting to her, I turned to the window to process what had just happened. I chuckled. I wondered. I thought. I squirmed. I pondered some more…

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Bicultural — how do we get there?

Yesterday I heard a comment about a friend of mine:

She is not only bilingual, she is totally bicultural.  When I spoke in Russian to her she sounded and acted very natural; then I observed her in the conversation with a British business partner of mine and she looked and sounded very different, but the partner then said that she was fully British in the way she acted”.

How do we achieve this level of biculturalism? Continue reading

Never assume that the world rotates around you. There are many people out there in the new country who assume the opposite.

Meet Yana, an HR professional with a very rich history of well-known companies she worked for, and interesting geographies her adventurous attitude to life and work has taken her to.

She started in a Japanese company in Moscow, Russia, and then moved on to a big multinational. At some point, led by her husband’s enthusiasm for new places and the nature of her work (international mobility) she thought to try the mobility first hand herself. She was successfully recruited by a well known international industrial company in Luxemburg, and this is where her adventures began. She later moved yet for another job, in a well-known insurance company in Zurich, and recently the whole family moved to Canada to settle, where Yana immediately found a contract with another international insurance group. Her daughter started school in German (rather Swiss German) in Zurich, and now is swiftly switching into English and is already picking up French. We talk with Yana whether her adaptations to the new countries and jobs were as swift. Continue reading

Remain True to Yourself and Learn to Respect the Host Country Culture

Meet Maria (we agreed to change the name to preserve anonymity), an HR professional with close to 20 years of experience which started in one of the Big 4 consulting companies in Russia by giving her great exposure to a highly processed and organised international business and took her on projects to Russia, Ukraine and USA. Maria then went on to work for a small HR Consulting Boutique, where she was responsible for setting up all the processes herself and developing new business in parallel, she then joined a well known FMCG and worked for them for eight years before the job took her to Switzerland first and then to the UK. We met up with Maria in London to talk about her background, experience, and approaches to embracing change. Continue reading