In the past, getting transferred abroad or working on a global team was considered rare and optional. Nowadays, professionals are sent abroad across many industries, and the trend is only increasing. Whether or not you work for a company with global operations, a global career outlook is necessary.
We have seen instances of companies moving business units abroad to capture the growth in emerging markets. For example, Procter & Gamble moved its beauty and personal care unit to Singapore in 2012. This trend will continue as businesses seek opportunities in new markets to grow revenues. It is important to understand the overall global strategy so you can align your work accordingly. Supporting your company’s goals will help you to develop your skills for the future.
Diverse company cultures
In this globalized age, regardless of where you are based, your company is likely to be in contact with a team from abroad. This can be through another division within your company, a supplier of products or services, or an outsourced solution to handle business processes. Understanding work styles, values, and communication approaches of the people your company interacts with will allow you to see things from a different viewpoint, which is an extremely important skill.
Advance your career
Harvard Business Review published an article in 2012 about 21st century managerial skills that said, “Companies are more global and employee groups more diverse than ever before. Organizational structures are less hierarchical and more collaborative.” With strategic reorganizations, there will be a surge to hire and groom talented individuals who are skilled at identifying opportunities in the global marketplace. Even if you don’t have work experience abroad, you can find ways to develop a global outlook by talking to colleagues who have spent time working in different countries.
Expands your view
A global viewpoint allows you to uncover avenues that were not apparent when you initially planned your career. Understanding how companies and consumers are multifaceted, as well as the various flows between goods and services, can serve as inspiration to discover “white spaces,” or market opportunities.
Different regions in the world have economic systems that may deviate from the what we are familiar with in the West. For example, companies serving consumers in regions with different economic and political systems may not offer the same products and services they offer in the United States. They have to consider the demands of the local market, while abiding by regulation, like Google and Facebook must do to operate in China. Additionally, economic factors may influence what what products and services consumers prefer. For example, people in developing countries whose incomes are substantially less than their counterparts in developed countries may prefer products that are sold by local manufacturers since those tend to be cheaper.
Inspiration may come from abroad
The flows of knowledge and talent across distant countries are prevalent, and looking at advancements abroad can inspire innovations back home. Japan and Korea have a high mobile penetration, and due to this, mobile companies are constantly developing advanced technologies. U.S. companies often look to Asia to see what the next developments are, then bring those ideas back to make them suitable to the U.S. market.
Regardless of whether your goal is to work abroad or stay at home, an orientation toward an expanded global market is part of a future-ready career strategy that will benefit you professionally in the coming years.
Ask Levo Mentor Lauren Anderson how she developed a global career outlook. Anderson is an international consultant and former assistant special agent in charge (retired) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.