Tips for working on international assignments (part II)

The quarterly edition of Business Information Review is now out, the article I wrote is in it, so I wanted to share some more of my other top 10 tips to make an international assignment a success.  In the previous blog post I listed 3 tips in answer to the questions If I were advising someone about to undertake their first international assignment what would I tell them?

Here are some more:

Ten tips (4-6)

  • Engage multiple stakeholders: one person or department does not make a working relationship, so make sure you have a wide selection of people and that you interact with at least three levels if possible.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate: I cannot stress strongly enough the need for regular dialogue and face-to-face interactions. Weekly calls are important as are end-of-mission summary sessions and don’t forget the visualization.
  • If you are working in another language with translators, make sure they understand what you are doing: for a keynote speech in Colombia, I spent an hour in advance with the translator going through my slides and key points – make them part of the team and acknowledge their contribution*.

* A few years earlier I’d been asked to give the 2nd day Keynote at the inaugural Russian Intranet Forum. I took the opportunity of an early arrival to go check out the venue and facilities. I arrived just as a Belgian speaker was starting his presentation. The translater Tatiana was given a torrid time by the English speaking members of the audience who suggested her use of the specific business terminology was wrong. Suffice to say no one enjoyed the experience.


So over a glass of the local tipple Tatiana and I went through my speech and slides.The hour we spent was the most valuable use of time I could have made.  She and I became a team, the audience were in far less truculant mood and as a result much more receptive to the messages I was trying to convey.