Harvard Business Review Got it Right – How Time Abroad Made Me a Better Manager

In a recent post on the Arthur Page Society blog, our CEO Aedhmar Hynes discusses the rationale behind Text 100’s continued commitment to offer employees the life changing opportunity to work abroad.  She passionately explains her belief that these experiences make people “work harder; never make assumptions; question everything; challenge norms; and generally open their […]

In a recent post on the Arthur Page Society blog, our CEO Aedhmar Hynes discusses the rationale behind Text 100’s continued commitment to offer employees the life changing opportunity to work abroad.  She passionately explains her belief that these experiences make people “work harder; never make assumptions; question everything; challenge norms; and generally open their […]

In a recent post on the Arthur Page Society blog, our CEO Aedhmar Hynes discusses the rationale behind Text 100’s continued commitment to offer employees the life changing opportunity to work abroad.  She passionately explains her belief that these experiences make people “work harder; never make assumptions; question everything; challenge norms; and generally open their mind to new ideas and new ways of doing things.”

I couldn’t agree more.

On February 2, 2010, I set off from New York City on what was to be a seven-week secondment to London.  Nearly three months later, I returned home with more novel experiences, expanded skills and amazing relationships than I ever thought possible.

Sure, I had experienced the true global nature of Text 100 by working on the IBM business for more than 5 years. Sharing content, collaborating on outreach and receiving local insights from teams on the ground everywhere from Mumbai to Sydney was a regular part of my job. At least I thought it was…

Physically being in the UK working with both local clients and my Text 100 colleagues – while maintaining many of my responsibilities in North America – gave me valuable insight into our processes and people.  It also showed me how easily people can lose sight of the big picture when working with colleagues or clients internationally.

For one, working with colleagues in countries such as France, Denmark, and Germany showed me how different every market is, even if they are geographic neighbors.  Driving initiatives and new business pitches on both sides of the Atlantic also allowed me to witness how quickly a minor detail – such as a verb tense or email tone – can cause a major miscommunication.  The lesson?  Well, I will never write an email without considering the translation again!

Overall, my time in London taught me the proper channels to take to get things done around the world, how to manage my workload to be effective across time zones, and how to effectively relate with people from dramatically different backgrounds.  However, probably most importantly, my secondment taught me how to successfully motivate people with a fresh spirit of enthusiasm – something too easily lost in our day-to-day work lives.

Successfully surviving this balancing act gave me a greater appreciation for our network of Texties.  I returned to New York with a fresh appreciation for Text 100, our people and our business goals.  As a team leader, I manage with an open mind and renewed willingness to question goals and priorities, testing people to always think outside the box and on a global scale.

It wasn’t always easy or predictable (Icelandic Volcano anyone!?), but I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world!

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