5 Questions to Guide Global Succession Plans

Assigning someone to a global role who is unprepared or disinterested in it can have long-term effects on both the individual and the company.  From an individual standpoint, the manager and his or her family will struggle.  In our research with more than 17,000 managers and leaders around the world, we have heard countless first-hand accounts of how these struggles have led to unhappiness, stress, and conflict in the workplace.  This is because people who are not prepared to engage with new people and new environments demonstrate this very quickly through their words, body language, and expressions.  Local employees and business partners quickly pick up on this, and it can lead to an erosion of trust. They may continue to do their jobs, but will interact minimally. Worst-case scenario, they decide that they are simply not interested in partnering with this manager at all. Over time, the relationships dissolve and trust becomes difficult to recover, even when that manager is replaced.  What started as individual unhappiness and stress turns into organizational conflict that can be difficult to remedy.  If you are responsible for global succession plans, these five questions can help you prepare and select people to be successful in global roles:

1.    What is this person’s level of interest in engaging in global situations?

2.    What is this person’s preparation to work in this particular culture, environment, role?

3.    What additional preparation is needed and how will it be acquired?

4.    What is this person’s level of resilience for overcoming the inherent challenges of doing business cross-culturally?

5.    These questions must be answered for this person’s family/loved one’s who will accompany them, as well.  

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