Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Your Global Career – future perspectives for the mobile executive

On February 24 2010, IMD and the IMD Alumni club of Washington organised a business forum at the IFC in Washington, led by Professor Maury Peiperl.

The event was graciously hosted by the IFC, and Eva Mennel, Senior Manager Learning and Leadership at the IFC, opened the event by greeting the many participants from all areas of business. She mentioned that the business environment in Washington, and the many international organisations present there, meant that the topic of global careers was of keen interest.

Business Forum in Washington, February 24, 2010

IMD director Lynn Verdina-Henchoz warmly thanked the partners of the event (IFC and the Alumni club). She also introduced the Alumni club president, Nicola Saporiti, to the audience and to those who might be interested in becoming members of the club, whcih acts as a link between the local business community and IMD.

She then introduced Professor Maury Peiperl and the topic of the event. At IMD, Maury Peiperl is Professor of Leadership and Strategic Change. Before joining IMD, he worked at IBM and Merill Lynch, followed by a position as a Research Fellow at Harvard and then professor at London Business School. He works with many clients around the world and has written books and articles on change and careers. His main areas of interest are Organisational Development, Change Management and Global Mobility. His current research is on the development of global executives and the management of careers under long-term uncertainty.

In the past twenty-five years, many companies have started to operate on a global basis and have had the ability to move goods, money and information anywhere in the world. The same cannot be said of people.

Professor Peiperl’s presentation covered the reasons for this relative lack of global mobility and what individuals and organizations can do to improve it. He first outlined some fundamental questions related to the nature of work, work arrangements and the changing commitment of individuals to their firms, and to what extent these elements might influence how careers are planned as well as how mobile today’s professionals can be.

Peiperl then described some of the patterns of global mobility and the different categories of global executives. The group discussed some of the blockers and enablers of global mobility and Professor Peiperl illustrated these with some company examples. He also presented a model of global competencies, from global knowledge to attitudes and orientations, to interpersonal skills and system skills, which the group found very useful.

Finally he presented a model for global careers and some recommendations, both for organizations and individuals, which ended with the statement “You cannot learn as much staying in one place as you can by moving around. Make yourself a generalist and a global citizen – your skills, experience and global network are your unemployment insurance.”

The event ended with a pleasant buffet lunch and networking opportunity.
As one participant wrote afterwards “Thanks for offering such a thought provoking session ! It has resonated a lot in our business community.”

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