Medical Device and Pharmaceuticals Company

Aperian Global supports this company with a wide range of services to enable its corporate growth – including customized, one-on-one assignment coaching and training. 

In this case, Aperian Global worked closely with an executive from the company to prepare her for a challenging cross-border and cross-cultural assignment.

Problem

This longtime client of Aperian Global enlisted the help of the company’s individual coaching solutions to prepare a Middle Eastern-based executive for a new assignment in the United Kingdom. The executive had spent her corporate career working primarily with the culturally diverse local markets; a smooth transition to her new environment (dominated by specific cultures and customs) was critical to maintaining productivity and a successful outcome. 

“I came in from a culture that’s very diverse,” she said. “It’s a very metropolitan country. So, this was my first experience working predominantly with the UK and Nordic cultures. Coaching, from a cultural fit perspective, was very important.” 

Working with her Aperian Global coach, the executive identified two clear goals: 

  1. Continue to strengthen her ability to build effective cross-border and cross-functional partnerships with key stakeholders. The executive looked to cultivate trusting relationships by inviting diverse perspectives to collaborate and feel shared ownership to the overall goals. 

  2. Mobilize and influence stakeholders to act with speed and agility in efforts to deliver business outcomes. With coaching, the executive looked to support stakeholders in developing and applying innovative approaches to address challenges and leverage opportunities. Along with that, the executive wanted to continue to inspire internal stakeholders in developing a collaborative approach to work that was nimble, allowed for course corrections throughout the journey, and respectfully challenged the status quo.

“We started off by defining clear goals with my Aperian coach,” the executive said. “We looked at what I really wanted to get out of the assignment and what I wanted to get out of the overall experience.”

“I truly had a first-hand, on-the-ground look into the different cultures. I learned all of those little things that can make a huge difference in interactions - everything from collaboration techniques to making sure meetings go smoothly.”

— Company Executive

The Solution

Working one-on-one with the Aperian Global expert in the coaching sessions (and utilizing insights gained from the GlobeSmart learning platform) the executive learned about the differences between her cultures and the ones she would be working with – and what to expect on her assignment. 

“That provided me with an understanding of where I fit in culturally versus the markets that I was looking to work in,” she said. “I was based out of the UK and would also work with the Nordic market – so I learned about the UK cultural background, along with Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.” 

Adapting to the Work Style of New Cultures 

With the help of Aperian Global, the executive learned how to adapt her work style to both primary cultures she would be working with. For her primary audience in the UK, she learned how to interact with a work culture defined by calm and subtlety – a style very different from those in her native country. 

“I realized early on that this was an entirely different cultural environment,” she said. “And my Aperian Global coach really helped me understand – and adapt – to that.” 

Along with that, her Aperian Global coach went the extra step with helping her understand the egalitarian, “everyone has a voice,” non-hierarchy culture of the Nordic countries. 

Getting Valuable First-Hand Knowledge

Her Aperian Global coach arranged for her to meet with an Aperian Global consultant based in one of the Nordic markets, giving her some productive insights into the culture. 

“It was so potent,” she recalls. “The coach helped me understand just how powerful, for example, something as simple as a coffee break was to that culture. To have someone locally give that knowledge to you was fantastic.” 

Using the Global Readiness Development Assessment Process

Over eighteen months, the executive and her Aperian Global coach worked together, spanning the length of her assignment overseas and her transition back home to the Middle East. Coaching highlights included:

  • Defining the executive’s personal leadership brand and working to stay in alignment
  • Finding the right work-life balance and exploring the items that drove her passion at work 
  • Learning different skills to help people be vocal and express themselves 

At the core of the executive’s coaching was Aperian Global’s Global Readiness Development Assessment Process (GRDA) a framework encompassing multiple assessment methods and sources of data, built on a half-century of multicultural research. The executive’s employer company makes wide use of the GRDA in the early stages of international assignments. 

The GRDA includes:

  • Statistically-validated survey instruments, including GlobeSmart and the Global Competencies Inventory
  • A two-hour behavioral interview, exploring the background and leadership style of the executive
  • An assessment and development report for the employee and company stakeholder from the Aperian Global consultant

The Outcome

As a result of the one-on-one coaching, the executive received valuable insight into the new cultures she would be working with – resulting in a seamless and successful overseas assignment.  

“I truly had a first-hand, on-the-ground look into the different cultures,” the executive said. “I learned all of those little things that can make a huge difference in interactions – everything from collaboration techniques to making sure meetings go smoothly.”

As stated, the one-on-one training gave her a distinct leg up when it came to business interactions. She pointed out that her familiarity with different cultural work styles enabled her to craft working sessions and meetings that played to each culture’s strengths and preferences.

Along with that, she was able to let her insights “trickle-down” to fellow colleagues.

“It definitely gave us an overall competitive advantage,” she said. 

Along with the smooth transition to a new working environment, the one-on-one coaching with Aperian Global helped the executive in her professional mindset. The executive identified several different positive elements from her coaching that she has applied to her subsequent career, including:

  • Tools and techniques to better motivate and understand teams. 
  • Utilizing design thinking to come up with creative workplace solutions 
  • A better sense of herself as an individual, including realizing blind spots (and acting on them) and discovering signature strengths 

“At the end of the 18-month sessions, there was so much more I discovered about myself as a leader,” she said. “I looked forward to every interaction with my coach, as I knew I would come out stronger from every session and equipped to address the business and personal challenges I faced along the journey.”