stategic business partner

How More Global Mobility Specialists Work Now as ‘Strategic Business Partners’

Emerging challenges in globalization, the rise of new talent hubs, and the pressure to become internationally relevant have opened the door for global mobility specialists to become leaders in their own right. More and more top management is asking their input and insights on key strategies, some of which might not even be under their immediate sphere of responsibility. Global mobility specialists are now asked questions ranging from the the creation of more inclusive programs to harness the potentials of foreign assignees, to the way that certain countries do business should the company decide to establish a new office in those places.

Executives are also beginning to recognize that foreign assignments and the recruitment of foreign nationals alike can help pave the way for the next-generation of leadership who would be more flexible and comfortable in dealing with other cultures and regions. And the success of the formation of that kind of a pipeline lies in the hands of their global mobility specialists.

Global mobility specialists who are being called frequently to top-management meetings in a way that they had not been before are also flexing their professional muscles. They realize the value that they can contribute to leadership discussions and executive decision-making. And while the current situation has positioned them as seeming “consultants on-call,” they can leverage it to launch themselves and their departments as their executive leaders’ strategic business partner.

Erika Andersen in Forbes describes what being a strategic business partner really means: “We’d like to be included the conversations where the future of the business gets determined, and have a real voice in those conversations.”

There are several constructive ways by which global mobility specialists can accelerate the process, have a seat on the table, and build on this position for future career advancement:

Learn to see the organization as a whole

Get the big picture in coming up with solutions when asked; think of its welfare, and not just that of your own department. To be a business partner, you have to be concerned about the business, which means taking on the hat of the business owner or leader, aka your boss. Realize how your suggestions will impact the organization’s future and think beyond your own department’s concerns. Revenue, the financial bottom line, business sustainability, employee engagement, organizational agility — these are the things that occupy your CEO’s mind. Continually update yourself on these issues, spot potential problems, and be prepared to offer long-term solutions.

Understand how the other departments work and bond with your colleagues who work in these areas.

As Andersen puts it, get out of the box or your comfort zone. Grasp how the accomplishments and failures of one department affect the rest. Have a more than cursory knowledge of how these different units synergize. Get into the mindset of each department head and see things from his perspective. Drop your own hidden prejudices if you have to, e.g. sales people don’t look at the long-term or that IT geniuses are introverts who refuse to socialize.

Aside from giving you the capacity to see the overview, you will soon find yourself relating to these department heads in a more positive way. Your suggestions will become more relevant and impactful. And once these colleagues realize the value you are giving them, they’d be the first to ask the CEO to include you in the planning sessions.

Learn to take risks while always keeping the long-term health of the organization in mind.

There would be times that you would have to suggest ways and means that can incur more than a little risk, which can rattle you. A true leader knows how to keep their cool under immense pressure or stressful situations.

Your familiarity with the abrupt developments and complex partnerships that govern global structures should prepare you for such situations. Always keep your ear to the ground and maximize your long-standing relationships with associates and resources like embassies, industry associations, and ecosystem partners like California Corporate Housing.

For example, if another Brexit or Arab Spring happens, you should be able to provide some flexibility in your advice to your superiors, enough for the organization to cope with the situation. At the same time, as the one mandated to oversee the influx and development of foreign talent management, you must likewise be able to resist the urge to cut corners that can damage the company in the long run. You should always keep in mind the preservation of long-term partnerships while you remain unwavering in the pursuit of your goals.