Worldly Women – Resources referred to in the book

Worldly Women shows any woman who has ever considered working abroad how to expatriate successfully and achieve excellence. Learn from those who have seen it, done it, and loved it!

Notably, Worldly Women offers ground breaking information about global leadership behavior that is shared among female expatriate leaders. Developing and reinforcing these behaviors in your professional (and personal) life will give you an edge to success in your expatriate assignment by:

  • Achieving peak performance
  • Accelerating assimilation into your new environment
  • Facilitating a smoother transition

Combining many tools and exercises with the expert advice of WiSER, Worldly Women serves as a personal coach to any woman interested in an expatriate assignment. Resources referred to in the book are categorized by chapter.

WiSER Competencies

Our groundbreaking research has uncovered that there are four competencies that are shared among Women in Senior Level Expatriate Roles!

  • Self-awareness – Knowing your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes—which are all based on your values—and using this knowledge to make critical decisions
  • Conscious Imbalance – Tipping the scales towards what gives you energy and fulfillment with the realization that the scales will need to be rebalanced on a regular basis
  • Operating Outside your Comfort Zone – Embracing challenges coming from new experiences by tolerating ambiguity and remaining calm
  • Active Career Management – Knowing what you want from your career and actively working on achieving it

Chapter 3 – The Culture Club

Situation 1 – Playboy magazine What are some productive approaches that the American female colleague could take? Approach Hans and explain why this situation bothered her. Ask questions to better understand his Dutch perspective regarding this situation. Why was Hans confused? He was confused because this gift was not culturally negative or problematic for him. He didn’t realize that his gift would make a female colleague uncomfortable, especially because he considered it an “innocent” gift, given discreetly. Was Hans right or wrong in his decision to give the magazine to his visiting American male colleague? In cross-cultural professional settings, right or wrong can vary based on  the seven cultural dimensions discussed in chapter 3.  Even when you are in your own country, when you are dealing with people from different cultural backgrounds, it is important to be aware of differences.

Situation 2 – Paint in the Amazon Well, to the UN worker’s horror, the young man had been killed in his sleep. Carlotta soon learned that the tribe’s unspoken societal rules were intended to ensure that there would be no “ruler.”  The members of the tribe were supposed to live among one another for survival and procreation.  The moment someone attempted to fill the role of “ruler,” they were promptly slain.  Now, Carlotta felt she had a death on her hands, and to make matters worse, she had failed to solve the dilemma posed by the aluminum paint.  She regrouped and decided to speak with the local priest to see if he could help.  Together, they came up with an idea.  They gathered the villagers and began to paint the church with the aluminum paint.  When they had completed their task, the village had the shiniest (and also perhaps the hottest) church in the region.  Unfortunately, there was still an abundance of paint left over, and the young woman was forced to leave with her mission unaccomplished.

Tool to assess and understand cultural differences: Geert Hofstede

Tips to adapt to new culture

  • Be respectful
  • Understand “right” and “wrong” is relative
  • Understand there are many ways to do things
  • Be humble
  • Listen, observe, and ask a lot of questions
  • It is you who will have to adapt
  • Learn the language
  • Mind the cultural context
  • Be patient

Chapter 4 – Recipe for Success

Things to consider before accepting an expatriate assignment

  •   Think it through
  •   It is not all glitter and glamour
  •   Find an assignment that is a good cultural fit for you and your family
  •   Find a female friendly employer
  •   Make sure it is your personal choice, not just a career move
  •   Make sure your family supports you
  •   Even if it has not been your lifelong plan, working abroad can be for you
  •   It is okay to have doubts

Look Before You Leap Questionnaire
This questionnaire will help you determine if you demonstrate characteristics often found among expatriates.  Many of these traits are demonstrated, unconsciously, in daily life.  However, they can be an indicator of whether an expatriate assignment is for you.

First, answer the questions on your own.
Second, ask two additional people (ideally, a trusted partner, family member, friend, or colleague) to answer the questions from their perspective.
Third, discuss and reflect upon the results.  You may even wish to discuss the outcome with your organization’s HR representative. 

We realize that these are “yes” and “no” questions, but thinking of concrete examples that support the answers will provide amazingly sound advice when you are considering your suitability for an international assignment.

If you answer most, or all, of the “Look before you Leap” questions with a resounding “yes,” you may possess some important characteristics that are needed to make an international move work. Personality characteristics often associated with successful expatriation include being outgoing, open-minded, adventurous, adaptable, flexible, resilient, and strong. It is also helpful to be a lifelong learner.

Chapter 5 – Bells and Whistles

Answers to warm up quiz:

  1. You can recover data from a failing hard drive by placing it in the freezer for a few hours and then reinstalling it in the computer. – True
  2. It is hotter in the summertime because the earth is closer to the sun. – False
  3. “She just can’t be chained to a life where nothing’s gained and nothing’s lost, at such a cost” was performed by the Rolling Stones. – True
  4. Too many visits to the tanning salon can damage your internal organs.  – False
  5. In space, it is impossible to cry. – true
  6. ‘Copyrightable’ is the longest word in the English language that can be written without repeating a letter. -false
  7. An Ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain. – true
  8. Thomas Edison, who invented the light bulb, was afraid of the dark. – true
  9. There is an airport named after Pablo Picasso. – true
  10. Cardiovascular exercise burns more calories than strength training. – false

Tips for male trailing spouse

Chapter 6 – Self-Awareness

Online energy assessments: what gives you energy?
Full engagement self profile:

Discover-your-talents tool
Ask 3-5 family members or close friends, individually, to describe you with five adjectives. Look for overlaps or commonalities among the adjectives and more than likely you will end up with a nice list of your strengths.

“Soulful” Food For Thought -Shawn Garrett

  • What do you enjoy most about your work?
  • What do you long for in your work?  What keeps you from it?
  • If you weren’t in your current career what would you do for a living?
  • Imagine that you are looking back over the life of your career.  What would you like to be known for?
  • What does work mean for you?  Is it a career, a statement of who you are, or just a paycheck?
  • What meaning or importance does money have for you?
  • What does family mean to you?
  • How do the voices of fear speak to you?  What do they say?
  • If you could imagine the voices of fear taking a sabbatical, what might you do?
  • What are your gifts?
  • What brings out the best in you?
  • What do you feel most passionate about?
  • How does soul or spirituality show up for you at work?
  • How important is your health and physical fitness?
  • What are your needs?  What are your organization’s needs?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What would your family, friends, and co-workers way is the driving force of your life?  What do you want it to be?
  • What is the one thing you want to stop doing today?
  • What is the one thing you want to start doing today?

Chapter 7 – Conscious Imbalance

Online energy assessments: what gives you energy?
Full engagement self profile:

Twenty simple ways to take “time outs”.

  1. go for a walk
  2. take a drive out to the country
  3. buy yourself something special (it doesn’t need to be expensive, just special)
  4. read a book
  5. take a bubble bath
  6. light some candles and listen to music
  7. clear your mind, close your eyes, and take a deep breath
  8. exercise
  9. relax in your favorite chair
  10. sit in front a the fireplace with a warm drink
  11. do some gardening
  12. play with your pet
  13. play with your children
  14. go see a movie
  15. take a nap
  16. if you are on a diet, give yourself a treat
  17. feeling frustrated? take a break and talk through things by yourself
  18. sit in a park or some other calm area close to nature
  19. cuddle up to your partner and quietly enjoy his/her company
  20. share a good laugh with a good friend

Chapter 8 – Operating outside you comfort zone

One hour of increased brain activity via innovative thinking or experiencing new stimuli can make you smarter, more energetic, more creative, more sociable, and more open to new experiences and ways of thinking.

Discover some new ideas here:
Harness your brain’s neuroplasticity:

Chapter 9 – Active Career Management

If you are interested in assessing your NQ—networking IQ—, answer the following questions. These questions will help you better understand the scope and strength of your network. This assessment is adopted from The Connect Effect by Michael Dulworth (2008). Click here for ‘The International Career Toolkit’