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The biggest challenges of moving abroad

A couple of months ago I was interviewed by the features director of the UK’s Good Housekeeping magazine .

She was writing an article on the pros and cons of moving abroad, and wanted my “expert opinion” on the topic … which naturally I was more than happy to provide (not least since the magazine has a monthly circulation of half a million readers!).

The article has just come out, featuring in the October 2010 edition of the magazine. And – leaving aside my own contribution – it makes for fascinating reading.


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7 ways to mentally cope with moving abroad

You’ve packed your suitcase, you’ve said goodbye to your loved ones and you’re at the airport; “What am I doing?” you ask yourself “Have I made a mistake?” 

Moving abroad, be it temporarily or not, is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. If you’re an expat like me, the thought of stepping off the plane in a country where you don’t know anyone is a daunting prospect. Trent Hand already covered 3 Brilliant Things to Do Before Moving Overseas, so I thought I would discuss 7 ways you can mentally prepare yourself before you step into the unknown.


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How to spread an excellent idea

Bob Sutton, who wrote perhaps the only business book with a title a family newspaper cannot reprint, The No A**hole Rulehas gone decidedly more tame with his latest work. Scaling Up Excellence, released Feb. 4, is the Stanford professor's look at the challenge of sharing good practices, growing new business lines and scaling the size of a successful startup. Co-authored by Hayagreeva "Huggy" Rao, also a professor at Stanford, the book draws on examples from companies like Facebook and Kaiser Permanente to examine how great organizations spread and scale what really works.

Sutton says that while the book hasn't gotten as much mainstream attention as his prior book, it has led to more talks with executives at big companies such as Pixar and General Motors. "No one ever wanted me in their company to talk about The No A**hole Rule," Sutton says.

I caught up with Sutton by phone earlier this week while he was in New York. Our conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.


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What can you learn from a culture of consistent excellence

Returning recently from an international trip to Japan provided a stark contrast of culture shock that has left me reflecting on brand consistency and customer service. American-based brands, my own included, can learn a great deal from the traditions and culture of Japan that apply to many aspects of business but especially to brand consistency and customer service.

Here are three principles I took away from my recent trip:

1. Brand consistency is excellence.

2. Service and hospitality matter.

3. Be responsive.

 


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Culture awareness in the workplace

Many people have embraced their personal cultural history and integrated components of their heritage into their daily lives. As the work environment becomes more culturally diverse, business owners need to be cognizant of cultural awareness in the workplace to avoid negative ramifications that include poor morale and legal action for discriminatory behavior.

A person's cultural perspective involves more than just a celebration of historical ideas or facts. It influences a person's behavior, dress, beliefs, values and customs. A person from one culture may have completely different negotiation expectations than a person from another culture, or a man may not feel comfortable working with a woman. These are common examples of cultural differences.


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