If I’ve learned anything over the course of my 20-plus year corporate career, it is that the willingness to take risks and the ability to connect the dots are inextricably intertwined. Playing it safe may have been the way when people stayed at the same company for 30 years, but in an age where the median tenure is less than five years, you have a fairly finite period of time to make enough of an impression to propel your career.
For the entirety of my corporate life, I worked in multinational companies with huge global footprints. When I looked at the most successful leaders in my organizations, they all had one thing in common aside from the core competencies required of all senior leaders: They all had experience living and working outside of their country of origin.
Sure, there were some leaders who hadn’t, and working abroad wasn’t the only pattern, but I found that it was a pretty key differentiator in businesses that needed leaders who were at the very least bi-culturally competent.