Author Archives: Angie Weinberger

I found myself discussing this topic with a lot of people over the last few weeks, and have decided to break it down for readers in this week’s Club Sandwich. Let’s get right to it!

I want to brief you all about Global Competency and how it is determining the growth of skills in international professionals. As I also describe in the Global Mobility Workbook, ‘Global Competency is the ability to work effectively in a global, complex environment with a high level of stress, while achieving goals sustainably and in accordance with your own resources’. It is a combination of knowledge, attitude, skills, reflected experiences and body learning.

What are these skills? There are a diverse set of abilities that can help your global competency, ranging from developing your language skills (learning a foreign language is great!) to effectively using digital media (Social Media platforms & video conferencing). 

Other skills like analytical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills also help cement your Global Competency. That last one feeds into digital media skills as well, since most modern communication happens over Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (and their corporate equivalents). In fact, I believe media competency is critical for any globally active professional in these technology-driven times. As I mentioned last time you can also practice logical thinking through tests and games. My grandma plays Scrabble against herself. She’s doing great and beats me every time with her 97 years of age.

It’s a journey of constant self-improvement that will keep your Global Competency up to scratch! 

You might think you know everything already to get by. I believe though that we all need to engage in continuous, lifelong learning if we don’t want to be replaced by “Virginia Robot” soon.

If you want to develop your skills and keep track of your learning goals you can use the Rockmeapp to do that. As a reader of the Global People Club Sandwich your 12months subscription to the Rockmeapp is free of charge. You will also get a special rate for coaching sessions with me.

I wish you all a productive week.Global Competency also requires rethinking yourself in a global arena. Here are three priorities:

1) Analyze and improve the way you build professional relationships, learn to be an active listener to gain better access to people of other cultures. 
2) Reflect on your unconscious bias. Where could it play a role? Have you potentially disadvantaged a woman or a person with a minority background through your implicit assumptions about gender roles or cultural supremacy?
3) Check and write down stereotypes and work on your attitude towards people of other cultures.

If you want to develop your skills and keep track of your learning goals you can use the Rockmeapp to do that. As a reader of the Global People Club Sandwich your 12months subscription to the Rockmeapp is free of charge. You will also get a special rate for coaching sessions with me.


One of my clients asked me why I did not spend more time explaining tests and preparing you for tests. One of the reasons is that tests are out of my radar a bit. Yesterday I forced myself through a psychometric test. As you know I sometimes go through interviews too. First of all, going through the process helps me sympathize with you. Secondly, I constantly look for new projects and sometimes new projects means to apply for a full-time position.

What I did not know is that nowadays application processes are designed to test your patience and perseverance more than your work experience or actual knowledge of the subject matter at hand. It starts with all the duplication of data you have to enter in the applicant tracking system and ends with the surprise of being invited to an online test that is supposed to last two hours…and then takes up almost your whole Sunday.

I followed the advice of the recruiter and went through all trial tests on my couch in my PJ first thing Sunday morning. I felt like I was not in my right mind and that I could not do most of the math tasks without a pen, paper and a calculator. Then I was disturbed by an alarm clock. I had to get up and lost time. I also felt it took me very long to understand the English texts which made me think that the tests are biased against non-native speakers. I did not know how elaborate this system was. By the time I finally started the real test I only had one wish: Get through this and see it as a self-experiment.

I understood that there was no deduction for giving the wrong answer and sometimes the last questions were the easier ones. I knew I wanted to finish all questions (even by guessing) and I tried to keep an open attitude even though my ego had been hurt already a fair bit.

I started with the personality test as I figured this would be easiest. Then I did the hardest one for me which was the inductive reasoning test, next the numerical analysis test and then a test where you had to read a paragraph and answer questions to it.

I stumbled upon this video. You might find it useful https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h36cpwlslHk&feature=youtu.be

What I found strange is that there was no communication on when and whether I will see the result of my efforts and my lost Sunday. Companies should tell you such stuff. Also, they should tell you that these tests are made for people with Einstein’s IQ. I wrote down a few first tips for you when you are invited to psychometric tests:

1) Go through all the sample and practice test the same company offers.
2) Sign up to their mailing list for future challenges and new test questions.
3) Read all the instructions carefully and check if they have a version in your native language.
4) Make sure you block about three hours and have ZERO disturbance.
5) Take short breaks between the tests and drink water.
6) Make sure you actually have a simple calculator.*
7) If you expect more tests it might be worthwhile buying preparatory tests or books especially if you are a dinosaur like me who has not been to school for more than 20 years.

Here are also two links that might help you. I am not affiliated with those companies but they look genuine.

If you have further links and tips to share please let me know.

http://www.psychometricinstitute.com.au/Psychometric-Test-Guide/Psychometric-Test-Tips.html

http://career-advice.careerone.com.au/job-interview-tips/psychometric-testing/top-10-tips-to-prepare-for-a-psychometric-test/article.aspx

This week, I would like you to challenge yourself by running a self-experiment on a topic that feels like a challenge for you. Please share your experience with me. Thank you.

It’s that time of the year again when we arbitrarily change our clocks by an hour because of reasons that nobody seems to understand anymore, in a planet-wide April Fool’s joke. Perhaps it’s just scientists’ way of reminding us that time is relative? Luckily, the EU is about to get rid of that nasty habit but until then I still cringe because now I literally have to get up at 4 am. I am a morning person but there are limits and I feel sorry for my global, virtual team because now they have to handle my bad mood all day long.

They know me well, so they probably just think “Oh, another one of her dramas”…

We have become accustomed to drama everywhere and we are used to arguing in meetings for the sake of positioning ourselves. Sometimes you just want to win over the other person’s view. It’s about who is better than the other. On the surface.

What is this argument really about?

Have you ever considered that you jump into an argument easily not because you want to move forward the team and “think further and outside the box” but just because you like power? Have you considered that you are worried about losing power when you treat your team members with respect and listen to them instead of thinking that you know best of all?

I revisited the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”  by Stephen Covey through this video recently. I was lucky to “win” access to one of Stephen’s talks around 13 years ago in Frankfurt. I was very impressed with him when he made a full concert hall of around 5000 managers stand up, close their eyes, turn around several times and then point towards “North”.

There were around 35 different options to show North.

If you want to become effective as a team you need to invest in the relationship level of the team members. You need to create the framework for a supportive atmosphere in which every team member feels valued and can share her view in a way that is appropriate to them.

You probably now wonder “Ok, I know that but it is easier said than done.” and as so often you are hoping for the quick fix, the recipe or the shortcut to global virtual team productivity.

May I take your delusions from you?

There are no shortcuts in life. Someone will always suffer if you try the quick fixes, the formula or the recipes that might work for others. You will first of all need to work on yourself. Once you are ready to be a “rounded” leader who can set aside ego and nurture a team then you can read the six tough steps to start working more effectively in global, virtual teams.

1) Confront your fears and find a place of self-awareness within you

That is the hardest part of self-development. Often our ego is strong and demands that we nurture it daily. It is like the flesh-eating plant in “Little Shop of Horrors”. The ego needs fodder. We have built ways of showing to ourselves that we are worthy. It could be the new certificate that you have to attain, the endorsements on LinkedIn or the positive feedback you expect in your performance reviews and your 360-evaluation. You behavior is driven by optimizing your evaluation, turnover and other Key Performance Indicators. Learn to be self-sufficient without depending on numbers that prove you are a superhero!

2) Identify the formal roles and responsibilities of your team members

While every team needs formal roles and responsibilities most conflicts occur at the handover points. In a fully functioning and high performing team everyone also supports the other team member when they sense that the other team member is overloaded or when they feel that they have the capacity. The more dispersed and virtual the team works, the harder it is to see how much capacity everyone has.

It is your job as the leader to identify the gaps and to build a feedback loop where team members can openly communicate when they feel overloaded or when they do not have enough challenging work. You probably understand that every team member needs a healthy mix of challenges and routine tasks in order to be satisfied at work.

3) Unmask the informal roles of your team members

In your team you will find informal roles too. In a flatter hierarchy you might have an opinion leader who does not necessarily agree with you. You might find this team member challenging but this team member could be your greatest ally and supporter if you understood how this person needs to be inspired

Maybe they need more encouragement, maybe they need more brainstorming  or maybe they need more structure. You need to learn to read your team members and the informal roles they play and then adapt your style accordingly.

4) Find out the areas of support for the team members

In my management and coaching experience I learned that every human being  has needs. It sometimes took me up to two years to drive a team to high performance and great collaboration. When you understand the learning steps the team member has to go through to get to the next level you will also understand how you can lead this person to success.

Instead of asking them to work on projects that are way out of their capabilities you can give them small success experiences so they can grow in small steps and keep their self-confidence in tact. I have seen many good team members in other teams who were crushed and did not believe in their competencies anymore because their manager was overconfident or micro-managing them.

5) Ensure every team member has a voice

In any intercultural team but also monocultural team you will have more introverted team members. They will not always speak up in meetings and voice their opinions. Others might just feel it is not worth to discuss further and shut up. You can use various tools and methods to give your quieter team members a voice.

It also helps if you ask a neutral facilitator to support your annual kick-off meetings or other team building exercises. You might not see yourself how you hinder certain team members from voicing their opinion.

6) Be aware of your limiting assumptions

When a team member is very engaged but not necessarily of the same view as you are it could be a good point to consider. You might assume that the team member is less qualified or experienced than you are and as a result, you might not take her seriously.

You could also be biased against team members who behave like yourself or have similar preferences in working style. This is what we reveal in coaching sessions. In my experience, this process is easier when you work with me through this transition phase as you might have cultural and other blindspots that hinder you from fast progress.

These are six tough ways to improve your collaboration in global virtual teams.

Let’s have a conversation about your current global leader and team performance goals. You can also discuss your expatriate career topics with me. Pick my brain by claiming your RockMeRetreat*** Goal Setting Session (with Code: RMR19)


I’m sure you have been told countless times in recent years that in this driven, fast-changing world, the agile will reign supreme. I’m sure you have also wondered, what exactly does that mean?

I think the simplest answer to that is: Professionals who can keep up to date with their skill set are the ones who will find sustained success. Keeping your skills and knowledge in tip-top condition is something I’ve touched on in a previous Club Sandwich too, but today I’d like to focus on the aspect of digital competency. For many professionals, maintaining a current skill set as this new world gets more digital-centric is the real challenge. This means asking yourself, are you someone with a robust IT skill set or do you ‘just get by’?

If your answer is the latter, perhaps it is time to consider ramping up the attention you give to this aspect. Being able to work with a few basic apps and systems will no longer take you the distance. I understand that getting to grips with this rapid change can be too much for some professionals, who feel that their learning progress has hit a brick wall, or become a slow crawl. This can naturally lead to a feeling of frustration and impatience for ‘not getting it’, which may directly affect your productivity and self esteem.

What I’d like to do today is to help you boost your productivity in ways that may also bolster your digital competence. The following are a few methods I’ve used personally and have assisted clients as well. Let’s do this!

Have a read through of Jane Piper’s excellent book Focus in the Age of Distraction
Jane Piper is a digital wellbeing expert who draws on her experience in Focus, highlight key consequences of living in the digital age that can impact productivity. There have been several studies on how digital apps, especially networking ones have affected our ability to focus and engage – something that is now visible in workplaces around the world. For those among us who find themselves struggling to focus and perform at their peak, this book is a must read!

Start using a productivity app
Now, don’t get scared! Most productivity apps on the market can appear daunting, and hide most features behind a paywall, that is, they let you use their basic version for free but require you to pay a one-time or recurring cost for premium features. That means you never know if the money spent will be worth it. Instead, I’ll focus you towards the best apps that offer these features for free, allowing you to find your own groove.

A productivity or task management app can be something as simple as Gmail’s Tasks list, or something more elaborate like Microsoft To-Do and Todoist. What is similar about these apps and what you will learn is this: lists help your mind declutter and refocus. These apps provide additional help by providing reminders, categorization options and cross-system(platform) support.

The unique thing each app brings is what will determine if they are something you will wish to use long-term. People who enjoy the satisfaction of making lists will prefer Todoist, while those who may require organizational options will go for Microsoft To-Do.

Find the app that works for you and start planning your day better!

Are You More of a Visual Thinker? Then Play to Your Strength! 
Productivity apps are great but only if you can harness their power effectively. For those among us who are more visual thinkers, or work with visuals and design, will definitely find themselves flocking to Trello and its card-based approach. It’s like having a digital corkboard to map out your tasks, and definitely worth trying out.

Experiment with Global Virtual Team Collaboration Apps
For those among us who run teams, there are group productivity and task management/collaboration tools such as Slack and Asana that are worth looking into. A note on Slack usage: It is primarily a team collaboration tool but its productivity boosting capabilities come from its ability to integrate with Google Drive/Dropbox and Salesforce. I find it important that you experiment with your team and review after a few months what worked well and what didn’t work well. You might notice generational differences in app usage and effectiveness.

Simplify and find tools that work for your team or collective
Yesterday, I listed all the tools we are using in one of our collectives on a flipchart paper. I tried to paint the icons without looking at my iphone and had to smile later because they actually look slightly different. However, I realized that we often use many tools already but we haven’t agreed on simple communication principles. So the work only starts when you have identified the right tools. (The hammer alone doesn’t help. You also need to bring in energy to slam in the nail.) We will continue to discuss global virtual team collaboration in the upcoming issues.

Unplug and keep a have-done diary
One aspect (that is also addressed in Jane Piper’s book) is how the pressure and stress of work combined with the always-on digital aspects can put us in a state of mind where we are unable to focus on anything, much fewer deliverables and time management. 

Here’s what you do: List down your completed daily tasks. I recommend a notebook and handwriting for this exercise. Not only will this give you a break from the screen but help you analyze your productivity cycle, its peaks and low points. I’ve learned this method from my coach educator Boudewijn Vermeulen and it served me well during hectic times.

I talk about more productivity hacks that can help you reclaim your diary here. Practice one of these hacks per week and let me know how your experience went in the RockMeApp! You can add them to your “weekly practices”.

 

 


The breakneck advances in modern technology and communication have revamped how we work in ways previous generations couldn’t have dreamed of. No longer does ‘working professional’ mean a person sitting in a cubicle, or in a conference room. You can work from home, from another country, even halfway across the world!

While we’ve witnessed this blurring of manmade boundaries, I feel such breakthroughs are not being embraced by organizations, most of which still stick to ‘traditional’ hierarchical structures in the face of an evolving workforce. The result of that is that a lot of modern professionals feel that they’re being held back by these relics of the past and as a result feel disempowered.

The truth of the matter is that we often tend to get a bit one-dimensional when, for instance, we stick with the same career for over a decade and haven’t moved to another company within the last five years. Such a move is guaranteed to stagnate your all-round professional development and flexibility, you don’t want to become a corporate zombie, do you?

Each year, you should explore options to upgrade your knowledge base and skill set. Set yourself new, incremental goals in the form of small weekly practices so your brain is kept regularly active and you’re not just going through the motions.

Here’s our top ten list of how to keep your knowledge base in a constant state of improvement:

1. Set yourself a reading target of 25 minutes per day. Maybe pair it with a nice cup of coffee or tea.
2. Listen to podcasts on your commute to/from work. They can range from industry-specific subjects or even a relevant hobby!
3.  Write guest blogs for reputable websites, adding to other’s knowledge base is just good karma!
4. Give guest lectures regularly at universities and professional academies.
5. Attend a panel once in a quarter where you and other professionals are sharing your expertise.
6. Join a non-profit board so you can learn a completely new skill.
7. Engage in (a maximum of) three groups on LinkedIn to see buzz topics, hashtags, and important trends in your industry.
8. Book a Master-level university course in a topic you wish to dive into deeper.
9. Attend at least one annual industry event.
10. Sign up for and attend one retreat a year to clear your baggage and move on unrestrained.

We often believe we deserve a promotion but there usually aren’t that many promotions available; some of us end up having reached our highest career level at the age of 35.

Don’t let that happen to you.

Let’s have a conversation about your current global leadership or expatriate career wishes and challenges.

Kind regards,
Angie