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 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”

On the subject of productivity and keeping yourself on top of the career ladder, I’m offering the RockMeRetreat from the 21st November to the 28th November – 2019 this The RockMeRetreat is a seven-day leadership retreat in Southern Germany where you will get to network with other Expat Leaders and Professionals and develop your global leader competency.
The RockMeRetreat is designed to amplify your success on your chosen career ladder and get you closer towards the breakthrough you need to become a Rockstar in your chosen field!

Sign up here for entering the conversation with me. If you wish to speak to me directly please book an appointment by replying to this email.

Modern professionals are required to keep pace with a rapidly changing work ecosystem, so let us all focus on finding that sweet spot where we perform consistently and confidently.

PS: If your Corporate IT Policy doesn’t allow you to download apps on your iphone you could either challenge the policy or consider analogue methods such as the Have-Done-Diary and other forms of visualization. You can also work with our RockMeApp for free if you are willing to join our scientific research project.

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. The RockMeRetreat is the perfect example of such a retreat.

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.

I’m offering the RockMeRetreat from the 21st of November to the 28th of November, 2019, this year. It’s the perfect antidote to peaking at 35 or if you’re feeling that you’re unable to make a breakthrough in your career. The RockMeRetreat is just the impetus you need to make your mark and fulfill your aspirations to become a Global Rockstar in your field. It’s a seven-day leadership retreat in Southern Germany where you will get to network with other Expat Leaders and Professionals, develop the essential leadership skills that will amplify your success on your chosen career ladder and take the all-important first step towards that breakthrough you need to elevate your career and become a Rockstar in your chosen field!

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

Sign up here for entering the conversation.

Kind regards,
Angie

These days, if you’re not on LinkedIn or any equivalent jobs platform, you’re either sitting on a large inheritance, or seriously out of touch with the industry. For freelancers in particular and job seekers in general, having a digital presence is now perhaps as essential as being qualified to work to begin with.

A network of peers and industry members is something that was essential in the offline era, does it not make sense that professional networking would be equally, if not more important in the digital age? I remember starting online networking in 2004, a move that was particularly helpful for me – as I moved cities and countries, I was able to remain in constant touch with my established network, able to leverage it for various purposes as the need arose. For a Global Mobility Professional, a network that travels everywhere with them is priceless.

Looking back at that time and analysing the power that was afforded to me by my digital professional network, I got to thinking about how this could be used to empower job seekers everywhere. That is how the HireMeGroup was set up: allowing professionals to hack the Swiss Job Market with strong business connections, both offline and online.

Pinpoint the platform where you will find Hiring Managers and Clients for your industry.
LinkedIn may be the ‘de facto’ professional networking platform for the masses, but certain industries are known to frequent alternative digital platforms. The publishing and writing industry, for instance, can be found on Twitter and Goodreads. Photographers and videographers have made their home on Vimeo, YouTube and Instagram. The bottom line: Inhabit the right digital spaces so you can make the right connections.

Understand that a digital presence takes longer to pay dividends.
The internet era is the era of scams and fake profiles. It takes longer to build trust with a stranger than it would through only real-world meets. You can speed the process along by building your digital home, ideally a blog that acts as a thorough resume for visitors. Once you’ve interacted with someone online, directing them to your blog would allow them to access not only your professional biography but a way to contact you. Remember to use blog tools (WordPress, Medium or whatever platform you choose) to set up a sign-up/contact form so people can easily reach you.

Support and develop the community.
Self-promotion is a big turn-off, you should instead focus on promoting other people’s work. A great way to be a positive influence in your network is to endorse other people’s work (on LinkedIn or otherwise). It is especially helpful for people who are modest or doubt their own achievements (a condition known as imposter syndrome). By fostering a communal and supportive network, you can create goodwill among colleagues and with peers in general. It is essential to creating the right image online.

Be genuine when you meet people IRL (In Real Life).
A general assumption about digital presences is that they are heavily curated, that is, they contain cherry-picked information that may not be representative of the entire picture. By showing that you’re as nice, if not nicer, in real life will be a pleasant and welcome surprise to all who meet you. Be genuine in providing help, be genuine in general and good things will happen to you.

It’s not easy to find and publish your digital identity. That’s why professional support groups like our HireMeGroup exist. I hope the tips above can help you identify and maximize your digital presence. If you still feel lost and in need of help, you can always contact me and arrange a meeting.
The HireMeGroup gives you immediate access to a trusted circle of like-minded professionals. They’ve been in the digital game for a while and can help you expand your network faster! In any group, shared experiences are the key to building relationships and trust, while also providing growth opportunities through feedback from the group and the coach.

If you’re ready to join the HireMeGroup, or are still undecided and would like to know more, simply reach out to me and we can discuss your targets to get started.

I’m planning next HireMeGroup for this fall. You can always start individual coaching with me before the next group.

Kind regards
AngieOffline and Online Presence is the Way Forward for Modern Professionals

Offline Networking As Important As Ever

Modern society has evolved in many regards, especially in how we interact with each other. A significant amount of these interactions now happen in digital social spaces than real ones. Today, I’d like to talk about the role that ‘old-school’ networking still plays in building relationships.

I premise this discussion with a note that I am a champion of both forms of networking. Digital spaces are revolutionary and have brought people at great distances together. My focus will only be on the strengths of face-to-face meetings/interactions.

So, offline networking. A lot of you, especially younger people, might be wondering why Angie is so bent on this relic of the past. To these young whippersnappers, I say: Read on.

Building Trust Through Offline Networking

When was the last time you trusted a random person on the internet? In fact, isn’t the first advice given to anyone on online social media to ignore and not trust anything a stranger tells you? Just how much of a relationship do you have with someone you’ve only interacted with in Twitter DMs?
Professional networking, similarly, can only go so far to building your relationships if they’re limited to online interactions. Face-to-face meetings help develop a higher level of trust among participants – positive body language plays a great role in helping put nervous people at ease. Similarly, interacting in the same physical space (over a coffee, at a professional dinner or even a mixer of sorts) is a great ice-breaker. Shared experiences always do leave a lasting memory, what better way to starting building a repertoire with your network?

If you’re a seasoned professional with the wisdom of experience to share, offline networking can help you build trust with those who wish to seek your advice but would hesitate to reach out to you directly. By giving off an approachable vibe, perhaps giving a little impromptu talk to a group of people, you can embed that necessary bit of trust in younger professionals to reach out and network with you and others at your position. They’d go on to do it when they reach your place in their careers, and continue the cycle of positive networking!

If You’re a Giver, Don’t Burn Yourself Out

A natural consequence of purposeful networking is the asking and giving of advice. For experienced professionals, especially those who actively network, it can soon become an overwhelming practice. Giving advice is great, it’s what makes the world turn, but when your network constantly reaches out for advice on anything from spreadsheet optimization to career planning, it can lead to the sort of burnout that makes you want to stop networking. It may also negatively impact your health!
Learning to say no is never easy, especially if you’re worried about coming off as impolite. It is, however, essential. Let your principles guide you: Develop a strategy that lets you identify scenarios where you say yes and those where you say no. Stick to this guideline and maintain your sanity!
The thing about networking is, it’s not a transactional relationship. You don’t go into it expecting rewards, or even gratitude. You do it because you believe in ‘networking karma’. That said, you are only human and even the most generous of givers can find themselves overwhelmed at times. That’s why it is important to set up boundaries that help you prevent burnout and maintain a healthy relationship with yourself and your network.
As this week’s club sandwich focuses on offline networking, I thought I’d bring your attention to two excellent opportunities to engage in said networking: The RockMeRetreat! As you know, I’ll be offering the RockMeRetreat once this year starting the 21st of November.

If you’re feeling that you’re unable to make a breakthrough in your career, that your aspirations to become a Rockstar in your field are going unfulfilled, then the RockMeRetreat is just the impetus you need to make your mark. It’s a seven-day leadership retreat in Southern Germany, where you will get to network with professionals and Leaders and gain essential advice and knowledge on kickstarting your career into high gear again!

You really have no excuse to not sign up for this opportunity! Email me for a conversation.

Kind regards,
Angie Weinberger

PS: If you mention anything relevant on social media, don’t forget to tag @angieweinberger

I feel that the era of treating people as numbers on a spreadsheet needs to change, don’t you?

Steps in the right direction are already being taken and I believe that Global Mobility professionals and their increasing value in businesses is the example to rally behind. For the uninitiated, let’s talk today about how you as Human Resources or Global Mobility Professionals can demonstrate and amplify the value they bring to organizations. We had our guest blogger Kevin Castro tackle this very topic last year and it remains highly relevant today, so we are re-sharing the main ideas.

Agile is Fragile

First and foremost, Global Mobility professionals need to be agile. The goal posts are shifting all the time – organizations are reevaluating what is critical to business needs rapidly and adjusting the focus of their teams accordingly. Not only do you need to be aware of these changes as they happen, but you also need to be ready to adapt at a moment’s notice. Agility is the name of the game the most successful professionals in the industry right now are those on top of these trends.

That said, we have yet to test the boundaries of agility and how quickly we can adapt in the face of great change, for instance, how we can use integrated vendor platforms such as TOPIA with all the data protection regulations within Europe. There’s also the issue of adoption of agile technologies. For instance, I find that sometimes, even using a shared document on Google Drive or OneDrive already seems to be considered innovative for many companies I work with. (Some often still have paper files!)

Business Acumen and Language

Second, and this one is for those who interact with business leaders, start engaging with them on matters that concern the business directly. By conversing with the various team leaders, you will gain a better understanding of business goals and targets – this understanding will help you make the right suggestions that help the business get closer to those goals! In addition, this sort of engagement will put you in a better position to demonstrate your value – more on that in the next section. A great example would be to understand the growth markets of the company you work for and gaining deeper insights into their legislation. For example, if your growth potential is in India, try to at least understand an Indian payroll slip. (I know that this is almost impossible, but hey we love challenges.)

Communication

An important but often ignored part of demonstrating one’s value is the simplest: communication. Communication is key to a successful personal life but it’s equally important to the well-being of your professional one! It’s a well-known secret that many organizations slip up when it keeps to assignment tracking, so why not remind them, regularly? It’s for your good, after all. A presentation, an email, a newsletter, highlighting key successes and listing all that you’ve accomplished will go a long way in ensuring that senior leadership is aware of the value you bring the company. When was the last time you mentioned a successful expatriation of key talent to the C-Suite? When did you create a report that showed the company the cost-saving you achieved by creating a more effective compensation and operating model?

Expertise

Finally, it is critical for any GM professional to know how to flaunt their expertise. This sounds like common sense but in my experience, I’ve found it surprising just how many people express hesitation or reluctance when it comes to the subject of selling one’s skills. It’s important for all professionals, doubly so for GM professionals! You are the expert of your field, that’s why you were hired after all – you should demonstrate this expertise more often.

Our domain is a rapidly evolving playing field of ever-shifting requirements, technologies, and expectations. This is in addition to the language, cultural and geographical integration requirements. You –  are expected to have a multitude of knowledge, attitude, skills and you need to learn to constantly reflect your experiences and integrate body learning into your attributes.

Develop and Grow Global Competency

I tackled this topic in detail on last week’s “Club Sandwich”, you can catch up with the post here.

One way to build your knowledge base is to join the Global Mobility courses at the Expatise Academy in Rotterdam, Holland.  I’m currently teaching several courses, which are all now available to YOU, online. My courses deal with Global Mobility Competencies, while also focusing on intercultural competency, building solid international assignment business cases and most importantly, bringing the human touch back into our processes. There are all sorts of other technical courses available as well, by experts in the fields of immigration, taxation, social security, and employment law.

Check out the new and shiny “Educate Yourself Platform” by Expatise Academy now.  

Please mention me when you sign up to qualify for a discount via this link or email learning@expatise.academy.

Let’s keep our momentum going and aim to be even better at what we do. I believe in the “Future of Global Mobility” (#FoGM) and that we will grow in scope and influence.

Kind regards,
Angie Weinberger

PS: If you mention anything relevant on social media, don’t forget to brand it with #GlobalMobility.