Steve Huth from Carnegie Mellon is talking about this topic.
Want to think about the nature of staff you’re sending over. They need to be adaptable. Think “Start Up” rather than a mature organization. Are your staff prepared for that? In one of the locations the guy building out the network and servers also helped put in the automatic gate openers. Some of the best staff had never travelled internationally – don’t want to miss out on a good prospect because they don’t meet your mental model.
Is your organization ready to do this? We deal with a lot of process and constraints built up over a lot of time – in these situations what you might need is a bag of cash in the souk – will drive procurement folks crazy.
Need people who are capable of interacting with the ambassador or the government – a lot of non-technical skills.
Dealing in a global environment offset by a fair amount of time. Even the work week might differ. Maintaining communications takes a lot of flexibility. Technology can help, but nothing takes the place of people going and having the remote people come back. Censorship can be a big deal in some of these countries. If we’re dealing with academic materials, they come in ok, but when you’re dealing with staff their materials may not. Share the good and bad parts.
People need more help than they would on a business trip to navigate in these new societies. Find local people who can help with things like getting health care set up, or if you’re in a car accident. Need to understand the culture when you’re doing business. Odd sorts of situations that won’t resolve in any meaningful way in any meaningful amount of time.
Things happen back home that global staff will have a hard time dealing with. Can be a high personal cost – if something needs to happen quickly you need to be prepared to get people on a plane so they can get home to deal with emergencies.
International assignments provide an unparalleled opportunity for growth and development. CMU worked on an international work assignment program – have people submit ideas for work at international locations. Gets people thinking about the campus globally.