The day of the biggest move in their family’s history had finally arrived! Just a few months prior, the company announced the need for a regional manager at the Netherlands location.
As the company motto states, “We are at the intersection of saving and sustaining life” and apparently that includes lives in the Netherlands.
When the opportunity was offered, both a thrilling excitement and overwhelming trepidation created conflicting reactions that definitely affected the family. The family wavered between an adventurous desire to see more of the world and sadness over leaving behind all they had known. In a textbook classic change model curve, the family wavered from shock to denial and depression to eventually accepting that they were moving to the Netherlands. So the big day had finally arrived!
Were they excited, yes. Were they nervous, of course. Was the leader of this big change terrified, oh most definitely!
Arriving in a serious rain storm did not bode well. Luckily, the corporate relocation specialist had found a 3-bed home near the center of Den Haag which is a stone’s throw from The Hague. However, the adventure further turned ominous when they opened the door to find loose wires and light fixtures just hanging from the ceiling. Despite this dubious start, the family had reached the acceptance stage so they got to work making this place home.
The first few days of this new adventure quickly became the first few months of struggling to adapt. Even their accomplishment in being bilingual in French created a challenge since they relocated to a country that spoke Dutch.
The apparent cultural difference from their previous country to the Netherlands was affecting the entire family. Unfortunately, their previous style of communication was creating conflict since those in the Netherlands are quite pragmatic in all things. They would rather focus on the practical versus theoretical considerations. This manner of communication style was even affecting the relations at work.
The instigator of this adventure quickly learned that the Dutch ultimately say what is on their mind. However, in negotiations, the new regional manager also learned that sharing a vision created suspicion rather than cooperation. Without a mentor guide, leading the team to success was failing because key factors were affecting cooperation among the team. Missing these key practices was leading toward an overall failure and possible termination.
Key business things learned during the first few months:
- Punctuality is quite critical. As such, business meetings require an agenda and a timekeeper to stay on task because running over was not accepted
- Comments must be presented as suggestion for improvement to avoid sounding superior
- Appointments are highly recommended, not just desired
- When sharing new ideas, always use concrete facts, hard data, and statistics
Granted, this process of learning took stumbling through horrible interactions and a failure in achieving any momentum toward company objectives. Finally, he decided to attend a workshop that focused on developing a career in global leadership. The workshop demonstrated strong leadership skills, business meeting etiquette, appropriate dress, and even explored multicultural environments to help tap into potential. Shockingly, during the workshop, he discovered that his manner of dress was creating a faux paux just by walking into a room! With this newly acquired knowledge, the family was able to make some minor changes that greatly affected their ability to adapt.
Despite the struggles, the family is now 2 years into this great adventure and things are beginning to normalize. Now the family speaks 3 languages, the business sector is finally achieving and even exceeding company objectives, and they have explored several countries beyond the border. Overall, they are counting the move as a success. However, they would happily exchange a soccer game for football. Please contact us if you enjoyed reading this article and would like to learn more.
We support global organizations holistically who want to achieve their goals of working internationally by hiring and developing global talents, leaders and multicultural teams. We offer not only customized, top-quality international talent acquisition strategy, global leadership, teams, cross-cultural and diversity consulting and training programs, but we also provide in-depth coaching from ICF-certified coaches and trainers who speak French, English, Dutch, Spanish and German. Take action and schedule a free strategy session with us today.
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About U Diverse’s founder:
Magali Toussaint is the founder of U Diverse. She is a certified talent acquisition strategist, an ICF-certified leadership and career coach, cross-cultural trainer and job search strategist with an extensive career in recruitment, HR, diversity, and education. She has lived and worked in over four countries and speaks French, English and Dutch.