Global Careers

Are global leaders born or made? You may be surprised…

Are global leaders born or made?

Are global leaders born or made?

Are global leaders born or made?

This is a very common question frequently asked in our workshops. Another common question is — where do I begin to develop myself as a global leader?  How do I identify young talent who have global potential?


I think the answer is both. Global leaders are born with that special gene, have it in them to be global citizens and at the same time, they can further develop themselves to be effective global leaders. Being in the global spotlight starts with a deep curiosity, appreciation and respect for cultures and lifestyles other than your own.


I believe global citizenship is a yearning, a calling and a seed planted in you that needs to grow, be fulfilled and expressed. You know it when you have it. You are naturally curious about what is in store for you out there. You have an adventurous mind & spirit and make traveling to distant places a priority whether in your studies, for leisure, for work and in general, in your life. Traveling to a new country or city is the highlight of your vacation, you do not like to go to the same place every time you take time off. You are comfortable in strange, unusual or vastly different settings and find a way to connect what is new and unfamiliar to something that you can appreciate.


Having this inborn curiosity is not a guarantee that you will be successful global leaders. There are leadership behaviors that you need to acquire to be successful globally. The global behaviors described in the book by Sharkey, Cook, Winning with Transglobal Leadership, 2011 and its accompanying 360 Transglobal Leadership survey are used by global companies to develop global leaders in today’s fast paced & complex global world. I also recommend that you work with an executive coach to identify your strengths and areas of improvement.


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I am a female expat. How can I support my stay at home husband?

As a female expat, how can I support my husband who now has to be a stay-at home dad?

Female expat has a stay at home husband

Female expat has a stay at home husband

This is perhaps the biggest worry of most female expats. While we are confident about the expectations of our role, and our technical ability to do the job, we may be concerned about our spouses’ adjustment in a new environment. Generally, children adjust quickly to a new environment, the structure of the school, new friends and routine activities help children adjust smoothly. In general, female spouses get very busy setting up their new households, meet new people in their children’s schools, groceries and know how to keep themselves occupied.


The female expat’s biggest worry is their spouse. Male spouses suddenly find themselves out of their comfort zone as stay at home dads, now caring for brand new responsibilities like child-care, attending parent teacher meetings and conducting various household duties. Here are some tips for female ex-pats to help your spouse adjust to their new life while you are immersed and focused on your new expat assignment:


  1. Local networks. Finding the STUDS was a life saver for us when we moved to Belgium. STUDS stands for Spouses Trailing Under Duress Successfully, husbands or significant others of female ex-pats from all over the world with common interests. They have a biking group, wine tasting events and my husband quickly joined the golf group. They played golf every morning they could and hang out together for lunch comparing grocery sale prices, dry cleaners, Parent-teacher information and commiserated about local cultural differences. Encourage your spouse to check out local meet ups in your city and find the time to create new friends together.
  2. Hobbies and interests. Aside from golf, my husband became the coach of my daughter’s little league team and with other chaperone mothers, traveled to different cities in Europe to compete. The mothers and kids were pleased that they had a dad with them.
  3. Acknowledge loneliness or homesickness. You are both fish out of water in this new place and the feeling is real, it is normal to feel this way. Plan your next home leave or tour your new environment, the assignment will move so fast that before you know it, it is time to go back home. If your relatives and friends can visit, invite them over.
  4. Time for each other. You or your children may be traveling and this can cause some anxiety for you or your spouse. I’ve accepted that we are a global family and whatever city I was in, I would say to myself, I am home. Home is not a physical place, it is where my heart is. I would take our family picture wherever I went and it is the first thing that I would unpack and place near my bed. My husband and I would call each other daily, no matter where I was. With free video calls, it is possible to feel connected and make time for each other even when you miles apart.


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Can a global leader fail after moving to another country?

How can my top global leader fail after moving him?

Can a global leader fail after moving to another country?

Can a global leader fail after moving to another country?

I have an executive who was very successful in Europe. We promoted him to the United States to head a larger group.   After two years, he has been unable to replicate his success in Europe. He has alienated his team and has not achieved expectations. He also has the lowest employee engagement scores. How has this happened and can an executive coach help him?


It appears that his success formula in Europe no longer works. It needs to be updated. This is not surprising. A new expat leader needs to build a new success strategy in a new environment. Definitely, an executive coach can help him.


Before you contract with an executive coach, it is important to find out the willingness of the executive to work with a coach. Establish a clear contracting agreement with your executive on the value of an executive coach. Honestly point out what is at stake, identify the problem that needs to be solved, and document the expected outcomes. Document the consequences if this problem is not resolved. Once this is clarified, the accountability lies on the executive being coached. He or she needs to take full responsibility to contract with the executive coach. He needs to set the goals of the engagement, set the expectations and work on improving behaviors that will make him more effective.


I establish trusting working relationships with my clients where we can be totally open and honest with each other both ways. We identify the specific areas that need development and create a 100 day strategic plan to accomplish our objectives. Depending on the specific need, I may recommend an assessment, interview key stakeholders, observe the executive at work or facilitate a leadership session with the executive’s direct reports. Each executive coaching engagement is unique and customized to meet the expected outcomes.


Most often the success formula in one’s own home country does not work automatically in another region. This happens unless it is purposefully redesigned to adapt to the new environment, culture and expectations of the new team.  This is where most leaders make the mistake and fail.  They naively think that their local leadership style is transferable.  In this particular case, the European leader had an authoritarian style that made him successful in his local market.  The US team did not appreciate being told what to do, did not feel that he was communicating with them and was paralyzed when he started firing a couple of leaders who have been with the company for a long time.  They lived in fear that they would be next, thus results are down, attrition is up and employee engagement reached an all time low.


We had our work cut out for us.  We first had to establish a high level of trust before we could begin to work on our tough issues.  This took a long time because he was in total denial that his success formula no longer worked.  Once we got past that, we did a 360 assessment so he could identify what areas in his own leadership worked against him.  There has been some incremental progress. Results were starting to improve and he is starting to get more relaxed.   Unfortunately, these kinds of changes do not happen overnight.  This leader has his work cut out for him and it will take several executive coaching sessions to see more visible results.


Going forward, it would be better to hire an executive coach at the very beginning of the expat assignment.  This way the level of awareness and change can happen during the first months in a new country.


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How do I identify a local leader who can become a global leader?

How can I identify local leaders who can become global leaders and lead my overseas operations?

Can I find local leaders who can become global leaders?

Can I find local leaders who can become global leaders?

In order to expand globally, I feel we have to hire staff native to the market we choose. How can I get my local office up and running and staff it with the right people. How can I identify local talent who can be a global leader?


Liza Sichon says:  Your instincts are right, the key to building a strong local presence is to hire a top local leader who has the qualities to attract and retain local talent while at the same time can serve as a global leader, liaison and interpreter back to headquarters.


It might be necessary at first to send one of your own trained staff to transfer technical knowledge or set up systems and processes that would link to your home office.


However, you will want to quickly identify someone local who can communicate effectively, a self-starter, respected in his local community and has the qualities of a Transglobal leader. Not all local leaders can transition to global leaders. The Transglobal Leadership Survey can help determine the local leader’s strengths and development plan to be a global leader. To learn more about Transglobal leadership, contact me at liza at

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Do I have global leaders? How to tell if they are already on staff.

How can I tell if I have global leaders already on staff?

Do I have global leaders?

Do I have global leaders?

My Board wants me to expand into Asia next year. I do not know if I have the right people to make the expansion work. How can I tell if my people can be global leaders?  Where do I begin?

This is a common problem most leaders face as they expand globally. Do you have the global leaders needed to grow your business overseas? Are you planning to send people on expat assignments? They are costly but have long term advantages. Do you plan to send someone on a short term assignment that would last around 6-12 months with frequent trips back home?

Your global leader selection process involves interviews, 360 assessments and executive coaching for the duration of the assignment. Unless you have the right combination of talent, skills and interest in a global assignment in your current staff, it is safe to assume that you do not have global leaders ready. With the right development however, your people can be developed into global leaders.

1. In-depth Interview. Some of they key questions you need to ask during the interview relate not only to their technical knowledge but also to their personal and professional leadership skills. Once you are convinced about their technical ability and leadership experience, you need to probe deeper.  Find out their personal willingness. Find out their family’s willingness to move and adapt to a new environment, especially a culture that may be considered very different from their current one. Are they willing to pay the price and endure the sacrifice to be a global leader? Yes, working abroad is not fancy and glamorous. It entails a lot of sacrifice and difficulties. Find out if they have been in situations where they were totally out of their comfort zone. How did they handle the situation. What was the result? Ask what would they do differently if they had to do it all over again. Global leaders are not easily intimidated when they are out of their comfort zone.

2. Assessment. An assessment will provide you and the candidate an objective measurement to assess their readiness to be a global leader. The assessment that I like to use is the Transglobal Leadership Survey. It is a proven and reliable 360 assessment based on the research conducted by Sharkey and Cooke on top global leaders, who created positive constructive cultures that resulted in successful business results.  The candidate completes a self-assessment. They ask their bosses, peers and direct reports to assess their global leader readiness. Based on the results of the survey, you can identify which candidate will be a successful global leader.   Be aware that there is no perfect global leader who will score high on all the Transglobal leadership behaviors. The survey’s value is to point out their strengths and areas to develop.

3. The third suggestion is to hire an executive coach for your top global leader candidate. Get a coach with prior global experience and expertise in transitioning local leaders into becoming a global leader. The coach is a trusted adviser who will help the candidate navigate through complex and sometimes confusing cultural landscapes and nuances of working and living outside your home country.

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Looking to develop your global talent and succession plans?

10775418-global-business-people-handshake-to-agree-in-international-economy-pactIs your HR staff equipped to expand your global business? Are you looking to advance your global HR career, accelerate your thinking and network with a select peer group? Join us at The Conference Board’s 20th Leadership Development Conference on June 3-5 in San Diego, CA.

At the June 3 seminar on Succession Management, I will speak on identifying, assessing and developing your global talent pipeline.

  • You will learn where to begin to develop your company’s global succession plans.
  • Take the global assessment and learn areas you need to develop to make you a more effective global leader.
  • Network and learn from other practitioners in your field.

The Succession Management Seminar has been an important element of the Leadership Development Conferences since 2005 and attracts senior practitioners who are looking for both thought leadership and best practices/tools/implementation ideas from leading companies. The audience is always deeply engaged in the topic and enjoys the chance to interact closely with peers and with speakers.

For the Agenda and to register, see Global Leaders





5 Interview Questions for Global Assignments

jon interview1How do you select the right leaders for global roles?  Local success does not necessarily guarantee global success. What are the red flags that could potentially lead to a global misfit?  Selecting talent who will eventually succeed in global roles is a major responsibility and can be daunting for the inexperienced global talent manager.

Here are 5 sample interview questions that could give you a broad and deep perspective of your global candidate, regardless of host country.

1. What was your most difficult or complicated problem or situation that you have handled? How did you handle it and what was the result?  This question can reveal insights to a person’s ability to handle ambiguity, complexity, surprises and differences. Effective leaders are not threatened or paralyzed by new or complex situations.  In fact, they are energized and challenged when the unexpected occurs.


2. How do you select members of your team? What do you look for and how what do you avoid?  This question leads to the leader’s ability to promote the success of their team, both with each other and with their local and cross cultural team members. Look for exceptional listening skills and openness to ideas other than their own.


3. Tell me about an incident where you had to adjust a global policy to an organizational procedure that was in conflict with local practices.   How did you handle it?  This refers to a leader’s ability to understand perspectives other than one’s own or integrate multiple viewpoints to creatively arrive at a win win solution.


4. How do you reward the members of your team?   Probe for customization vs one size fits all rewards and recognition.  A successful global leader seeks multiple points of views, anticipates differences and act in consideration to others needs.


5. How have you prepared your successor?  Successful global leaders are personally engaged in developing their people through multiple approaches.


Interested in learning more about how to successfully select, plan for and develop global talent?  Join us at the 20th Annual Leadership Development Conference of the Conference Board on June 3-5 in San Diego, CA.  For the Agenda, see Global Leaders . To register, visit the sign up page.

Assessing, Developing and Retaining Effective Global Leaders presentation to The Conference Board

May 30, 2014 San Diego, California. Executive HR Coach, LLC, is pleased to announce Managing Director, Liza Sichon will be presenting Assessing, Developing and Retaining Effective Global Leaders at the Conference Board’s Leadership Development Conference in San Diego on June 3, 2014. The presentation will benefit those who need to develop succession plans at their corporations. After attending Liza Sichon’s presentation, attendees will know:

  • How to identify, assess and develop your talent pipeline.
  • How to implement a succession plan that aligns with your organization’s growth strategy.
  • How other companies have wrestled with and implemented succession plans.

The Conference Board works within and across three main subject areas – Corporate Leadership; Economy & Business Environment; and Human Capital – to create a unique, enterprise-wide perspective that helps business leaders respond today, anticipate tomorrow, and make the right strategic decisions every day.

The Conference Board provides:

  • Objective, world-renowned economic data and analyses that help business and policy leaders make sense of their operating environments.
  • In-depth research and best practices concerning management, leadership, and corporate citizenship.
  • Public and private forums in which executives learn with and from their peers.
Liza Sichon to speak on developing effective global leaders

Liza Sichon to speak on assessing, developing and retaining effective global leaders June 3

The Conference Board’s Leadership Development Conference is occurring June 3-5, 2014 at the Coronado Island Marriott, San Diego. Interested parties can call (212) 339-0345 or visit Conference Board.

Liza Sichon is the Managing Director of Executive HR Coach, LLC, a Silicon-valley based human resource and career consultancy will speak on retaining effective global leaders. Liza is an experienced executive coach, notable speaker, and global HR consultant with over twenty years of corporate experience working for large, multi-national firms. Originally from the Philippines, and now based in Silicon Valley, California, Liza held global HR positions across the Americas, EMEA, Asia Pacific and Latin America.

Most recently, Liza served as the Vice President HR Transformation, Communications and Operations for Hewlett Packard’s global HR function, serving 2,400 HR professionals. Prior to this, Liza worked for Avaya as the Vice President HR International & Mergers and Acquisitions for various profit centers in Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. In this role, she was responsible for HR strategy and global operations for over 30 countries outside the US. Liza also held HR leadership roles at Corning Life Sciences in New Jersey, Citibank in New York, and Anscor Corporation in the Philippines.

Liza is known for her broad business orientation and deep working knowledge of global leadership. She has extensive coaching experience and is an expert on talent management and career navigation. Additionally, her career included extensive speaking engagements to diverse global audiences as well as notable universities such as the Harvard MBA Women’s Conference. She is a sought after motivational speaker sharing her insights in the areas of career success for women, the benefits of executive coaching, HR transformation, and developing global talent. Executive HR Coach can be reached at (408) 217-9074 and

Is your HR Staff equipped to build a succession plan?



Join us at The Conference Board’s 20th Annual Leadership Development Conference and Succession Management Seminar

I am delighted to speak on Assessing and Developing Global Talent at the Succession Management Seminar on June 3 in San Diego, CA.

The seminar  includes:

  • A personal assessment of your current global capability using the Transglobal Leadership Assessment;
  • Tools and techniques to move your organization’s succession management capability

For the Agenda, see Global Leaders . To register, visit the sign up page.

What does it take to be a global leader?


What does it take to be a global leader?

Tasked with identifying and developing talent for global assignments?

Have you recently been assigned to lead a global team?

Is your company in the midst of a global expansion?

  A couple of months ago, I was asked to coach a senior global leader, on an expat assignment in the US who was very successful in his country but could not replicate his success here in the US. Having a global assignment and being successful in your country does not guarantee success in a global role.   Join us at 20th Annual The Leadership Conference of The Conference Board, on June 3-5 in San Diego, CA.  The pre conference on Succession Planning will help you  to deepen your own global acumen, learn the key leadership behaviors of successful global leaders and walk away with succession planning tools. 1. Uncertainty Resilience – someone who comfortably adjusts to changes and complexities. 2. Team Connectivity – someone who integrates and connects ideas and people across boundaries. 3. Flexibility – ability to adjust their style in a practical way considering local and global norms. 4. Responsiveness – use customize and appropriate ways to address, motivate, inspire others 5. Talent Orientation – personally involved in the customized development of their own people. It is no surprise that building teams and connecting people while taking into consideration the uncertain and constantly changing global environment are critical leadership qualities of a successful global leader. Find out how prepared you are to take on a global assignment or lead others to succeed in global roles.

For the Agenda, see Global Leaders . To register, visit the sign up page.

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Why Hire a coach?

Top Reasons Coaches are Engaged:

(HBR Jan 2009)

    • Develop high potentials or facilitate transition: 48%
    • Act as a sounding board: 26%
    • Address derailing behavior: 12%