with any senior management role, there are basic requirements that
managers need for success. Executive roles based in overseas countries
have extra layers of risk to them because expatriates must adapt
themselves to entirely new work environments and lifestyles. The
of failure is therefore higher than assignments within their home
Failed expatriate postings are those that either are forced to end early
or is deemed unsatisfactory by senior management. Failure rates for
such postings are generally accepted to vary between 20% and 50% -- very high
It used to be understood that
expatriate appointments to emerging countries were much higher
risk that those to so-called advanced countries. But that
was because most expatriates used to originate from so-called
developed countries. Today, more expatriates are from
other emerging countries and have a somewhat better track record
of integration in countries more like their own.
Given the high risks and costs involved in expatriate postings, it is foolish not
to reduce risks as much as possible by selecting managers who have
attributes that make their success as likely as possible.
Key Attributes of
People who have outgoing personalities seem to adapt faster than
desk-bound introverts. Extroverts are able to build necessary
relationships with their new staff and key stakeholders quickly and
with more ease. Shyness is not an advantage in a foreign country when
you need to get results through other people in short order.
expatriates with outgoing personalities.
People who are naturally interested in new experiences and
meeting new people often adapt easier in offshore environments
than those who do not. Managers who are comfortable travelling
overseas and have done so regularly are obvious examples, as are
people with a history of participating in activities involving
working closely with others in uncertain situations. Group
sports, community involvement, volunteer work are examples.
expatriates with a history of adventurous behaviour that includes involvement with other people.
People who have experience with ethnic diversity tend to adapt better than those who are
unfamiliar with international cultures. Look for candidates from an ethnically diverse
background. Perhaps their parents were immigrants or they grew-up with
or worked among an ethnically diverse environment.
expatriates who have a background or experience with ethnic diversity.
People who are self-reliant are generally better expatriates than those
who are used to layers of administrative support. Working overseas can
be a lonely and daunting experience. Cut off from established support
networks, as well as family and friends, expatriate managers will need
to be self-supporting to succeed.
expatriates who function well independently.
People who believe strongly that successful international experience is
vital to their long-term career success will be more inspired to make
an overseas posting work. Given that senior management roles today are almost always
international in scope, this should not be a difficult attribute to
uncover. However, there are many people who are not motivated in this
way and such people will have a lower chance of overseas management
expatriates who believe strongly in the value of overseas experience.
In summation, people most suitable for expatriate postings are
outgoing, self-motivated managers with mindsets that are adventurous
and internationally focused.
Organizations with experience sending managers for expatriate
postings abroad soon learn an interesting fact. The most usual
cause of expatriate failure is not the manager but the family
members who accompany him or her.
The family should be involved in the decision process for the expatriate posting from the earliest
stage. The wife (and yes, trailing spouses are still usually females) should have
the same expatriate-friendly
attributes as those described above. Assess the spouse in much the same manner as you assess
the expatriate manager.
The trailing spouse experiences a more intense dose of culture
shock than the expatriate in most cases. Unlike him, she will be completely
cut off from all of her previous life – family, friends, home,
children’s schools, shopping, restaurants. Everything will be
different. The wife will need to be at least as outgoing,
adventurous and independent as the expatriate manager and probably more
Young children are blessedly resilient creatures and acclimatize
themselves well to different cultures. As children age however, they
become less able to adapt.
Teenaged children often have the most difficulty adapting to a foreign
culture. They are already going through the most challenging adaptation
of their lives -- becoming adults. Wrenching them from this already
delicate situation to put them into another country and culture seems a
recipe for turmoil.
Select families with suitable expatriate
attributes for overseas postings.
Given that 40% of employees in advanced countries are female, it seems
reasonable that women should be considered for overseas postings as
often as men. Both groups seem to do well for assignments in so-called
advanced countries but experience has shown that extra care is
needed when considering females for postings in emerging countries. The
nature of the business and lifestyle environments in these countries
are such that women have a lot more going against them than men.
Female expatriates have to be extraordinarily resilient and resourceful
if they are to be successful. Asia is known as a “guy-friendly” region
and in many countries there is still resistance to having women
participate at senior levels in business. As well, the continuing
prevalence of after-hours “entertainment” that is part of business in
Asia makes relationship building more difficult for women
challenge has to do with the nature of personal relationships.
Expatriate women are career-minded professionals who are often married
to like-minded professional men. Such men often struggle to find
suitable work opportunities in emerging countries for various reasons.
The result could be a relationship that suffers severely because of a
despondent trailing male spouse.
Single expatriate women are confronted with a different problem. As is
natural for all people, they generally desire companionship of someone
from the opposite sex. However, men in many emerging countries are
accustomed to women who are more demure and attentive to men than is
common in so-called advanced countries. Attributes such as
assertiveness and self-confidence -- vital to success as a manager --
can seem overwhelming and unappealing to prospective male companions in
emerging countries. The result could be an expatriate who feels lonely
and dejected in her life and less motivated at work.
Women need to be chosen
more carefully than men for expatriate postings in emerging countries.
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CEO Forum presented by PLDT ALPHA Enterprise is the largest
regular business event in Philippines and considered one of the
most important in the Southeast Asia region. The forum serves as a
hub for the spreading of ideas that help executive managers
overseeing enterprises across the Asia Pacific region.
Attendees are both expatriate and Asian management personnel
overseeing multinational and regional organizations. Held in
Philippines, presenters are leaders in their industries and
engaged in momentous pursuits of significance to the entire
CEO Forum is operated as a CSR (Corporate Social
Responsibility) activity of Chalre Associates, one of Southeast
Asia's most prominent senior management executive search firms, to
promote Philippines as a premier business destination in the Asia
Here to go to Asia
CEO Forum now!
CEO Awards presented by Aseana City represents the
grandest alliance of local and international business people ever
created to promote Philippines on the world stage. As one of the
largest events of its kind in the Asia Pacific region, it is
considered a must-attend occasion for business leaders active in
The star-studded Board of Judges of Asia CEO Awards give
away 10 awards to many of the most accomplished leadership teams
and individuals currently operating in Philippines and the region.
The awards recognize extraordinary leaders who have demonstrated
outstanding achievement for their organizations and contributions
As one of the fastest growing nations on the planet, the world's
business leaders have their eyes on Philippines like never before.
The annual gala was established as a natural outgrowth of Asia
CEO Forum, the largest regular networking event for the
business community in Philippines.
to go to Asia
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throughout the world call upon the Principals of Chalre Associates for thought leadership.
Below are some examples of published material written by our
consultants or international journalists who refer to them. For a complete list of published work,
Getting Ready For The
Deluge: Outsourcing in Philippines
Chalre Associates senior staff
Economist Intelligence Unit of the Economist magazine
asked Chalre Associates' Chairman, Richard Mills,
to write a chapter about the Philippine outsourcing sector
in its annual Business Guide Book. The material
provides a Executive Briefing on the progress and major
issues facing this industry that is certainly one of most
significant growth stories in the world.
Asia Pacific Mining
Conference 2007 - Report
Chalre Associates senior staff
The 7th Asia Pacific Mining Conference put on by the Asean
Federation of Mining Associations was perhaps the largest
such event in the region. Richard Mills, Chairman of Chalre Associates
gave this report on what was said by the prominent mining
people who presented.
State of BPO in Philippines: Dan Reyes Speaks
Chalre Associates senior staff
Mills, Chairman of Chalre Associates,
interviewed Dan Reyes of Sitel for ComputerWorld (US) recently to get
his views on the state of the BPO industry in Philippines. Dan
presented US readers with compelling information to support his view
that Philippines is currently seen as the "Number 1" option by global
companies sending BPO work to offshore destinations.
Dan Reyes is easily one of most experienced Business Process
Outsourcing (BPO) managers in the Asia Pacific region and the world. He
is head of the extremely successful Philippine operations of Sitel, the
world's largest call center organization. Among other things, he is a
founder and former president of the Business Processing Association of
the Philippines. more