CEB: Leaders don’t need to live in foreign markets to thrive
There is no substance to the long-held view that effective business leaders need to live in the markets they manage.
That was the view of member based advisory firm CEB, which drew upon data from 12,000 senior leaders in its recent global leadership survey.
The research found that leaders who regularly visit their markets are just as likely to be successful as those who live in the market permanently. Furthermore, leaders need only spend 30 per cent of their time in a foreign market to have the same chance as those permanent ex-pats of exceeding their goals.
The findings, which form the basis of CEB's Q3 Executive Guidance, revealed those in leadership positions interact with three times more people than their non-global peers. In addition, they are 30 per cent less likely to have the market information they require while they also have double the number of management objectives.
CEB also found companies which insist on sending global leaders to live as ex-pats are denying themselves access to the best global leadership talent. More than 80 per cent of professionals in leadership positions stated that family concerns would limit their desire to move. Of those who qualified as great leaders in their non-global positions, only 35 per cent stated they aspired to take on a global leadership role.
Brian Kropp, managing director of CEB said: "By insisting global leaders leave their current base, companies are unnecessarily narrowing down the pool of talent from which they can draw. Requiring leaders to become permanent ex-pats is damaging companies' ability to succeed in new markets."
"Companies who want to ensure they have a strong supply of talent which can be used in global leadership roles need to identify rising leaders early and teach them how to lead through influence rather than direct management.
"Leading by influencing - with the assistance of responsive regional teams - rather than directing everything personally is the key to becoming successful in a global role. This means permanent ex-pats have no advantage over leaders who are itinerant."