by Rajeev Peshawaria  Article

Leading Across Borders? Don’t Change a Thing

“Upon relocating to New York in early 1998, I asked a mentor who had made a similar move many years earlier for advice.

“The most important thing is to remember that you don’t live in India anymore,” he said. “How you managed people there will not work here. The quicker you figure out the differences, the better.”

I heard the same thing from many others during my first few months in New York — and over the next 13 years, as I relocated several times between the U.S., Europe and Asia. These people were no doubt well-intentioned. But experience has taught me that their warnings were totally misguided.

The assumption that people are motivated differently around the world — especially in Asia — and that leaders must adapt their behavior accordingly is wrong. Having led and managed people in eight countries across three continents, I have found the exact opposite to be true. Regardless of geographic location or culture, what drives people to the highest level of engagement is innately human and universal. Thus, great leadership looks the same wherever you are. …

I’d like to point you to two well-known case studies — one from Asia, one from America.”


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