With the rampant global expansion in almost every sector, most organisations big and small have offices spread across different cities around the world. The locations they choose are dependent on several factors such as favourable government policies, regulations, talent, presence or ease of doing business among many others.
Especially in India there are many such offices and one of the big reasons for it is the availability of brilliant talent at a reasonable cost (now not as cost friendly as before). I have the privilege of coaching a lot of executives both internationally and nationally from such organisations.
A common issue that comes up while coaching employees from multinational companies is their frustration due to a lack of visibility they face from sitting far away from the mothership. The drawbacks according to them are not enough face time with the senior executive leadership team which is usually based out of the headquarters.
The more ambitious go-getters want to network with the seniors to get ahead in their career path. Many critical strategic decisions are driven by the head office. It is natural to want to be in a position to be part of those. It is not possible to have frequent casual water cooler conversations which may lead to meaningful or impactful interactions with the senior management. Whenever a new exciting project is budgeted or approved, the teams at the main office get to hear of it first and can make a play for it. All of these can seem to be significant deterrents in moving to the next level of your careers. The fact is that if you continue to focus on these as issues, it will be a hurdle. Concentrating on a problem will keep you mired in the challenge. You have to focus on the solution to move forward.
First, it is essential to recognise and accept that there are many advantages to being far away from mission control. One reason could be that you are living in a city you want to be in. Maybe it's your home, you have lots of family and friends here. Another point to consider is that sometimes it’s nice to be a little away from the gaze of your bosses’ boss or even your boss for that matter. Life is interesting, and the change is welcome when you to get to travel once in a while to the headquarters. Acceptance of all the good things about being in the remote site is a crucial first step in feeling less frustrated.
Next, I ask clients to get clarity on what is it that they really want to achieve when they feel they are handicapped by being away from the nerve centre. It is essential to understand the intrinsic need. It is not always easy to arrive at that need on your own. You do need the help of a coach to get there. Are you looking for more learning? Connection perhaps? A promotion? A change in your responsibilities? A different cohort of team members? Whatever be the requirement it is vital to consider the opportunities for accessing those from your current location.
There are always many choices available to us, however, if we get stuck on certain negative aspects of any situation, we are unable to see the options available to us. One of my clients was very unhappy about being in Singapore and not being part of the European headquarters. It turned out what she was looking for was ways to challenge and stretch herself. During our sessions she realised that she could start taking on a few responsibilities from another area in Singapore itself. This insight and awareness brought her restlessness down significantly and set her on the track to pursue what she truly desired.
Once you get out of the victim mindset, you can then start leveraging your position away from the main office. Think of how you can add value because you are at the remote site. What might be some smart, innovative ways to pop in the radar of the senior management in spite of being away? How can you add value to the organisation at large irrespective of your location or because of it?
It is imperative to recognise that using your location as being the reason behind not moving to the next level in your career is not a befitting growth mindset. It will serve you well to get out of it quickly. Set your personal vision and you will realise that once you start becoming clear on it you will start noticing and finding many opportunities right where you are at. Use your frustration to get a deeper understanding of yourself and your vision.
Views are personal.
The author is the founder and CEO of Talent Power Partners a global Leadership Development company based in Bangalore. She is a Leadership Development Specialist, an ICF Certified Executive Coach [PCC] and author of the book - Team Decision Making.