Global View

June 29th, 2013

Over the past two weeks, I completed 40+ interviews about four senior executives at an energy firm with their CEO, peers and direct reports. Two things struck me while working through each person’s list:

1) Some people are better at giving feedback than others. Whether this is lack of experience or simply a hesitancy to provide comments about someone they work with, having interviewed more than 700 people for these reports over the past six years, it’s clear many folks struggle to constructively praise and provide guidance to others.

2) Energy firms truly are global organizations with international workforces. I spoke to people based in Houston who are English, Irish, Scottish, Dutch, Indian, Mexican and Polish. They called me from as faraway as Singapore and Nigeria.

Thomas L. Friedman nailed it in “The World is Flat.” Each day we move closer together – and not just in the energy industry. It’s true in many areas where future jobs will be: technology, medicine and automobiles, for instance.

So, if you want to be relevant in 2025 – that means everyone currently under age 50 – it would be good advice to study other cultures and languages. That person sitting next to you most likely won’t have grown up in a neighborhood like yours.

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