What does success look like? A flashy new car, nice home in a prominent neighborhood, your grown kids graduating college or even your little kids saying “thank you” without your prompt? Success in these terms make sense to us, but what about success in the context of a global relocation? What looks like success to me may not to you, but nonetheless, when we invest heavily in a relocation experience we have expectations and it is in the realization of these expectations that we find personal success. No matter if we are relocating our family for a global business assignment or taking the leap to study abroad, our success hinges on our expectations. If our expectations are met, we consider ourselves successful. If they are not, we feel like a failure. But this is an unhealthy way to calculate success in a host culture. 

If the research is correct, which I can safely assume it to be, approximately 64% of all expats struggle, even to the point of cross-cultural assignment failure. That means that two out of every three global businesspeople, international students, and missionaries are struggling to the point of throwing up their hands and going home. That statistic is disheartening enough, but becomes downright heartbreaking when we realize the implications of this number. Global businesses lose profitability, international students return home scarred and with a sense of inadequacy while host universities suffer student attrition, and missionaries leave desperate people groups without hope. 

Expat Success Reaches Far Beyond the Perception of Individual Likelihood

For decades now, Intercultural Communication scholars have been diving into in-depth studies to uncover the factors that lead to cross-cultural success. We call these factors Intercultural Communication Competencies, and these amazing scholars have developed a strong kind of “what it takes” list for potential expats. The problem is that this list is where the progress typically stops. Not because they don’t care about fruition, but because this is the way we are wired to operate as scholars, that we have these “ah-ha” moments, write about it, and then move on to further discovery. Not until 2005, when Professor Carley H. Dodd, one of the leading Intercultural Communication scholars, developed what was first called the Intercultural Readiness Assessment. After more than a decade of implementing, testing, and honing this assessment, we are now able to pinpoint potential expat issues prior to departure so that we can work with individuals to bring about strong expat ROI. Known now as Go Culture International, we have taken that next step, moving beyond pure discovery of intercultural competencies to proven, research-based assessment and individualized coaching for potential expats. In other words, we compiled the big data into a usable format that can help you predict potential expat issues and target these issues with tried and true online coaching.

Over the next weeks, I want to provide a glimpse into the 15 intercultural competence factors we consider as a part of the Go Culture International program. If you not currently using an assessment and coaching program for expats, you are losing out on an opportunity to make a small investment with potentially huge returns as your expats stay in the field longer and see true success.

For more information or to speak with one of our Global Ambassadors about how you can utilize Go Culture International, please click here.