This column is part of Globe Careers' Leadership Lab series, where executives and leadership experts share their views and advice about the leadership and management issues of today. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab.
I recently moved from Frankfurt to Montreal for a new role with the organization I have worked for since 2011, CSA Group. It was a significant move and not without its drawbacks. But I haven't regretted it for a second.
For me, the hardest part of leaving the city I had called home for many years was the impact on my family. Deciding to move meant we'd leave relatives, friends, colleagues and classmates behind. My husband and children are open to new challenges and curious about new cultures, as I am, but it still wasn't an easy decision. We spent a significant amount of time preparing to make sure our family could adapt easily: choosing a home with a good school nearby, arranging for activities and sports, and getting to know the culture of our new country.
That part was certainly complicated but, professionally, I knew that seizing the opportunity to move from Europe to Canada was the right decision. After all, I am a global citizen: born in France with Italian origins, I lived in Germany for 12 years and travelled professionally around the world, working with many different cultures and global teams. Here are just a few of the advantages of moving for your career:
The opportunity to see your organization in a fresh light.
No matter how long you've been with a company, a move offers a fresh start and a new perspective on the organization you work for. CSA Group is a global company, but each market that it operates in has its own set of challenges and opportunities. My move to Canada has allowed me to more fully appreciate and understand North American business realities, while reminding me of what a diverse organization we are. The exchange of views, discussions, and quality of decision making is richer, smarter and better when organizations can collaborate across borders, and my move to Canada has done much to remind me of this.
The ability to make a real difference in your work.
When you arrive from another country, you bring a different set of experiences and people look to you for fresh ideas. You can offer new ways of thinking and of doing things that, when combined with the current strengths of the team, can help drive greater success within the organization. For example, having led the development of our operations in Europe helps me understand and support colleagues who are leading development in other parts of the world, and my experience in highly competitive environments gives me insights that I can apply in my new role here in Canada. A move is a great opportunity to share best practices, common challenges and similar experiences, which can go a long way toward making a difference for the client, the team or the organization as a whole.
The chance to test your collaboration and teamwork skills.
A major international move often means focusing on your listening skills and leaning on others to determine how things work and how you fit in. Never pretend you know it all. I learn every day from my team and our employees, our clients, the people I meet, places I visit, and articles I read. Always keep an open mind and take the opportunity to soak in the culture – both personally and professionally – and ways of doing business in your new location to round out your skills.
For me, moving to a new place for my career has been a rich experience – and it's not just because of how much I enjoy living in Montreal ( I must say the food here is amazing!). Relocating means being open to uncertainty and some disruption in your life, but if you have an opportunity and you are curious about what a move might mean for you, I'd recommend taking the chance.
Magali Depras is the chief operating officer of CSA Group (@CSA_Group), an independent, not-for-profit member-based association that is a standards development, testing and certification organization.