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Get Outta' Town! Why Good PMs Should Buy the Ticket, and Take the Ride

by Kristin Bent

May 25, 2010

My blog post last week started to explore the unique challenges faced by project managers heading global initiatives. In addition to the usual suspects like defining scope, aligning resources, and coming in under budget, project leads at the global level are fraught with cultural, linguistic and legal challenges. These global challenges, on top of it all, are country-specific. So, even if your SAP ERP end-user training went flawlessly in Tokyo, an identical strategy could fail in Dubai, based on cultural practices alone.

Turns out, however, that there could be a serious silver lining to global project management. Maybe overseeing projects on a global scale allows PMs to glean insights they may never have had the chance to on a local level. According to David L. Pells, managing editor of PM World Today, traveling abroad, in general, can open up the eyes and fine-tune the leadership skills of all project managers.

In his article, "Take a Trip! The Value of International Travel for Project Management Professions," Pells lists 6 catalysts for personal growth resulting from international travel. More importantly, he continues on to list 6 specific benefits project managers can realize, including an increased awareness of global issues (to build a more sound risk management strategy), a greater understanding of global supply chains, and, of course, improved communication skills.

Maybe it&rsqu o;s because Pells’ editorial, full of highlights from recent trips to Brazil and Istanbul, strikes the travel bug chord within me. Or, maybe it’s just because what he says makes sense: traveling (or managing a project globally) presents a set of challenges. In the end, though, we walk away with new, otherwise unattainable experiences. We become smarter travelers, better communicators, and, ultimately, stronger team leads. After all, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?

I suggest taking a look at Pells’ article. If nothing else, it may finally convince you to splurge on that ticket to Sao Paulo you’ve been eyeing :)

Until next time!

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