I recently had the opportunity to travel to Brussels for a business presentation. Upon my arrival, I was awestruck by Brussels and its beauty. That is not the only thing I noticed in this great city. After my meeting there, I realized that our clients, regardless of industry or location, are looking for many of the same things.
Brussels truly intrigued me; you get the sense of old Europe – cobblestone streets, outdoor cafes, European architecture lining street after street, narrow alleyways and, of course, La Grand-Place which delivers a “wow!” and an immediate respect for the history of the city. As a child of the Cold War, I couldn’t help but think that it was a perfect setting for a Jason Bourne movie. There could very well be a clandestine operation taking place right around the corner from NATO (although the first movie starts off in Russia and there are no scenes in Brussels, one is allowed to imagine). As I looked across the way, however, there was the European Commission, the unofficial headquarters of the EU and a sign of the new Europe, and I was brought back to reality and out of my starring role in a spy flick.
The new Europe is reflective of our new world and all the changes taking place around us every day. While our cultures are starting to blend thanks to technology and economic dependencies, what was apparent from my meeting with HR professionals from the entire region was that business expectations are more alike than they are diverse. Regardless of the country, place of origin, or the organizations they work for, there are fundamental elements that we all seek: high-quality service, on-demand reporting, accurate and timely billing, and the ability to have products delivered with the same quality any time, anywhere in the world.
As I flew home, I reflected on the common elements that clients seek, and I thought about how, as a global account lead, I could value cultural differences in business practice while focusing on those shared needs to drive business success for our clients. I realize that I will not be cast anytime soon in the new Jason Bourne movie, which will be due out sometime in 2012, but I will have plenty of time to provide trusted guidance, sharing experiences to help create solutions for our clients and their transferring employees.