- How can we help people and companies thrive together through global job moves? [Wendy Kendall 6:10]
- virtual international assignments [Wendy Kendall 21:17]
- virtual international working [Wendy Kendall 21:17]
- climate change [Wendy Kendall 21:17]
- ecological challenges [Wendy Kendall 21:17]
- cross cultural coaching [Wendy Kendall 22:08 and 22:16]
- internal family systems therapy [Wendy Kendall 22:34]
- Building high performing leaders through global job moves
- Amazing Conversations [Wendy Kendall 23:47]
- supporting the psychological well-being and performance of people with global careers [Wendy Kendall 25:38]
Welcome to Life & Leadership: A Conscious Journey with host Michelle St Jane. This episode’s guest is Wendy Kendall. She is all about empowering global talent developing healthier mindsets, and relationships. Wendy is about building high performing leaders through global job moves. She has been a blessing on my journey. I've had four distinct careers and many geographical transfers. I appreciate people like Wendy Kendall, who do global talent, mobility and executive coaching.
Global Talent Builder Program
Works through a series of six stages. [Wendy Kendall 71049]
Wendy Kendall is a psychologist, author and founder of the behavioural science consultancy Globally Talented, which helps international companies to Strengthen the Psychological Health and Performance in their Leaders Deployed Abroad. Wendy recently completed my training in Internal Family Systems therapy and coaching, which focuses on working with our internal multiple selves.
About the Show
A weekly Podcast (Thursdays) for Global Leadership and re-emerging leadership.
Overarching theme: Creating community/tribe, a circle of influence, transcendency of compassionate leadership in the world and wider universe.
The Podcast Vision
Michelle St Jane 0:01
Welcome to the podcast Life and Leadership: A conscious journey. My name is Michelle St. Jane, I'm your host. This episode’s guest is Wendy Kendall. She is all about empowering global talent developing healthier mindsets, and relationships.
Wendy has been a blessing on my journey. I've had four distinct careers and many geographical transfers. I appreciate people like Wendy Kendall, who do global talent, mobility and executive coaching.
Let me explain. Wendy did an assessment for me in 2015. That helped me course correct my inner compass.
Professionally, I started out brokering to the fortune 500, placing risks for directors and officers and Property and Casualty. Then I argued my way into law school. Literally in four hours with three weeks to get to the other side of the world. After my law degree, which was a good choice for me, because my strengths are mostly prison and comparative law and cross jurisdiction projects. So I thrive in global business.
That is until the turn of the century. Then I experienced that being very successful, and dissatisfied. There'll be an episode coming up on this.
But for me, the next best step was not upward mobility. But to start a move from the corporate world to the fourth sector. So I started a social enterprise law firm in 2003. The leadership transition, I'm proud to say, has moved to the next generation of legal eagles, who are all about access to justice, it's been an amazing experience.
2020 created challenges, but within them were pools of opportunities. This September, I've transitioned to being a podcast host. Why? Because I wish to create innovative content and be a unique destination for learning about leadership, conscious stewardship and legacy. Okay, so Wendy's influence came around stratospheric thinking for me when she did an assessment. And I did this U turn on finalizing my doctorate in 2015. Basically I did a restart on the last slip, the blessing was that my research could offer more of a rich contribution to the world's knowledge base. Wendy, and I'll touch on this a bit further along in the in the episode.
Wendy Kendall, a glorious combination of expertise, woven into global talent mobility, executive coaching, mentoring, training and psychology. Wendy's purpose in life is to help people to be free to be their most alive and authentic selves. I like the fact that she's all about trust, impact and expansion. And Wendy's journey has been interesting. She started off as a military psychologist and moved to global talent. So Wendy, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, please?
Wendy Kendall 3:14
Thanks very much. That was a that was like a really illustrious introduction there. Michelle. I'm really grateful for that. A little bit about myself. Gosh, where to start? And yeah, I mean, I'm a psychologist by profession, as you've mentioned, a few times. Indeed, first seven years of that career, we're working for the British Armed Forces. And really helping people in those very high demanding jobs to cope with highly disruptive transitions. And, working for the military, when you're, I consider myself a humanist as well. It really taught me something important, that we have such responsibility as democratic countries. We really all of us have a responsibility to think about how valuable the lives of our armed forces are. The last thing I would ever want is for any country to go to war. But the last thing I would want is for people within those armed forces to be sent to war in a way that was unprepared and more likely to get them killed. It was an interesting organization to work with. And, it really kind of challenged my thinking in a lot of ways. Nevertheless, after seven years, there wasn't much career development left for me within that organization.
We took the opportunity as a family to move overseas. I jumped into being an entrepreneur, setting up my own business in all of the naivety and I just said to myself, “well, how hard can it be?” I got on with it. I made all the mistakes.
Nevertheless, it was a voyage of discovery. Somehow, through a series of kind of coincidences and serendipity, I ended up working with some these big international companies who were sending people around the world.
I got really fascinated about how moving people around the world is one of the few things that companies do that asks people to completely fracture their personal and professional life. I think, is where some of the parallels started to happen with the military, you know, the military put that kind of demand on people, and so do these big sort of these global careers in these big companies.
I also believe that global companies should be a force for good, and I think you and I have had some conversations around that. I'm interested in how we can position people and how to support people so that they are the best they can be in order to do the best that they can, within those companies. So yeah, that's, that's where I'm up to.
I run a consultancy that we talk about, global job moves that build people and don't break them. Because a little bit of the tendency has been to put people in at the deep end. And this idea that, I don't know that anyone ever articulates it like this, but it's a little bit like, well, the really good ones will shine and come to the surface. And maybe the ones who drown weren't so good. After all, that seems very wasteful in terms of human talent and capability to me. My argument is, let's not, let's not try and drown people doing jobs. Let's give them the support they need to do this.
Michelle St Jane 6:51
Oh, that's fabulous. How do you go about giving them the support? Or the tools? What are the programs and assessments that you like to use? Wendy?
Wendy Kendall 6:59
Yeah, so I did about 10 years of research. I ran some kind of research studies and reporting my findings and conferences. What I looked at first of all was, and, you know, really, what's the research question we were trying to figure out? The research question is:
How can we help people and companies thrive together through global job moves?
Once we had that research question in place, I realized what we were developing was a generative model of global transitions. In other words, it's a it's a model that promotes flourishing, and it's a model that promotes growth and value creation rather than value extraction.
So what does that look like, on the ground? We work through a series of six stages. I represent them as six concentric circles. As they all relate to one another.
That starts with, and the centerpiece is really building people's resilience. Now, resilience itself covers so many different aspects. But essentially, it's around psychological and emotional flexibility. This is one of the things that seems to happen in order for people to become very successful. It almost becomes a bit of a paradox of leadership to become successful, because they become really good at doing things in a particular way, typically, and from at a human level, what can happen is that those leaders become quite fixed in how they do things. I speak with them about becoming a bit more flexible in their style. Because when you move overseas, and you're out of your comfort zone, encountering a range of situations, then that flexibility is what offers you some of the resilience. The most common reactions are:
“well, if I don't do it that way, I won't be me anymore.”
“Who am I going to be if I can't be that?”
That, in itself is an existential threat. Like that's something speaking from inside about a perceived threat to themselves. And so that's Something that we end up working through. What does it mean? If I change my way of being in this world in order to cope with something that's radically different, and, you know, helping them to feel confident that they will still exist as a person if they do that.
Then we start to look at what are the range of strengths and capabilities that they have. What I usually find is, again, because of this inflexibility, people typically rely on two or three major strengths that they have. And it's a little bit like the muscles that you use most at the gym. What we want is for more integrated body has a leader and broader series of capabilities and strengths.
We look at:
What are all the other strengths that you have?
How could you use those strengths?
Then we start to build out that flexibility. That's flexibility in how they use their strengths. So that's very much at the individual level.
Then we start looking at the interpersonal.
What is the unique value they're proposing to create in this role?
How can they reestablish their reputation?
How can they become reconnected and reestablish within that new community?
The final phase is moving from creating value locally in their job, to stepping back into the bigger picture and saying, Well, how would you transform that into something of more global value for the rest of the company for, other people outside of the company maybe.
And that's how it becomes more of a generative model all the way from the individual right up to the big kind of geo system? That was a very in depth description there.
Michelle St Jane 11:11
Thanks, Wendy. Do you also do assessments like, I hit one, I'll speak to the one I did with you. I did the Hogan lead assessment with you. And there was a great evaluation of some of my high-risk areas. And I was a bit shocked to see I had some in the high 90s and 100. For example, the profile showed me as being a stratospheric thinker. Yes, I am out there. For example, I scored 100% on being imaginative, yes, thinking and acting and eccentric ways.
Wendy Kendall 11:51
I mean, they're so interesting, those assets. We do use the Hogan still at the early stages. It's not the only tool out there. But it is one of those tools that can speak to strengths, it speaks to values. And it also speaks to this idea of overuse strengths that can become derailleurs in certain situations. Imaginative at 100 Would be doing that the whole time, but that would be the risk, and that you would go on a flight of fancy and leave the Earthlings behind.
Michelle St Jane 12:26
Well, believe it or not, I translated it into a doctorate, which is definitely a little bit ahead of its time. I'm usually a futuristic. Usually three to five years ahead. But for me, and I'm just going to touch on the ones that were high risk, I was able to extract the value. I love to knowing this. I actually appreciate constructive criticism. Though skepticism for me was 87%, which means socially insightful, but overly sensitive. I own that.
The ones that I took away were the ones I wanted to work on.
I had imaginative at 100% bold at 90% mischievousness at 100%, diligence at 95% in skepticism and 87%, which means I work from the worst-case scenario. Well, I put that to work around risk management, and I was practicing risk management before it even became a designation. I even started teaching it as soon as it became a designation. My work as a risk manager meant that I'm all about Awareness + Action = Change. The Hogan assessment showed me I can celebrate being imaginative and mischievous. That's because I can own those things. But what I've done is taken the experiences in turning them into wisdom and sharing.
Five years later, I have the audacity to go and start being a podcast host. Literally only thought of this like 10 weeks ago, and very naively. You’re in good company. I'm a verbal processor, I should be a podcaster.
What would that look like?
What am I passionate about?
How do I link it?
For me, I think it links very much back to that Hogan assessment.
You're good coaching around that, because I was able to say, Well, you know, if I'm going to be a stratospheric thinker, where's the best place to be doing it?
Well, the doctorate was a bit of a struggle, because it was terribly hard to bring all this creativity down to a flat 120,000 book. Now I'm commercializing that IP in different spaces. For me, the podcast is a great place to do that. Because for the first three months, I'm doing the most diverse content I can because I wish to attract listeners who are curious.
It's been a hugely helpful assessment that continues to ripple out five years later.
I wanted to just ask you about your Global Talent Builder program? Would you like to speak to that? Wendy?
Wendy Kendall 16:44
The Global Talent Builder program grew out of the executive coaching that I was doing around those six concentric circles. Those six circles are systemic. What I realized is, inevitably, as soon as you start doing any kind of systemic intervention, you start to touch other parts of the system, it's almost you can't not do that.
The Global Talent Builder program was developed in partnership with corporate clients as well, kind of responding to what was coming up for them. As we saw, it was kind of ecologically derived, if you like.
Essentially, companies that sending people overseas is a good thing to do. But we've got two problems:
Then we've got this other challenge, which is, we're really struggling to demonstrate how it's creating value.
That means that every time the CEO is under pressure, about the bottom line, he's saying, how can you justify the amount of money we're spending on this? What that meant is that the intervention was not just with regards to coaching the individual, but then it was setting up the HR people to be able to answer this question around, how is this creating value for the company? Helping the HR business partners to continue to build a partnership with the individuals who were moving around the world.
It's a development program, as opposed to a coaching program that develops both the person who's moving overseas, the manager and the team around them, and the HR, people who are supporting all of those, and global talent builder. First of all, helps to reduce the risk that you're going to break somebody when you send them overseas, because it builds in all of those support functions that I described earlier. It also gets them focused on how am I creating value and what is the evidence that I can capture to then show that to you.
By the end of the Global Talent Builder program, the individual has created what I call a value map. And that value map includes both qualitative and quantitative data. So stories, anecdotes, feedback, hard data, and you know, results and so on and it gives them an opportunity to share their story with the CEO or with the, you know, with the with the member of the board that they've been working with, around this is the value that I have created. And then to give propositions to the company to say, and I think this is valuable in these other ways as well. And can you connect me with people across the organization so we can continue and reinvest this value that has been created. So that's why it's a generative program, as I kind of mentioned.
Michelle St Jane 18:15
It sounds brilliant.
Wendy Kendall 18:28
It's great. It's so satisfying to run. Because people do really well. There's this tendency for us to view people who are very senior global leaders as somehow heroes. Which they are, but you know, heroes have always got a vulnerable underbelly. When they're doing these big kind of global leaps in the ways in which they're buffeted, and the support systems that are removed for them. It can be very disorientating and disconcerting. Yet, they can be some of the leaders that we need to carry on in these businesses. You know, the ones that care the most, and have the most, you know, the most creative ideas and who are really engaged with the company so that they will put themselves up for this.
Being able to support people who, and at some point it's not uncommon for something to happen in that early stage, because it's a highly disruptive transition, where those individuals go through an experience, that's essentially saying, “you know, what, I don't know why I've done this?” Something happens and something changes. It can feel like a betrayal. And to be able to just support them at some of those very vulnerable times and get them back on board and then flourishing, that's really satisfying. Then to see the outcome at the end of it. Where they've just created new knowledge, new relationships, and then they're really motivated to go back and mentor and share and do that. It's just tremendous.
Michelle St Jane 20:09
Wow. And I think this program is going to be a Game Changer at this point. Because of the pivots, the trends and the themes that are coming out post COVID.
What are you seeing as the trends and themes you would be thinking of for the rest of this year? And for 2021?
Wendy Kendall 20:30
The thing that we are most having to deal with at the moment is, of course, the amount of uncertainty that there is. That's impacting on businesses. It's impacting on those global leaders lives, because, you know, I have people who are in coaching, in March, we anticipated that they would be moving overseas. They are still in a holding pattern somewhere in the world. Doing those new jobs, but they don't know when they'll ever be able to arrive.
What they're trying to do is build impactful trustful relationships and teams. They're trying to enact missions, from a very remote, remote location.
What we've been working on is something called creating connection at a distance. So, you know, again, together generating ideas around what are the ways in which we can do this. Listening to some of my global mobility colleagues, and this idea of virtual international assignments and virtual international working is going to be something that just grows and grows. You know, we have maybe at least another year, if not 18 months of hard pandemic to deal with. And so anybody who's thinking of a global move in that time, is going to be potentially running up against those challenges. But you know, as we're dealing with climate change, and maybe issues around ecological challenges, that that may continue.
Michelle St Jane 22:08
I'd love for you to touch on cross cultural coaching or, and of course, your book the amazing conversations.
Wendy Kendall 22:16
Yeah. So cross cultural coaching is something into interesting for me in that. And, and, in fact, it comes into the amazing conversations thing, and also some of the internal family systems work.
I recently completed my training in internal family systems therapy, all that is about including amazing conversations.
Who it is asking the question?
Who are the multiple selves that live within us?
Who are we in our kind of, in our multiplicity?
What are all the possible selves showing up and coming through the door in a particular interaction?
When it comes to cross cultural coaching, I mean, I don't advertise myself as a cross cultural trainer, or a cross cultural coach. The reason for that is, I think the, the different aspects of our selves that show up and come from so many different places and experiences. I'd rather work with that level of granularity than what I've seen within cross cultural coach. I'm not an expert in the area, and maybe stereotypes of how certain cultures show up. I think it's a bit more individual than that.
Amazing conversations came about as a project with a colleague. And he'd written this book initially for the coaching sector. Not a coaching book, but a book for the coaching sector that was saying:
How do we get two people together in a way to have conversations that are transformational?
What does that mean?
What I realized whenever we go into the bubble, a concept that we describe, in amazing conversations, we have to be really mindful about who is showing up in that conversation.
Are we bringing cultural baggage with us, should we leave that outside and being really mindful in our conversations?
When we do that, we create a much more open space, where there can be a more fluid influence on one another. That in itself can be much more transformational can change me can change you. And where our defenses kind of our inner protectors feel less activated, and so more gets through.
Michelle St Jane 25:12
Wendy share about the kind of clients you'd like you like to work with and the kind of work you'd like to be doing.
Wendy Kendall 25:19
We're kind of relaunching globally talented now. What I've started to do is work a lot more with my clinical colleagues. I'm an organizational psychologist, but within the team now, we also have clinical psychologists.
Essentially, it's everything around supporting the psychological well-being and performance of people with global careers. As you've alluded to, people are really being challenged in terms of their mental health and well-being. It's really hard to build high performance from a foundation that's maybe a little bit shaky, or has some cracks in it. The challenges we're experiencing, are a little bit traumatizing.
We just need to look after that a lot more when it comes to global companies.
I like working with have global companies who care about the people that work for them, as opposed to just concerned with how much money those people are making for them.
Michelle St Jane 26:30
Finding that fulcrum point between profit people and planet, I really value the work that you do. To wrap this up, I'm so grateful for your presence in the world of global leadership. Listeners, I hope you've enjoyed our rich and engaging conversation with the awesome Wendy Kendall and all the learning around her philosophies, wins and lessons learned. Thank you, Wendy.
Wendy Kendall 26:55
Thanks so much, Michelle. It was a pleasure.
Reach out. I am interested, do you have a topic you'd like to explore? It would be great to have your feedback.
Dr. Michelle St Jane
Podcast Host: Life & Leadership: A Conscious Journey
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© Michelle St Jane 2020-2021
Wendy Kendall is a psychologist, author and founder of the behavioural science consultancy Globally Talented, which helps international companies to Strengthen the Psychological Health and Performance in their Leaders Deployed Abroad.