We had a lovely lunch at Lo Scoglio on the beach in Sabaudia today, just an hour's drive south from Rome. A family from England sat at the table next to ours and we got to talking. She is on assignment from her company in England to set up a joint venture with an Italian company based in Rome while her husband stayed back in England with their two children. She commutes back most weekends while he comes down with the kids once a month. A Grandmother helps out.
We shuddered (along with the Italian couple on the other side) as they proceeded to order: plain pasta with tomato sauce, french fries, coke and two cappuccino. My husband tried to intervene to help with the menu, but they would hear nothing about fish, clams and such. The waiter said that this was normal for the British and the Germans to whom he prefers the Russians who blindly order the most expensive item and champagne.
As we waited for our orders, I asked how working in Italy had been so far. She replied that, "We are a few months behind the roll out schedule," and that it had been "more complex than anticipated." Sounds familiar. But, once they had basically excluded the Italian management from the picture, things are moving along quite nicely.
Hmmmm. I thought to myself, I wonder how successful this venture will be once the Brits have gone home and left ongoing management to the Italian company that had no say in the start-up process.
We exchanged cards when I told her about cross-cultural coaching and afterwards I considered how I would have worked with this prototype client -- a perfect example of someone who would have certainly had a less stressful and more successful experience living and working abroad with a cross-cultural coach as a partner. Maybe she would have even dared to take the family along for the year if she had been able to count on support and guidance.
I am inspired for this new profession and the potential for helping people live and work abroad at a higher and more conscious level. Need to hurry up with classes for certification and hit the road.