The Expat Academy writes and posts on their website a series called, "The Secret Diary of a Global Mobility Manager." Each episode describes a day in the life of a mobility manager, and the wide variety of activities with which they get involved with. From "Nightmares in Nigeria" to "Business Visas in Turkmenistan" to one episode entitled, "So, what do you do?" where it starts with this:

"After a recent meeting with our payroll team, where I was explaining the new global mobility (GM) set up now that we have outsourced to an external Relocation Management Company (RMC), the question was asked ‘So, what do you do?'

All in a day’s work

Ha…Let’s take a look at my diary yesterday:

  1. Call with multiple stakeholders around a social security issue in Italy
  2. Bi-weekly regional GM meeting
  3. Another call around a social security issue in France
  4. GM Ops meeting
  5. Call with reward team to talk about Turkish pensions
  6. Call with an HRBP to discuss how we can cost-up a potential assignment without going through the formal processes – for which we don’t have cost of living data for anyway and will cost thousands to procure
  7. Meeting with compensation team to discuss our first non-U.S. expat with the new RMC
  8. GM meeting to discuss feedback from an expat about…us
  9. Meeting with the director of international comp & bens to discuss business travelers

So, what do I do? In truth, it’s really hard to describe what I do. So, I kind of just scoffed, laughed, and explained some of the meetings I had that day."

Per the above, a mobility manager finds themselves wearing multiple hats. In the video "The DNA of a "Super" HR Executive," any time they have used the term HR, let's replace it with GM. In my estimation, global mobility (GM) leaders and executives share similar, if not the same traits, drive, persistence and courage as those HR leaders mentioned in this video. 

Korn Ferry, a management consulting firm looked at the special assessments of more than 600 executives over the past few years and discovered some interesting facts about the top of the class HR leaders. They have labelled this top 18% the "super group" and the video describes exactly what separates the "ideal" human resource executive from the rest of their peers.  

There were 73 measures that were viewed as common to all leaders but this "super group" seemed to excel in 21 specific areas. Examples of the areas where these super group leaders scored highest are: 

  • openness to differences
  • curiosity
  • empathy
  • challenge
  • structure
  • agility 

They showed superior ability to develop talent, engage and inspire, and possess a global perspective. They had the highest scores for their presence, striving (being driven, reliable and persistent) and exploration (analytical, flexible and inquisitive). This amazing group of super leaders were capable of driving winning teams, dealing effectively with change management and leading innovation.

The video ends stating, "It may well be that the world's most envied companies are much in part who they are because of their globally attuned, agile and highly empathetic HR executives (insert GM leaders here) capable of thriving in asymmetric work environments." 

It's the hard work, focused efforts and capabilities of GM leaders across multiple teams throughout the inter-disciplinary activities required to run a global mobility program that keep "the right cheeks in seats" for the company and keep the "company's cheek" off the hot seat.