This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.
| 3 minutes read

Paradoxes in global mobility

You describe a situation as a paradox when it involves two or more facts or qualities that seem to be counter or opposed to each other. Many paradoxes sound false at first but have some semblance of truth. Looking for a couple of examples? “Doing nothing is exhausting”. “You have to be cruel to be kind”.  “Less is more”.

It feels like “The Looking Paradox” kicked in when I bumped into this article by Sahil Bloom, The Most Powerful Paradoxes of Life. With this paradox (The Looking Paradox), Bloom explains: “Stop looking in order to find what you're looking for. Ever notice that when you're looking for something, you rarely find it? Stop looking—what you're looking for may find you. It applies equally to love, business, happiness, and life.”

The article shares 20 paradoxes and sets the stage for you to ruminate, contemplate, nod or shake, and maybe even acknowledge their contradictory wisdom. Here are a couple just of additional examples: 

The Growth Paradox

  • Growth takes a much longer time coming than you think, but then happens much faster than you ever thought possible. Growth happens gradually, then suddenly. The best things in life come from allowing compounding to work its magic. Slowly, then all at once.

And another one I am seeing come up in HR articles lately is this idea of slowing down to go faster or to be more productive, you need to take a break. That paradox goes like this: 

The Productivity Paradox

  • Work longer, get less done. Parkinson's Law says that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. When you establish fixed hours to your work, you find unproductive ways to fill it. Work like a lion instead—sprint, rest, repeat. 

You can go read the article and get through the 17 others, but for some fun, let's consider where are we seeing paradoxes in global mobility today? I'll take a shot:

Global Mobility Paradox #1: “Being extremely tactical is very strategic.” The point being made here is that as someone works to get a seat at the table through elevating themselves by being seen as strategic, there is a benefit to having the tactical elements buttoned up within the program. A well performing efficient mobility program that is delivering good experiences for internal stakeholders and mobile employees and families is an asset that can allow for a leader to focus on the bigger strategic possibilities and plans in collaboration with the companies business initiatives. If the program is plagued with performance or quality challenges or issues, most of a leader's energy and focus will have to remain at the tactical level. One might consider if this is true then, “Being un-tactical is not strategic."

Global Mobility Paradox #2: “Spend time to save time”.  We see this one come up in implementation as we build or rebuild processes to be more efficient. Spending the time to adjust a process or implement a new technology can save loads of time from there on. The biggest area of focus last year for mobility programs (see Trends Report) was streamlining by finding increased efficiencies. In fact, 70% of mobility professionals said they needed to evaluate and restructure processes to create more efficient mobility management practices within their program. We dug in further with a survey specific to how and where companies were focusing on this and published our “2023 Global Mobility Efficiencies Survey Report”. Check it out to see where people “spent time to save time”.

Global Mobility Paradox #3: “Give control to get control.”  It seems a bit counterintuitive that in giving up control, you may gain more control but that is what many programs are finding. We are seeing companies that have moved to allowing employees complete choice and control on selecting their mobility benefits, gain more control over costs and where their time is spent. Being less didactic in the benefit selection process has also increased employee satisfaction and made relocation counselors that support the mobility process feel more empowered and successful at providing support. They feel more successful. Many programs have completely eliminated to costly and time-consuming nature of “exception management” too!

There have to be some other mobility paradoxes out there. Share one you see playing out in global mobility!


Those are 20 of the most powerful paradoxes of life. Fall in love with the beauty in the dynamic complexity all around us. Study the contradictions, know the pitfalls, and embrace the little bits of chaos. This is the recipe for a life well lived. What would you add to the list? What important truths of your life often appear contradictory on the surface?


global mobility, paradox, relocation, benefits, contradiction, counter, opposed, puzzling, tactical, strategic, productivity, breaks, work, relax, time spent, time saved, control, choice, flexibility, freedom, cost control, policy, selection