After three months of preparation, I leave this evening on a very interesting work trip. I’m taking a group of 13 “New Gen” (i.e. late Generation X / early Generation Y) leaders on a six-day learning field trip to Shanghai and Beijing, China.
Employees of one of Thailand’s largest multinational companies, these New Gen participants are part of a 15-month program I’m leading to develop the next generation of leaders in the company. Specifically, they are trying to build leadership capabilities that will allow these Thais to work effectively in an international environment, especially if they are assigned to work abroad.
The field trip is an opportunity both to learn more about the company’s growing operations in China, but more importantly, it is a chance to challenge them, expose them to new things, and really test their ability to think differently about the world.
We jokingly named it the “Great Mall, Great Wall” field trip because the participants’ capstone project will be to propose a food and beverage business concept that their company could consider investing in in China. To study for this, we will visit several malls, which is where their company’s current F&B outlets are mostly located.
And, of course, we will make a visit to the Great Wall.
There are 13 participants, one chaperone from the company, and then me – the single observer, facilitator, coach, mentor, debriefer, and all-around tour guide. Should be an exciting but exhausting week!