Train Like Madonna Before You Go


Train Like Madonna Before You Go

Did you know that Madonna puts a staggering number of hours into preparing for her shows? “It’s like putting on a broadway musical that is then going to tour the world,” said Madonna in a December interview on Live with Kelly and Ryan. "I have to plan every aspect of it from the music to the visuals and design the stage. I have to physically prepare and get my stamina up and then there’re endless rehearsals. It’s all about endless rehearsals and preparation.” 
As you turn your focus to gearing up for your assignment abroad the value of solid preparation cannot be underestimated. While you’ll most likely be receiving training from your company, there are additional things you can do to before you go to ensure all goes smoothly for you and your family.


Gather your family and get out the white board. This is where you bucket everyone’s prior experience with different country customs. Have mom or dad lived abroad before? Are the kids bi-lingual. How diverse is the community where you currently live and your day-to-day lifestyle? You’ll likely have friends who are willing to help give you a sense of what to expect as you prepare for a life abroad. This a great way to minimize misunderstandings that can occur in a new culture, as well as pique your curiosity for the many new experiences you’ll have.


There are some wonderful online and in-person workshops available that will immerse you in your host country’s culture. Your family may benefit from a better understanding of the way of life, values, food and currency where you’ll be living. As you set your sights on work, you’ll want to understand the cultural nuances that shape team interaction and business success so you can seamlessly integrate into your new workplace. Check out resources like Communicaid,International Workplace, or Culturewise.


Most of us know what it feels like to join a project team only to find that the goal has changed or team roles have been shuffled. Getting oriented through pre-relationship building meetings can help you land smoothly and start off on the right foot with your new team. Take advantage of the many free online tools available, like Zoom. Ask for a project overview meeting with the team leader. If appropriate, ask to sit in on some weekly alignment meetings just to get a sense of how everything works.

Ask for a day-in-the-life scenario of what it’s like to be on the team. What time do you clock in and leave? How about time spent in meetings each day, and travel or off-site needs and even perks like gym time or local cafes for a working lunch. Above all, staying flexible if things shift.

I’m thrilled you’re taking the plunge with a work abroad assignment. You’ll make it a fantastic success!


Sara Ottoboni
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