It is good news. Most relocation assignments are a great experience for a family. The opportunities for learning, growth and enjoyment are huge and the support for ensuring the logistics and practicalities go smoothly is tried and tested.
Recognise the transition zone. There is a lot to do and a good project plan is essential. Plan it in 3 stages:
- The ending of the way it used to be
- The transition period where things are in flux, not quite sorted and feeling strangely alien
- The new beginning when things are settling down and the new norm is taking shape. Usually 3-4 months following the beginning of the assignment
Plan the time to communicate. If things become stressful, communication within a relationship commonly reduces by 40%. Prioritise time out that allows you to stop doing and have a real dialogue. Plan what you want to say by thinking through these questions:
- What do you want to say?
- What do you want them to hear?
- What do you want to understand about them and their thinking?
Give attention to the home network. The people who are making the move are the ones that are central to the planning but encourage all those moving to do a bit of analysis of their broader network of family and friends. As a family note down the roles and the expectation of you held by the broader home network. Be conscious of what will change and pro-actively renegotiate the roles and expectations that really matter. There is a lot to think about for those in a career transition – see my earlier work on this subject.
Plan and keep regular contact with central HR or the country office that you are leaving. Even if they have nothing to tell you keep the communication regular and structured so you know that your next move is in their plans.