What’s a “Vanguard”??
A quick google search of “vanguard” only leaves us with one clear connotation of what the word means. You’d therefore be quite within your right to wonder why Expat Academy have launched its new Network for financial advisors, investors and people who understand how stocks work at a level only a few of us can. But look a bit deeper into your google search (or maybe ask chatGPT) and the origin of the word vanguard will become all too clear.
The word vanguard is rooted in the Anglo-French word avantgarde, from avant, meaning “before”, and garde, “guard”. In medieval times the vanguard would lead the line of march, being the first on the scene, seeing the whole battlefield ahead of them and being an essential part of any army to strategically plan how they would deploy. The vanguards were the frontline, the strategists, the specialists, the communicators, and the ones willing to take any challenge head on.
Over years, the term “vanguard” has come to be defined as those at the forefront of their field, developing new ideas, being “in the work” to truly understand the challenges their organisations are facing, the specialists with the tools to deliver any new project thrown at them, and the people their leaders depend upon. They are the frontliners, the strategists, the skilled specialists, the knowledge holders, the fearless, the dependable, and the changemakers. Look into the origins of that first google search you did, and you’ll find that namesake Investment Company’s roots are firmly grounded in this concept of being revolutionary in their field.
Global Mobility Vanguards
In Global Mobility, we have vanguards in our midst, walking amongst us at networking events, chatting through Global Mobility issues at our huddle tables, sometimes not even knowing they are vanguards. Those that can see the problems and solutions with a clarity and incision that sometimes might belie their limited years in the industry or the ‘been round the block a few times’ mantra others place on them.
They don’t understand those who are ‘quiet quitters’ or the ‘that’ll do’ rationale; excellence is not something to strive for but an expectation they set of themselves. They relish problems like PE risks, international remote workers, flexible policy reviews, RFP’S, metrics and data analytics (likely not all at once), the very scenarios that challenge their skillset. Failure to them is a necessity to growth, an opportunity to learn, explore, improve, and develop. They are the Global Mobility leaders of tomorrow and the pioneers of today.
I know these people exist in our networks and industry as I’ve spoken to many of them at our events and huddles, both in my role at Expat Academy and previously as an attendee. I’ve sat and listened to them and had my eyes opened to problems I was dealing with. I was (and maybe still am) a Vanguard myself, trying to constantly develop with excellence and growth in my sights.
Why a Vanguards Network?
So why launch a network specifically for those who consider themselves – or others consider them to be – vanguards? Good Question!
Our ability to think outside the box, innovate, and create unique solutions is intrinsically linked to our ability to be creative. Creativity, as many studies have tried to demonstrate, is believed to be a deeply personal trait linked to an individuals sense of individuality and conviction. This thesis regarding creativity (no one has actually figured out exactly where creativity comes from yet) seems at odds with the concept of creating a group of vanguards to develop themselves, think creatively and innovate.
The Vanguards Network though is different. It is not intended to provide a space for creativity, innovation, drive and outside the box thinking for you as an individual. You already do that… if you’re a vanguard after all! No, it’s intended to be a network of likeminded or even disagreeing people bouncing their already creative minds off each other. Bringing their thought processes and innovative solutions to the table to be objectively considered and discussed.
It’s an opportunity to learn more, grow more, and ultimately share more… thus creating and innovating back into our teams and organisations. Our hope is that this Network can provide a platform for the vanguards already in our midst to drive the Global Mobility conversation forward and to new innovative places.
As a Vanguard, I can’t wait!!
Are you a Vanguard?
Has the above resonated with you and had you nodding like an adorable 1990’s nodding car toy? Are you on the frontline of your GM processes and central to driving change in your GM team? Or maybe you have a dependable ‘General’ coaching you and driving you forward to utilise all those skills and insights you possess to not only develop your own career but also develop the function and programme in which you support and work. Alternatively, you may be the one-man-band GM team, your very own little army trying to drive a function towards greater compliance in the face of senior leaders suggesting ‘it’s got to be easier than that!’
Well if you answered yes to any of the above then you should know we’ll be launching our new Expat Academy Vanguards Network at our New Global Workforce Colloquium on 17th April 2023 in London. If you’d like to be involved and feel you can drive the Global Mobility Conversation forward Click here to express your interest. We’d love to have you onboard in what is going to be a fantastic and unique group of talented GM professionals. I’m excited… I’m a Vanguard after all…