During a recent trip to the Middle East and Afghanistan, I found myself understanding my company’s tagline like never before. Most importantly, I found that ‘local insight – global perspective’ is truly at the heart of everything we do.
The realization was at first somewhat uncomfortable for me. As a military officer, my experience in combat zones included body armor, weapons and restricted exposure to the local population. In contrast, during my recent trip I traveled the streets of Kabul with my colleagues, visiting restaurants and interacting with the citizens.
At first, I felt exposed and vulnerable without the protective elements. However, I soon began to develop a level of local insight that is uncommon in my experience. It helped me to better understand the linkage to the larger, strategic picture – the global perspective.
I was pleased to see our team’s operations across the full scope of our company’s core capabilities: Socio-Cultural Research, Communication and Engagement, Enterprise Solutions and Capacity Building. In every case, I found we’re delivering success for our clients because of our reliance on the unique level of local insight and our ability to think strategically about the global connections. We gain that insight through a blend of research and the perspectives of our employees who are either from the local areas or have gained a level of understanding that allows them to empathize with the population.
My travels allowed me to see clearly how our clients benefit directly from the investment we make in building a foundation of understanding. Our understanding is directly applied to the strategies and solutions we create, making them precisely suited for the issue of interest to our clients, or the audiences they wish to reach.
I also saw firsthand the lasting effects our efforts can have. For example, our engagement in literacy training in Afghanistan is opening new doors for the students and building capacity for the country. Our own employees also provide an example of the enduring outcomes our company seeks to achieve. They bring unique skills and expertise to our team and gain new attributes through their work with us. Someday, they will likely sustain our business in their home countries while their western counterparts move on to new challenges.
I returned to Washington, D.C, with a new appreciation for my company’s work. Our team makes a significant difference every day in the most important of ways: We deliver local insight and global perspective in ways that can change the future.