September 2020

Facing Adversity

I have recently begun working with a client who heads up an internal management consultancy group of a very large global corporate interest. Their focus is to go into the various international subsidiaries and review low performing brands so that their strategy and market value can be improved. The consultancy was established a number of years ago and has proven to be very successful in transforming and adding value to the corporation’s many businesses around the world. The client has now been tasked with a project in the home nation of the corporation and is facing it with some trepidation as 50% of the business’ revenue is derived from that market and the cultural aspect is certain to be challenging particularly as my client is not from that country. As the corporation is considered to be successful in the country and the culture is one of high confidence, my client is already facing push back from leaders.

The COVID situation is also making the situation a challenging one. Formerly, consulting sessions with leadership teams would be held face to face however now it must all be done virtually. A direct result of this is lower levels of trust between the leadership team and the consultancy members. Additionally, COVID has brought about a more nationalistic approach from a global perspective and people’s worlds have shrunk due to restrictions and lockdowns. It is thus crucial when working across borders to be aware of this. These are effectively invisible barriers and when encountering them it is necessary to use all means available to mitigate the barriers and develop a sense of trust and transparency to increase the level of engagement, cooperation and alignment. We are now working with the client on a number of initiatives to increase their success with this assignment.


Book Recommendation:


Respect Trumps Harmony: Why being liked is Overrated and Constructive Conflict gets Results, Rebecca Robertson

As teams become more diverse, they won’t always see eye to eye. In order to achieve results, there is a need to have robust, candid and constructive discussions. Respect Trumps Harmony offers a proven approach to navigating the difficulties faced in teams and workplaces today. To build collaboration; strengthen innovation; and manage safety, risk and well-being, it’s critical that there is a foundation of respect, not harmony.

Developed during author Rachael Robertson’s time leading one of the toughest workplaces on the planet—Davis Station, Antarctica—and further informed by over 15 years of research, case studies and feedback, Robertson suggests that harmony in the workplace is overrated, and can even be dangerous, and that above all else, respect is the key ingredient of a high-performance culture. A focus on respect over harmony improves everything from morale to productivity.

Respect Trumps Harmony is a contemporary leadership handbook, essential for all modern leaders and those who wish to transform the culture within their own team.