Our client, a global FMCG firm, was undergoing a major shift in their marketing strategy. Although everyone agreed on the need for change, in their Japan office, its implementation was causing confusion and increased levels of disengagement. The senior management team, led by the CEO, wanted to get to everyone moving and moving quickly.
We started with a full needs analysis an identified a number of pressures points within the team. Firstly, they were overwhelmed: too many initiatives were underway and tasks were not presented contextually so there was little sense of progression or completion. This was leading to burn out. Secondly, a new set of behaviours was needed to mirror the organizational changes taking place on a strategic level. Finally, there was very little meaningful communication between the senior team members. In meetings they operated as individual experts rather than as a roundtable of experience when making decisions. Combined, these factors were stalling the transformation process.
So what did we do?
We Facilitated Open Communication and Developed a Common Language
In this multicultural team clear communication was critical and understanding the “why” behind the strategy became the focal point in our initial workshop. It emerged that, as can often happen in large organizations, strategic ideals are at the mercy of market conditions. Working from that premise allowed the team to have some very frank discussions around expectations-what was realistic and was not both operationally and behaviourally. By day two the team realised that they had to navigate between two (sometimes opposing) plans with agility and understanding. We used VUCA methodology to create a shared language and facilitate a plan to move forward.
We Tackled Lack of Engagement Head on
The team needed to operate collectively in order to achieve their ambitious goal. In order to develop leadership capabilities, self-awareness is critical for individuals. For teams, developing “group awareness” is just as important. We used MBTI to highlight individual preferences and discussed the importance of diversity in teams. We openly discussed challenges their individual styles meant for them as a group and explored some of the deeper drivers behind their conflict on executing plans. This enhanced their communication helped them develop a greater understanding and respect for one another.
Action Learning Projects
We facilitated action-learning projects that served a dual purpose. These initiatives delivered both a tangible business need and helped to develop the behaviours desired and necessary to implement the new strategy. In addition, these projects served as a way for the senior leaders to mentor the next generation of talent.
Eight months after our intervention, the team was more engaged and re-energised. They are able to support one another and creatively solve problems by drawing on the diversity of thought and approach within this multi-cultural group.