Strategic Alignment in China – Jen Runkle

Situation

This management group needed to align themselves around their moving forward business strategy and understand how they could work together best to effectively implement this strategy.  In the last year, the group had doubled in size, integrated a new leader, and met some of its financial goals after 5 years of financial struggles.  There was momentum behind all this change and recent financial success and the team needed to sustain this.

The team was a blend of Chinese, American, Irish, German, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Australian, New Zealanders, and Indian members.  Use of the Team Management Profile was seen as a safe way for them to talk about their differences; much better than the local v. expat conversation so was incorporated into this two day session.

Action Taken

The TMP was used early on in the session and informed their strategy work to some degree but had a considerable impact on how the team thought about the implementation of their strategy.  The group was strongly east wheel preference focused with 14 of the 20 team members having work preferences in the Developing (3) Organizing (10) and Producing (1) functions.  Through facilitated discussion the group suggested the possible points of impact regarding their work preferences as a team:

Strengths:

  • We can organize, drive and execute
  • We are aligned with where the business is at right now
  • Development Needs:

Development Needs:

  • Perhaps not willing to abandon a direction even if it’s not working well
  • If we have conflicting goals or priorities, we’ll be pulling in different directions.
  • May not have the right information gathering mechanisms and infrastructure – risk in decision making
  • May be short term focused – need to look 2-3 years out

All of these strengths and development needs were important for the team to understand if they were going to maintain the momentum they had just started to achieve and if they were going to be effective in implementing their strategy.  It was very important for this very driven, results oriented group to not only be able to discuss their differences but at the same time disucss those differences within the context of the business needs.  The TMP with its focus on both work functions and the measures of work preferences met this teams needs very well.

Results

Through continued facilitated discussion informed by their TMP results and their strategic plans the group suggested the following short and longer term actions were required.

Sample Team Actions for the Current Year

  • Engage the next level in organization regarding strategy deployment and personally drive the message multiple times in multiple formats (town halls, workouts, rewards)
  • Keep policy management deployment front and center in ongoing regional management meetings

Sample Team Actions for Longer Term

  • Build bench strength and local perspective within our various regions
  • Manage more by interacting with people rather than directing them

The team left the session energized and prepared to take their plans forward while recognizing that some of the actions listed above would be a struggle for them and they would need to remind each other to maintain their focus as the normal pressures of work brought their preferences closer to the surface.


Runkle Consulting

Jen Runkle, PhD, believes that the world can be a better place if we all took a minute to be a little nicer.  Her 15 years of experience in corporate America have convinced her of the need.  Working inside a big 5 consulting firm, one of the premier clothing stores, and a global manufacturing conglomerate has provided rich material from which her work is based.  Valued as a trustworthy confidant, CEOs, VPs, managers, and employees gravitate to her to discuss their organizational issues.

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