An invitation to a web meeting today made me think of the now so common webinars and web meetings that connect people not only from different teams and companies of the organization but also from different countries and continents. One might think that by now we all speak the same language and share the same understanding, values and goals on business. Just send the invitation with the agenda and everyone gets their 10 minutes!
But I've heard people wonder how very differently from each other even the people from the Nordic countries think and behave, not to mention other countries. I've really enjoyed working and having long conversations with my former Nordic, European, American, Asian, Middle East and Indian colleagues. It has been fun and very educational. But not always easy and straight forward.
It is wonderful that people have the opportunity to discuss and partner across the silos and continents. But do all feel safe and empowered to speak up in those meetings? Do we really understand what the others are saying and why they are acting in a certain way, often surrounded by conflicting expectations by various stakeholders? Do we see the actual drivers and necessities one may have in her local office, perhaps surrounded by a totally different worldview than ours? How do we ensure that the different views are shared and understood? How can we support people in communicating in a way that is understood and seen professional in different cultures? Even in same cultures (and even between family members who know each other better than anyone else!) words and behaviour are so often interpreted in such different ways and wrong assumptions are made.
Short answer: Listen. Ask questions. Make sure you have understood.
I am not worried about AI taking over our work. There will be room and need for collaboration between people requiring communication and presence as well as emotional and social intelligence aside of AI as the technology creates new ways to connect. Do you know on what level your team's communication skills are? What about their emotional and social intelligence? What drives their actions?
The image is of the painting ‘Multicultural’ by the American artist Robert Daniels whose work can be found on Fine Art America.
I just got back from my first ballet class after the long summer break. I was pretty nervous about how it would go. The teacher is a good one, strict about the rules of classical ballet and making us do all the details just right, not half-way, no matter how difficult it is. And that's how we, her class, want it although we are ways outside of our comfort zones. We really want to learn and do it right.
I survived. And I loved it.
In coaching there is a term dancing in the moment used in many coaching models to describe an important skill of a good coach. It means an ability to be fully conscious and flexible, intuitive, in approach according to what shows up in the coaching moment. It is about the coach's presence, or her being as a coach, as it is sometimes also described. It is also about the coach having a variety of tools and approaches that the coach can bring to the coaching sessions so that she can choose the one that is most effective in that moment. The atmosphere created for the coaching sessions is also critical.
Coaching is a great method to answer to the needs of the client. Coaching methods such as the dancing in the moment are helpful in the role of a leader or supervisor in her discussions with the teams and individuals so that she can really see where her team is in terms of its emotions, believes and goals.
In classical ballet there is not much room for coaching discussions but also there the teacher needs to be present and focused to see where the class is with its development and emotions. And the class needs to be fully present and focused to be able to repeat the movements.
One method is not an answer to all needs. Therefore I offer not just coaching but also mentoring, consulting and training. Actually you don't need to know what the method is called. You have a need and for me the driver is to deliver a service that meets that need and brings you a solution.
I used to think that the requirements for success are different in let's say performing arts compared to management in engineering business. The business seemed to need to rely on set processes and control from the top whereas I was sure that in arts much more trust and freedom must be given to allow the performers to take risks, find the best potential in them and shine. Still, I've been surprised to come across so old school views on business even when the world around us has already been saying loud and clear for years that employees must be trusted, believed in and encouraged to take responsibility. Actually this can be the case even when the company strategy say all those beautiful things. Sure, things can be discussed but the views must be heard and taken into account. There are still managers who think that they have the time and reason to control how, where and when the work is done and ignore the voice of wisdom from below. Some leaders are grinning on requests for training or self development or even to the suggestion to stand up, not to mention walk, during a full day meeting. People, do stand up anyway!
People need to trust themselves in what they are doing to be successful. The company, i.e. the supervisor, need to trust them as well. The Managers and Leaders of the company have succeeded in their role when they've enabled the people of the company to feel that they can take risks, fail, learn and succeed. In other words, be motivated and excited about what they are doing because they feel they are trusted, important and believed in.
I have just published these web pages around the newly founded Intu Coaching and I am really excited to start its operations. You can read about the reasons and goals for founding Intu from here. Basically, I've seen some good leadership and management and I've seen some bad one. I've seen what happens when the need for change is ignored or is done in a big scale without hearing the interest groups such as the skilled people working for the organisation.
Right after the publishing of these pages, I read an interesting interview at Helsingin Sanomat of Tero J Kauppinen, a highly experienced business leadership consultant. It nicely resonated with what I'd just been thinking and writing on these pages. He emphasised the need by the leaders to constantly question their leadership patterns and to be interested in new ideas while keeping the focus on the big picture on corporation's goals. The interviewer was surprised that this senior consultant with customers on Wall Street had such critical views on quarterly reporting. I am not. I've seen the struggle in many board rooms and executive teams to answer to the expectations of the shareholders while at the same time trying to keep the focus on goals. As Kauppinen put it: The quarterly reporting makes the leaders of the company to look at the audience, not the ball.
I also agree with Mr. Kauppinen that the purpose of a corporation by law to create value for its owners is not sufficient alone in today's world. You do need to take into account also the people inside and outside of the corporation, the nature and much more. The company must have ethical standards and corporate responsibility in making profit.
Seeing today's exciting new trends on how work and corporate responsibility is seen, I hope Intu Coaching can do its part in supporting the corporations and leaders to get there.
The full article is found at hs.fi and was published on 6.8.2017.