GLOBAL VIRTUAL TEAMWORK
Whether our clients are spread between Sydney, Fujairah and Rotterdam or Denver, London, Amsterdam, Nairobi, we work together virtually. Many multinationals still struggle to make virtual teaming a success: Defying time zones, engaging personally to build trust, figuring out shared objectives, roles and responsibilities, delegating creative tasks and key decisions to off line discussions. It requires a sophisticated level of virtual teamwork. We aim to role model virtual teaming and transfer the capability in the client organizations we work with.
Co-creation means for us that we truly start with a blank sheet of paper to listen to our clients’ challenges and needs. Proposals and designs remain draft documents for a while, benefiting from the input of many stakeholders. During the design phase capable leaders inside the organisation emerge, who can strengthen the delivery with their credibility as an inside leader. ‘Leaders teaching leaders’ builds internal capability for transformation and helps the internal leaders who co deliver with us, to refine their leadership skills and signature presence.
REAL BUSINESS, REAL LEARNING
Opportunities for learning are abundant in the organizations we work in. Therefore we minimize the use of external case studies and role–play. We work to replicate real business situations and assignments. Our customisation work means that we craft real business challenges into usable assignments that provide business value, individual learning as well as collective learning. The proper briefing of all business leaders involved is a key part of this.
Despite the successful programmes we have run, we have experienced the limitations of leadership development programmes. Ultimately business impact and sustainable behaviour change can be better realised in ‘intact’ top team environments, or functions and departments that need to achieve a significant outcome together. We bring together the whole function to think through the common agenda, or we will suggest to use work streams, focused individual support or facilitated meetings.
‘How have we worked together as a team’, is the question we use for ourselves in collaboration with our clients as well. We include ourselves in the learning and use each assignment to grow with our clients. One of these evaluations led us to jointly conclude that there was not enough fertile ground for leadership development and the decision to discontinue our collaboration. More often the relationship grows and deepens from the mutual feedback and inquiry.
SCALING UP & DOWN
Each of the network partners does assignments by him– or herself. There is no need or obligation to offer a large team or integrated services. Neither is this the only network we are part of. The network develops from partners having experiences in different networks and with different people. Networks of networks provide even more potential. We have scaled up small initiatives to large global rollouts. We have also scaled down to hand over to internal people who developed the capability internally.
The network also entails a dedicated group of programme coordinators. They work closely with each other and with clients to communicate with faculty and participants, contract venues and handle the admin involved in the learning initiatives around the globe. In some cases they run the entire budget on behalf of a corporate academy through their participant enrolment process. They work deep inside the client organisation. Their encounters are usually the first and lasting impressions of our clients learning initiatives and they know that.