It never ceases to amaze me at how well the designated weekly readings seem to directly fit into the reflections I have made for that particular week. I arranged a team meeting during the holidays and my team were all ready and eager to succeed. We knew what our goal was and we knew our strategy had been working well. Despite this, after much consideration regarding Peter’s blog of the previous roll over, it became evident that the challenges were no longer simply our decisions and our results but the results of the competing firms within our world. Of course, it is great to be in the lead and doing well, yet it became very clear that there was a glass ceiling which we could not break through on our own. We knew we needed to find a way to work with the other teams to grow the China market, but at the same time we had to be mindful of the effect that this could have on our own performance.
A regional summit was arranged to try and find a way to work together to grow the market in order to achieve a positive outcome. I understand that this was a logical and necessary requirement but I became anxious as to how the other regions would perceive us. I was scared that we would be seen as cheats who were colluding, when the reality was that if we helped other teams, we would be more likely to see declined sales for ourselves with the long-term goal that all firms would be able to benefit from a growing market. This notion was mentioned by Synnott (2013), in the way that national strategies need to be reviewed and analysed yet this poses a risk of alienating other key institutes. Synnott (2013) also emphasised that sections of a community usually appear in two distinct ways. One group will often lead the charge in organising the meetings whilst the other will arrange for the relevant experienced individuals to link together (Synnott, 2013). Perhaps the latter scenario would be best suited when thinking about regional summits, in terms of grouping departments together across the firms to allow for shared knowledge and problem solving rather than only involving the CEOs which was not that successful.
The key lies within creating a shared understanding of the glass ceiling and what it creates for all of the firms, as well explicitly identifying the underlying motivations and rationale for meeting in the first place (Synnott, 2013). Though we are all individual companies, there is inter-dependence between the firms and a requirement to build their trust. In trying to create a trusting bond, it was clear that we needed to be transparent and honest about our intentions and reasons to assist other firms. From the onset, we were clear that we are still highly competitive and that we are not operating under purely altruistic motives, in brutal honesty we’re helping other to also help ourselves. This is definitely a situation in which there is a need for double-loop thinking, where focus is placed on how other firms think, and their cognitive processes in decision making and reasoning (Argyros, 1991). Too much time is often spent reflecting on the feelings of an experience rather than incorporating this with the cognitive processes that have occurred. Though we might be approaching the situation in terms of achieving an even higher performance, other teams may be feeling slightly embarrassed, confused or purely misunderstood during this process. Failure to recognise this prior to the meeting may definitely be a contributing factor as to why it was not as successful as hoped, something we can definitely consider for the future.
Each firm is different as they comprise unique individuals and team dynamics and though one firm may be willing to cooperate and work together, other firms may not be as co-operative. This week I learnt a lot about how to approach tricky situations and how to positively work with other teams to achieve a successful outcome. It is easy to be caught up in your own needs and understandings and therefore forget that other teams may see suggestions and outcomes very differently. Though our regional summit was not as successful as I had hoped, it taught me the importance of effective and well thought out communication. Often it is the lesson you do not seek which ultimately teaches you the most. I’ve learnt to be realistic, to be honest and most importantly to think carefully before jumping in ‘boots and all’.
Argyris, C. (1991). Teaching smart people how to learn. Reflections, 4(2), 4--15
Synnott, M. (2013). Reflection and double loop learning: The case of HS2. Teaching Public Administration, 31(1), 124--134. doi:10.1177/0144739413479950