Director and Senior Partner
I feel privileged to have had the opportunity, as founding partner of TCO International, to work for over 20 years with over 100 organisations in the area of developing global agility. It has certainly given me an understanding of what organisations need to do in order to thrive and prosper in a complex, diverse and changing world. It has also enabled me to understand what my specific skills and interests are in supporting this agility, and where to work with others who bring something different.
A key underlying gift that I bring my clients is how to get the best out of themselves and others when managing change across geographic and organisational boundaries. Such change may show itself in three different contexts:
- Finding balance as individuals in new and unfamiliar locations. Here I have found new and innovative ways to support managers, leaders and technical specialists to get performance while bridging the needs of head office with local colleagues. This involves readiness to ‘hit the ground running’ but also responsiveness in managing the unpredictable events that may affect them on the way. Here I have built from my own experience of being out of my comfort zone as a young man in places like Bulgaria (early 80s) and China (mid 90s). I remember feeling at the time acutely aware of a gap in my own awareness about what might motivate and energise the people around me. I have learnt to fill that gap for others without resorting to cultural stereotypes.
- Building performance as real teams in shifting global contexts. Here I support top teams to work with diversity and distance in creating common purpose, commitment and mutual accountability. This involves readiness to agree an ‘our way’ of working together as well as a responsiveness to the changing team dynamics that come from unexpected events, including changing missions and new team-members. I have seen the challenges that come from a failure to invest in the trust needed to have the tough conversations without which new directions fail to emerge. This can be more challenging across cultures and distance.
- Support leadership capabilities in rapidly changing globally. Here I have been able to help organisations develop the kind of organisation-wide leadership programs that support the kind collaboration skills necessary to fill gaps and support changing circumstances. This involves instilling the flexibility and responsiveness to make connections in a world where the stakeholders, partners and stakeholders of today will be different tomorrow. But it also involves remembering that the work the work you do as a leader on understanding yourself and others, and the skills you bring for creating commonality in purpose and practice, will survive the changes. Such skills are relevant to me as TCO grows. As a founding partner of TCO International I need to constantly remember the importance of integrating those colleagues and partners whose different but complimentary skills give them an important future stake in what we offer as an organisation.
In supporting global agility in these three areas I have also developed the signature experiential activities, and the global leadership concepts, that are a hallmark of how we approach learning in TCO International. This includes the creation of films (A Case for Global Leadership, World of Difference learning packages) and psychometric instruments (eg The International Profiler) that we use widely in our work.