Find a Way!

Recently in Singapore a client who had paid us an invoice for fees but had no money for logistics or a venue, worked with us to find a creative way to engage their team. This was a new team, and they didn’t want to wait to get them aligned.

On our Leadership Journeys, we often take people to exotic and alluring contexts, so we can release the hold of the familiar and get them to undertake brave, radical, potentially transforming conversations.  Bereft of a budget, we tapped our imagination.

We took the group to the Botanical Gardens in Singapore and had a conversation outside of the sterility of a hotel room. The surroundings were lush and gorgeous, they dove into the conversation we crafted about their key growth drivers with gusto. We then found a food court, corralled a corner, did a debrief that was penetrating in its incisiveness (owing in large part to their desire to fully avail of this opportunity and not waste time, or words, or energy).

We next sent them out to explore Singapore in what was a blend of a cultural treasure hunt cum ‘Amazing Race’. They finished exhilarated, exuberant, pleasantly fatigued, and overflowing with mirth.

After that, by the waterfront, another cafe, another set of chairs and we debriefed the experience, considered how they’d have to shift behaviors to deliver their short-listed strategic ‘big hits’ from the morning, and they then gave each other ‘feedforward’ (future based requests for improvement, received by individuals from their work teams).

After that, a subway and train ride took them to Sentosa for a festive dinner and a creative performance (most of them are marketeers) to symbolize the commitments they had made. I received emails about the value they received, and the fun they had.

But it also became a metaphor for the times. Where budgets prohibit, team commitment and creativity need to take over. We can still do what we need to do, albeit in different circumstances. The aim was not to hibernate in a hotel, but to come together as a team. No corporate bureaucrat can prohibit that if there is the will. As consultants, we need to help willing clients find alternative ways of staging interactions and getting value. They don’t hire us to hang out in conference rooms, but to help them improve their business and their teams.

You can help  find a way to enable teams to connect, you can help clients make a case to locate budgets for what are true investments — help them fight for things that can enable business results,  and then help them execute accordingly to ensure a compelling ROI. Thereafter, they never need to explain why they’re hiring you. All they have to do is then point to the results, to a winning team culture that will be palpable as it comes online, and the ways in which they’ve moved the business measurably and meaningfully forward. Focusing what we offer on such a basket of benefits is what the times require — but it is also what the best consultants, global and local, do at all times anyway.