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Meltdown or an opportunity to engage people?

30th Jan 2009 03:37 pm


Market decline, strategies in volatile markets, ‘bailouts', economic regeneration, downsizing - all are current news topics about the global economic meltdown. Occasionally, the word transformation appears, yet not in the context of people - our most valuable resource and potential asset - nor the critical need for leading people through and beyond the current crisis.

Coverage abounds on cutbacks. Rio Tinto Alcan, the aluminium division of mining giant Rio Tinto, announces its plan to reduce its global workforce by about 1,100 staff. In Australia, looming mass lay-offs are forecast for the building industry. British Immigration Minister, Phil Woolas, in the context of the exodus of Polish workers, says that "businesses need skilled workers from countries like Poland to help them grow". 

The question is whether organisational and political leadership can guide this world through these somewhat uncharted waters. A different brand of leadership and engagement is needed - engagement that involves people across an organisation and across nations - as the most powerful insights and ideas may come from unexpected places.

A challenging brand of leadership that has contributed to growing businesses and people to cope with rapid change is the brainchild of Craig Yeatman. Chief Executive Officer of the WorldsView™ Holdings group and Managing Director of WorldsView™ Consulting, Yeatman will be having leadership conversations during late January and February 2009 in the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Australia. His professional activities include building sustainable and successful organisations.

Yeatman will address how leaders who work with - not through - their organisations are the best positioned to ‘drive' through the downturn.  Doing so requires and accountability across an organisation and alignment of individual actions behind the common strategic goal..

A number of theorists and practitioners argue strongly that conversations are the single most important business process. Structured and rich conversations are the platform for building shared understanding, unpacking and exploring complex issues, and reaching decisions. While the journey of change takes courage, an appropriate intervention aligns peoples' energy and passion in support of a common organisational purpose and strategy to achieve the best possible result , no matter how dire the current circumstances.

The Nine Conversations in Leadership™ intervention does just that. The intervention is powerful, scalable and affordable - the ‘magic' happens in the shift from thinking and doing to engaging, exploring and then doing.  This flagship WorldsViewTM Consulting intervention grows leaders and changes organisations through a series of facilitated, structured, rich conversations - across the entire organisation - to impact on many as opposed to one or two people.

Southern Sun Hotels Offshore MD, Richard Weilers, says "I chose the Nine Conversations in Leadership™ intervention for my senior management team to challenge our open door communication policy [which is] key to the success of creating a single business culture that forms a foundation for the 26 nationalities that are part of our company...".

Another key WorldsView™ Consulting intervention in these challenging times is Purposeful Teams™ - a fast-acting and powerful intervention that awakens effective team performance. It places the team within the organisational context and leverages the organisational mandates into the purpose of the team - contextualising the reason for existence.

The global conditions in the first two quarters of 2009 will exacerbate the challenge of addressing the expectations of delivery across all sectors. Addressing those expectations requires interventions that transform the way we deal with change or times of crises - a challenge that should be seen by leaders as an opportunity to engage people and ‘mine' the wisdom from that valuable resource.

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