A global conglomerate knew it could double its business in China and had been unable to successfully address the barriers standing in the way. The opportunity was enormous and required shared goals, genuine commitment, and meaningful collaboration across business lines, and so far, efforts were stalled. In the rapidly changing, fast-growing Chinese market, the window of opportunity would not be open for long. They had to find a way to truly engage the local team and quickly align them on an aggressive 5-year growth strategy.
The company used a Syntegration to address the challenge, bringing together thirty-three people – ten from the global team, three senior leaders in China, and twenty Chinese managers – in China for two days to answer the question of how to double business within five years. The first day played out as expected: The global team and senior Chinese leaders set the agenda and carried the conversation. The rest of the room mostly agreed with what the top leaders were saying. But as the discussion continued, Syntegration’s structured roles and processes were in gear, ensuring everyone’s voice was heard, and that the diversity of perspectives were fully manifested and integrated.
By Round II of the discussions, the Chinese locals were the ones leading and carrying the conversation. It was they, not the senior leaders, who primarily drove towards recommendations and presented them to the whole group. Their solutions ranged from getting business units to collaborate on top accounts, aligning management and compensation systems to drive portfolio success, and proactively getting ahead of new trends in several tech-intensive industries.
The global leaders came into the Syntegration with low expectations of how the Chinese managers would engage in the discussion. They left it remarking that the Syntegration produced the highest level of engagement they had seen and that they were impressed with the professionalism and powerful energy of the Chinese team.
Afterward, the company instituted regular meetings across business groups in China to execute upon the shared strategy that they had developed. The strategy was not pushed from the top-down, rather it was owned by representatives from each area of the business, enabling the transition from plan to action.
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