26 November 2013
Earlier this month TiA began working with Agility's Senior Management in Dubai. This opportunity not only deepens our understanding of the logistics sector, but also helps consolidate our presence in the Middle East, where we have been working at arms length for the past 15 years. The vibrance, optimism and energy in Dubai today, is in stark contrast to the business climate we experienced a couple of years back - when the construction cranes virtually ground to a halt. Today, it feels as if the city has picked up the pace again and business is once more gathering momentum. Love it or hate it, Dubai today is a spectacular sight and stands testament to what can be achieved if there is both political will and people who are prepared to invest in a vision. As further work in Dubai is likely in the near future, my own 'love affair' with this city is bound to be rekindled!
14 October 2013
This has been a strange and sad week for all of us here at TiA, as we come to terms with the sudden death of Richard Jones, co-founder of TiA, and owner with his wife Anne, of the East Down Centre.Many of you reading this blog will have known Richard from those early days when he worked as a facilitator on many of our programmes at home and abroad.
His wisdom guided our decisions and his values became the bedrock for the organisation, as we carved out our vision and goals in those early days. As a business partner I could not have wished for better. The decisions we took were joint decisions and always the richer for Richard's clear principles and integrity. I would often describe our individual contributions as the 'body' and the 'soul' of the organisation, as I presented the commercial arguments for a decision and Richard made sure that it was anchored in our shared values.
The organisation we know today is a product of this relationship and the balance which Richard brought to the equation. Whilst we will no longer be able to enjoy his companionship and guidance, his influence will remain in all that we do as we continue to ask the question 'what would Richard do now'!
23 September 2013
Change takes time. A bit of an obvious statement, but a lesson I am always having to re-learn.
Just this last week we returned from a Talent Development programme in the US, where we were working with a longstanding client, with interests across all continents.
Size is not the greatest barrier to change, but it doesn't make things any easier. This particular company employs almost 70,000 people, globally, and the programme which we ran had at least ten different nationalities present - with English being a second language for most participants.
Yet the culture of a company - how it gets things done - transcends any difference in national culture, providing a strong 'golden thread' which, in this case, is immediately apparent wherever in the world we find ourselves working with the business.
When such a culture needs to shift, strength can become a weakness. Moving the tectonic plates of global culture, enough to make a difference, but not so much that you loose the essence of the business, is something which we have observed with great interest over the years.
Initially, nothing seemed to change. For years our probing for anecdotes to support evidence of change, yielded nothing of significance, but just recently the anecdotes have begun to emerge - almost ten years from the time when the seeds of change were being sown.
During this time, new processes have been launched and re-structuring has taken place (more than once), but the underpinning system of beliefs which make up a strong and enduring culture are infinitely more difficult to move.
It's a credit to those at the top who have the vision and resilience to see it through, and a lesson to those who are involved in the sharp end of behavioural change, to 'keep faith' and trust that the right decisions, implemented in the right way, will eventually delivery the right results.