Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Korea Facing: Countermeasures

By Don Southerton, BCW Editor
When I first began coaching at both Hyundai and then Kia Motors a few of the older highly experienced industry veterans got some satisfaction in pointing out "issues." More so, if they had previously warned the Korean team what would happen if the company took a certain approach and it ultimately failed to meet expectations. It's no surprise that tensions ran high.

My strategy to improve relations was to persuade the American team that pointing out "issues" wasn't culturally productive. It was obvious to all when mistakes and poor judgements surfaced. Moreover, Koreans often took a trial and error approach. What was needed were "counter-measures," an English term the Korean teams were using.

This mindset was reconfirmed a few years later while conducting a team building leadership workshop. In the discussion, one of the Korean participants pointed out that they looked for at least 3 options to solve a situation. He went on to explain that in Korea when a problem surfaced, they would prepare at least 3 or more "counter-measures" providing a solution for senior leadership to review.

Just pointing out the problem, he said, which is common in the West was not productive--noting that his boss already knew there was a problem. They want to see options. Most often the best approach turned out to be a combination of the 3 possible solutions.

My Suggestion
When issues and problems surface be the one to step forward with solutions.

1 comment:

  1. When I launched the division of Samsung that covered Mobile phones fax m/c etc etc in the UK and then rolled it out over Europe etc from there . It was clear to me that they were totally reliant on my plans, it was only some years later that I discovered they had a plan B and C .. what I think you are now calling countermeasures, but that was then. Now we are working with several of the international trade arms of the Korean gov't. I see the success of our past history has left a 'trust' in going forward to the future. Koreans in business are agressive in a positive way. I find them easy to work with, and as a result of having spent so much time there and working with Koreans around the globe.. Korean food is my most favourite.