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