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Case Study Five

International Trading House - Appraisal and Performance Management

What was their need

Japanese Managers sent to Europe with no real management or cultural training were dropped into the role of leading and managing European Managers and Staff. This produced a predictable east/west culture and understanding clash. Beliefs about how Europeans were motivated resulted in a lack of clear direction and accountability.

The Japanese difficulty with personal confrontation and meaningful engagement did little to help. The analytic (and worldwide) habit of only communicating when things were not working well created an unhealthy distrust which affected all areas of the operation. Equally European views on Leadership, Communication and Commitment meant that behaviours natural and acceptable to the Japanese were grossly misinterpreted and this increased distrust and antipathy. Low motivation and morale, antipathy and resignation were common.

The Progress Solution

Managers at all levels attended mini workshops covering leadership styles, performance management and objective setting. These provided the concepts to explore the differences and produced a new range of options for the managers. The use of a number of case studies provided the opportunity to see how the concepts could be applied and why it was important to open up discussions about the ‘un-discussable issues’ and the benefits of doing this as well as the predictable consequences of not. A series of light hearted role-plays created the vision of how things could work, using the recommended techniques.

All staff to be appraised also attended mini workshops to learn what to expect from their appraisal and why there were significant differences in Japanese. They were also given guidance as to how to contribute positively to the performance management discussions and processes.

What was the Outcome

Resistance to attending the management workshops was very high to begin with but after the first few sessions, word spread and delegates arrived with more open minds and were happy to explore solutions and discuss their people and their issues.

Appraisal returns showed a significant improvement and there were a good number of requests for guidance from those who were less confident about the process. The discussions around development, performance management and beliefs and expectations relaxed a lot of frigid relationships. Positive working relationships have developed and the culture has become more ‘diverse’, productive and team focused.








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