JADE Team members share their experience at workshops of the European Institute for Industrial Leadership

Every member of JADE has the opportunity to take part in the workshops organised by our long-term partner, the European Institute of Industrial Leadership (EIIL). There, we can interact with professionals from well-known companies across Europe, for a new type of learning experience through an exciting exchange of ideas. Each workshop is focused on one specific subject, which is explored by the participants following the EIIL Masterclass Methodology. Two members of JADE Team shared their experiences for you all.

“Multi-Cultural Negotiating & Influencing”, 19th and 20th of September

In September, some members of JADE had the opportunity to participate at a workshop taught by the European Institute of Industrial Leadership (EIIL), in order to enhance their knowledge on a hot topic for business. Taking place between the 19th and the 20th, it was called “Multi-Cultural Negotiating & Influencing” and gathered members of important European companies, such as Bayer Material Science or CB&I.

On the first day, we started by discussing the concept of negotiation and the importance of developing this ability in order to build and maintain relationships and partnerships. All of us shared our experience and gave inputs regarding this topic, as our final goal was to put together a guide for efficient and successful negotiations. After this reflection, we started to build a negotiation plan. In the process, we used the Masterclass Methodology of EIIL, which consists in acquiring information through practice. Therefore, we conducted a series of interviews with professionals, who had had experience in this field and were willing to explore the topic with us.

We interviewed four businessmen who worked in various markets in the world, such as Brazil, China, Russia and parts of Africa. The first two interviewees were Dirk Wegg, General Manager of the Global Bluechip Energy Program in Siemens, who spoke about his involvement in Russia; and Denis Hicks, Director in Huntsman, who was happy to share his negotiation experience in China. Next, we had Anne Betts-Walker, former Head of Learning and Development at the World Trade Organisation, who spoke about Africa; and Guido Bognolo, an independent Consultant and recognized world authority on surfacing chemistry and on innovation in the chemical industry, with whom we focused on Brazil. For these interviews, we asked questions that would satisfy our need to develop a negotiation plan that had to be presented at the end of the workshop.

By participating in this workshop, I learnt that the preparation phase of a negotiation is very important, especially if it takes place in the context of an international market. At the same time, studying multiculturalism in business constitutes an advantage, since this can enhance the chance of having more and better partnerships.

Key learnings from the workshop:

  • Different cultures have different approach to negotiation. Eg: In China, people would like to know your position inside to company in order to work with you, as they pay attention to the hierarchical structure inside the company.
  • Negotiation should take place in the country where the “work” will be done in order to understand the culture. You and the team should be prepared to adapt to a different environment. Eg: You could have a lot of knowledge of Russia, but you may not know the internal environment and things might be different than you expected.
  • It is important, when you negotiate with Brazilians to understand a bit of their economy and politics. Eg: I will be useful to know who is the actual president or the expression that Brazil is a BRIC country, having a stable internal economy.

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“Leading Projects”, 15th and 16th of October

During the 15th and 16th of October, representatives of JADE, Bayer Material Science and CB&I got together for two intense days of enhancing their knowledge about Project Management.

The discussion started with notions about the differences between projects and processes, effective Project Management, a project’s life-cycle and also the phases of the project. Also we learned about how the Project Manager has the most influence in the first phases, decreasing towards the end, where the stakeholders are the ones having the most influence on the outcome. Of course, we also talked about the role of a Project Manager and used EIIL’s Masterclass methodology to gather more information about the necessary skills for such a position, the difference between Project Management and Line/General Management and also best practices to put to use for improving our work in this area. For this part, we had 4 guest interviewees: Peter Leuders, Head of PDTC (Process Development Technology Center) at Bayer Material Science, Arjen Schulpen, Project Engineer at Shell, Erik Fiolet, Project Manager at CB&I and Harley Lovegrove, Chairman and Managing Partner of The Bayard Partnership.

Key learnings of this workshop:

  • Definition of the scope is of utmost importance – Do the right project!
  • Planning and execution need to be prepared and followed through – Do the project right!
  • Project Management is like a game of chess. You need to protect your king (the team), by making all your other pieces work together and support it (seniors, line managers, general managers etc.)
  • The skills? They can be divided in four areas: Project Management skills (planning, work breakdown structures, managing budgets), business skills (negotiation, persuasion, mediation of conflicts), personal skills (very good communication, diplomacy, critical thinking) and knowledge about the subject (not mandatory, but useful when understanding the work of your team members). Of course, this is just a quick preview, since the list of skills and adjacent explanation can continue for many more lines;

With the newly gained knowledge, we look forward to our Project Management challenges!