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Necessary changes for success in AEC

"How can leaders transform their companies' cultures so they succeed at the next level, in an increasingly competitive environment?" That was the first question asked of 25 senior executives at a recent workshop offered by 1-2-Win, ENPEO, and Vivo Coaching.

While the Asean Economic Community will present new opportunities for corporations operating in the region, there is a particular challenge facing companies in Thailand: Whereas several other Asean countries are improving their competitiveness steadily, Thailand's has stagnated since 2006, according to the World Economic Forum's competitiveness report for 2013-14.

Three key success factors for organisations in Thailand were identified by Jean-Francois Cousin (1-2-Win) and Dr Gerrit Pelzer (Vivo Coaching), two executive coaches based in Thailand for more than a decade. They were accountability, engagement and collaboration - yes, the acronym is "AEC" too.

Throughout their research, Cousin and Pelzer noted that "nothing can cripple an organisation's performance much more than lack of collaboration across departments. Big egos, silo-thinking and 'blame cultures' prevent companies from leveraging their full potential and achieving optimum performance."

Joined by Martin Aldergard, a founding partner of ENPEO, they challenged the senior executives in the room: Why do so many brilliantly crafted action plans ultimately fail?

What keeps employees from doing what they know they should do in order to achieve the firm's goals? How might a leader's thinking generate "toxic" behaviour among employees, or prevent them from showing more of the desired "healthy" behaviour?

An answer is to be found inside leaders' and employees' mindsets: it is their thinking, beliefs and values that trigger their behaviour … and can prevent them from actually doing the things they ought to do.

One simple illustration from everyday life is weight loss. "Losing weight is actually easy," Pelzer said. "All you need to do is eat less and exercise more." However, why do so many people fail to control their weight?

The problem isn't not knowing what to do. The problem is about the beliefs people have about food. "As long as you believe that you need chocolate or ice cream to feel good, or sweets to cope with stress, you are unlikely to change your eating habits." In coaching language, such beliefs are called "limiting beliefs". To change our behaviour, we first need to replace limiting beliefs with "enabling beliefs". An enabling belief for weight loss may be "Food is fuel for my body; I don't need to get feelings from it."

After aligning their beliefs, leaders must choose the behaviour they need to adopt, to enable more accountability, engagement and collaboration across their organisation.

Jean-Francois Cousin (jfc@1-2-win.net) and Dr Gerrit Pelzer (gerrit@vivocoaching.com), as executive coaches, and Martin Aldergard (martin@enpeo.com) as learning design specialist, focus on helping companies transform mindsets and behaviour for success in the AEC.


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