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How to reach the K2 summit in democratically managed organization

Friday, 11 May, 2018
@Monika Ciesielska

Most of the candidates, which I am interviewing, while being asked about their style of managing people, provide me with an answer, that it is a democratic one. But is it really? In general, you can say so, but in reality, it is always the boss, who is making the final decision and choosing the solution from those proposed by others. At corporations, medium and small companies, the boss is closing the brainstorming session and points the project, which will be a priority. Some people say, that a good boss, will moderate the discussion in a way, that allows him to achieve his own goals and in addition make people think, that it was their common decision.

But what if you need to deal with twenty-three bosses?

That is exactly what I am facing, having the privilege of taking the seat of the President at IMSA International Executive Search, a global network of headhunting companies. The aim of IMSA is to associate headhunting, boutique, privately-owned firms, with the exclusive representation of one firm by one country. We are 23 countries at the moment, which basically means, that we are twenty-three Managing Directors within IMSA, representing different cultures, coming from the different business environments, sharing different views. Some of us are very mature, with even 30 years of experience in headhunting business, some have opened their own business only a few years ago. We differ from each other, and so are our expectations towards IMSA.

What we have in common are shared values, alike business approach against Clients and Candidates, responsibility for the professional change in the Candidate’s life, and the business model, which still is a bit different in each country, considering the specifics of the markets.

Now, please imagine that you want to stand on the top of K2 during winter

You want to achieve that together with you cooperates, your team members. After all the analyses you have made, you know exactly which path is the right one and hundred percent sure of what you are saying. But you cannot tell your team members what to do. You need to convince them. And their idea of choosing the path is different than yours.

And now, you are at 7200 meters, sitting in the camp. The weather window is opening in few hours and at this time you know, that you can win K2. And you hear the voices of the team members referring to the weather conditions, safety on the way back, considering taking the oxygen, showing you the risks, which should be considered. Some of your mates are sure about taking the challenge, some are not.

You have two choices

You can leave the team and become Denis Urubko of your business sector, or you can start listening, discussing, and making the decisions altogether. That is exactly what IMSA taught me. Humility and ability to listen and to learn from each other, as well as empathy in business and understanding of unexpected circumstances. It is really tough, especially when you are determined to achieve so much and you want to make it as fast as possible. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how fast you were going. What really matters is that you stand at the peak of K2, together with all your team members and your success is the success of the others. So take your time, listen to the suggestions, and at the right time, hit the summit.

And when you eventually stand at the top of K2, looking at this magnificent view on the mountains and at the smiling faces of the team members. At this point, you realize, how lucky you are, that you had this amazing opportunity of sharing the knowledge and opinions with all those wise men, even if their views differed from yours. But you were able to take the best of it, to gain more information and to adjust or even change your idea, which you assumed was perfect. And you could also be wrong. Consider that.

K2 is waiting to be reached in winter. And we are sitting at camp 3. We are close. Wish us luck!

Author: Monika Ciesielska

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