As part of the AMBA accredited MBA at Westminster University, we are required to complete an international study trip to experience how business is conducted in different countries and with different cultural approaches to leadership.
Arriving in Uzbekistan
We arrived in Uzbekistan not knowing what to expect and after two intense days of sightseeing we settled into the impressive facilities of Westminster International University in Tashkent. Before meeting our clients, we took part in a session about perceptions and how each of us would likely view the days to follow differently. From past experience I’ve learnt to avoid assumptions and try to, as far as possible, remain objective when experiencing new situations. However, this was a good opportunity to review and discuss our preconceptions about what director attributes we expected to encounter when meeting our clients and use this as a tool for reflection throughout the process.
We met senior leadership representatives from Anglesey Food, Murad Buildings and CLICK; a technology company who developed a popular digital payment app used across Uzbekistan. I was excited to be appointed the CEO of a group of 6 MBA consultants working as the shadow advisory board for CLICK. My first impression of the director attributes displayed in all three companies was that they were highly entrepreneurial and innovative in their approach to doing business. They all had a strong vison for how they would take their business forward but we identified potential areas for growth and development in terms of stewardship. Murad Buildings faced challenges in recruiting experienced professionals due to a lack of established recruitment channels other than word of mouth and social media channels, which is mainly used by new graduates. There is also no formal HR qualification offered as yet in Uzbekistan, so we identified the potential to develop their in house capabilities and procedures to improve this. After a productive meeting with CLICK, we were able to further drill down and identify three primary areas for development which included; organisational structure, corporate governance and internal communications, which we recommended they address before growing the company further. We also made some secondary recommendations to help develop their marketing and financial strategy in the long term.
Self learning and development
During this process I learnt a lot about myself as a leader in that I don’t need to embody all 10 director attributes to be an effective facilitator and consultant. I also saw real value in the process of collaboration between myself, my team and CLICK, in that we were all able to contribute ideas from different perspectives, bringing a variety of skills and life experiences to the project, which ultimately lead to a positive outcome for our client and strong potential to continue our relationship in future.
During my twelve years working as a secondary school teacher my aim was to always support my students in arriving at the answer themselves through targeted questioning and positive reinforcement, throughout this experience I realised that my style of leadership and consultancy is very much the same. However, I recognised that I am more patient with young people and at times I found myself hurrying my team along in order to stick to the tight deadline. During a conversation with a leader, for whom I have the greatest respect, he told me that he always allows others to own their ideas even if he has already thought of it himself, which really resonated with me and will be something I try to do more of in future.
Invaluable learning experience
Leaving Uzbekistan broke my heart, not only was it an invaluable learning experience but also an amazing opportunity to visit a country I would not have ordinarily thought of going to. The people we met, the delicious food, the generosity and first rate hospitality shown to us was beyond any of our expectations. Thank you to everyone in Tashkent who made our stay so memorable and special. I will defiantly be back!
This post was written by Janine Hornsby, Account Executive here at Prospect Research.
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