Client Challenge: "Our company was recently acquired by another one, and there are still a lot of unknowns. We are in the midst of streamlining the new corporate learning function. This is proving difficult, as both sides have opposite views of the services we should offer, based on our respective legacy companies.
Company A (the acquirer) focused on training delivery, supporting all requests, whereas Company B (the acquired) focused on being a business partner, supporting only strategically relevant development requests. I have tried to make my point of view heard but I only encounter resistance and hostility. They see me as a threat.”
- Manager L&D, Communications Sector
Our Advice: Build Bridges
When two people or groups disagree fundamentally with each other, good intentions are rarely assumed. Your first focus should be to change the other side’s perception of you as a threat. The more you push your viewpoint forward, the more you will destroy trust. And trust is one of the critical elements you need for collaboration.
How do you build trust? Through dialogue. Start building relationships and forging deep connections with the other side, one-on-one, through listening to them and speaking their language. Put yourself in their shoes, see through their eyes. Build empathy. Find out how you could help them be more successful, given what’s important for them.
In the meantime, you can spread your influence further afield, and find out who in your organisation needs what you want to offer. Begin building a network of stakeholders who can be your third party influencers.
And last but not least, gain clarity on who is responsible for what. Both views on the role of the corporate learning function are valid. They both have their pros and cons. Whose mandate is it to balance the trade-off? If it is your boss, then start working in the background, coaching your boss to take the lead until you are no longer perceived to be a threat.
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