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The Power of Teamwork: Transforming Organisations for Sustainable Development

The Power of Teamwork: Transforming Organisations for Sustainable Development

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The HEAD Foundation’s public lecture was held to a full capacity audience on 17 September 2015. Professor Uichol Kim, Professor at the College of Business Administration, Inha University, Korea, presented on the topic of ‘The Power of Teamwork: Transforming Organisations for Sustainable Development.’

On behalf of Mr David Clegg, Managing Director of the HEAD Foundation, The Foundation’s Academic Director Professor Henrik Bresman welcomed the audience which included directors and executives from various industries. Professor Uichol Kim, who has done extensive research in the area of psychology, found that what was interesting was that a lot of research on psychology and leadership was done at American universities, and while the findings were relevant there, they may not work in other societies. Central to that finding was the importance of collaboration.

Professor Kim, who is also a psychologist, spoke of his research which found that sustainable development requires a new economic platform that encourages cooperation across industries, governments and NGOs. It also requires a change in mindset – creativity and innovation being vital. This platform of social responsibility comes about when individuals are engaged as a team, working together to change organizations and taking the lead in sustainable development. For business and companies to be competitive on the global stage, they need to overcome cultural barriers and use cultural diversity as a driving source of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. These require an understanding of cultural variations and promote diverse individuals to engage in effective teams.

Professor Kim explained that business is not about making money but creating values. He shared several insights on business by quoting Peter Drucker, a leader in the development of management consultancy. Some of the pointers shared were that ‘The best way to predict the future is to create it’ and that when ‘Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right thing.’ He cited Steve Jobs as a successful leader and Kun-hee Lee of Samsung as a successful team builder.  Professor Kim reiterated that unless you create teams, you cannot be successful.

The new trend in organization is a model based on cooperation, collaboration and co-creation, as a new organisation has to be inspiring. This new model focuses on talent development and management in which individuals collaborate. As competition creates stress, what is important is collaboration. When people work in silos they cannot effectively communicate with one another, which contributes to stress in the individual and the workplace.

Some of the crucial ideas expressed in the lecture is the idea of the ‘Science of mindfulness,’ the importance of the limbic area in building relationships and how we go to them to help calm us in crises or during uncertainties. This new model is based on cooperation, and we have to be engaged. Professor Kim reiterated that the most important predictor of academic achievement is having supportive, caring parents. When students have supportive parents, they excel. Our parents are of paramount importance because they help us to understand reality and provide the social support that is the most important predictor of academic achievement.

Professor Kim concluded the session by sharing some final thoughts on the topic of the evening. Some of the questions left for us to ponder were whether we are ready for the future or are we stuck in the past. He concluded with advice for the participants to get out of their ‘silos’ and work with different people because ‘You are the most creative when you work with people who are different’ and ‘The greatest barrier is not an organizational barrier. It is the barrier within yourself.’

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