The Korea Business Leaders Alliance (KBLA) held a case study lunch on Friday, April 24, at the Hyatt Hotel to discuss a theoretical and yet plausible case study about Korean business. Senior business leaders, both Korean and foreign, from a wide variety of industries in Korea talked together about what should be done about a local branch manager of an international company when his vision and understanding did not match up with headquarters. The insights presented by the KBLA members were enlightening.
The case study asked who has the moral authority in determining organizational direction, the man on the ground or the boss back in HQ? When points of view differ greatly, how is the situation resolved? When data is inconclusive, how do organizations make decisions? Is it ever okay to do nothing at all?
The KBLA designed the lunch meeting to help equip its members to work through tough problems that they will most likely encounter in the local working enfironment and better lead their organizations through difficult, multi-party decision making processes. The KBLA Case Study Lunch is held bi-monthly and the cases usually deal with organizational dilemmas, ethical issues, legal and regulatory pitfalls, and cultural obstacles.
Steve McKinney, co-founder of the KBLA, explained the rationale behind putting senior leaders into tough hypothetical situations by saying, “No one, no matter how smart or how experienced, knows everything. We all benefit from learning how other people solve problems or by being exposed to key knowledge we didn't even know we were missing. We created the KBLA Case Study Lunch to simulate the environment of the real world, and I think it does that well. When you put a bunch of smart, knowledgeable, experienced executives together in the same room, and watch them work on a tough problem together, it's a magical experience. Everyone learns. Everyone goes home smarter.”
As Korea’s engagement with the international community continues to deepen, broaden, and mature, new organizations and mechanisms like the KBLA are springing to life to ensure that business leaders in Korea have the same opportunities for ongoing professional enrichment and peer networking they would have in any other city.
McKinney continued to explain why these meetings were a natural choice for the KBLA, saying, “Our members are experienced leaders who understand the business, legal, and regulatory environment in Korea. So, we have a lot to offer each other. A lot of learning goes on, of course, but more importantly good relationships are built through the exercise. Relationship building is in the KBLA's DNA. Building trusting, lasting, peer relationships is at the center of everything the KBLA does and those relationships are the real takeaway from the Case Study Lunch. After going through the process, after experiencing all the interactions, our members leave with better, closer relationships with each other. That's invaluable.”