How I changed from monitoring to partnering with our Value Creation team
Author: Tran Thi Huong Giang, Senior Executive Assistant at Mekong Capital
January 03, 2024
Last year, I had a responsibility to ensure that the Value Creation team had a sufficient number of conversations with our Investee companies focusing on Vision Driven Investing elements (VDI). I approached this task by focusing on my KPI (Key Performance Indicators) and the team’s KPI, meticulously organizing meetings, and closely monitoring the team’s progress. To ensure the number of VDI conversations was met, I scheduled meetings to track and monitor the members of the Value Creation team. I had specific agendas and regularly checked the team members’ KPIs.
I believed that my approach was the only way to achieve the desired numbers, so I carried on, thinking I was doing the right thing. However, what I didn’t expect was the overwhelming resistance from the team. It felt as though they saw me as a strict teacher assigning tasks to students, completely disempowering them. The situation left me feeling frustrated and unhappy. The thought of attending those meetings became unbearable, as it reminded me of how I was micromanaging their every move. I longed for a change, a shift towards a true partnership where we could work together towards a shared goal. Desperate for guidance, I opened up to my mentor during our weekly review. I expressed my deep concerns about my policing approach and how it made me feel stifled. It was then that my mentor suggested that we reinvent the way we worked with the Value Creation team, as that was the Mekong way – always embracing innovation and reinvention.
My mentor’s words resonated with me, and I made a conscious decision to shift my approach. Instead of checking and tracking, I created a safe and open space for the team members to share their achievements and struggles. During our meetings, they were encouraged to reflect and come up with their own actions. I asked them how I could support them in achieving better results, emphasizing that we were a team. We organized around their commitments and invited them to propose ways we could work together. It was a journey of trials and errors, but we persisted.
After some time of implementing this new approach, I received valuable feedback from the team. They felt more empowered and engaged in their work. Our meetings no longer had a strict agenda; instead, we focused on each investee company’s priorities and identified which VDI intentions could help the investee companies to fulfill their quarterly goals. Besides focusing on the quantity of VDI conversations, we also pay attention to the effectiveness of those conversations. As a result, I felt much happier working alongside the Value Creation team as a true partner. And, most importantly, the team was on track with their VDI conversations.
I realized that true empowerment came from taking the stand of how I could be the cause in the matter to partner with the team to achieve our shared committed results. It was a fulfilling partnership and the power of reinvention.
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Mekong Capital makes investments in consumer-driven businesses and adds substantial value to those companies based on its proven framework called Vision Driven Investing. Our investee companies are typically among the fastest-growing companies in Vietnam’s consumer sectors.
In January 2022, Mekong Capital founder Chris Freund published Crab Hotpot, a story about a bunch of crabs who found themselves stuck in a boiling pot. The colorful cover of “Crab Hot Pot,” complete with expressive cartoon crustaceans, looks like a children’s tale at first glance. But as one continues reading, it becomes clear that the work has an important message about organizational transformation, leadership and focusing on a clear vision for the future.