Back to Middle Matters

Scaling Alignment: Creating Safety for Stakeholder Conversations

September 5, 2023

We shared an insightful Tuesday afternoon with Ute (Chief People Officer, GudangAda), Michael (Country Head People & Culture, Carsome), and Fukuko (Program Lead at NewCampus), and 10 diverse HR leaders from across Southeast Asia, discussing the high and lows of scaling alignment at startups.

We could have let the session run for a few hours, but here are our main takeaways from the 60 minutes  seachange circle session:

  1. 🤝 “Managing stakeholders is not about transactions, it’s about building relationships”: Bridging two different groups of stakeholders (the seasoned and structured with the young and agile) through a shared OKR and similarities.
  2. 🚗 “It’s not only about the context but also the journey”: By spending more time and having more exposure to diverse people, you will learn how to be more flexible and embrace diversity. There is an art of communication that you need to apply, you understand the story and expectation behind that context to build trust and scale the conversation.
  3. 🫂 “Feel, felt, found”: I feel the same as you that you’re in trouble, I felt the same if I were in your position, but I found out actually it has another way to do this. Managing difficult conversations involves letting the stakeholder express themselves, empathising with their situation, and finding alternate options together.
  4. ☁️ “We need to stay calm”: No matter how young or senior you are as an HR, you need to be at the same level as your stakeholder in terms of maturity. Stay calm, and see things clearly before reacting to anything that is unnecessary.
  5. 📢 “Create a healthy balance of responsibility with our stakeholders”: Even though you are fluid, it’s important to state in the beginning what is your role. HR can accompany them, but delivering good and bad news themselves can help them grow. The impact is beyond the conversation itself, they can build more confidence and learn what leadership really means.
  6. 💜 “The presence of HR is a synergy to the business”: HR can prove its value and presence through consistency. The business can reach its outcome by onboarding all stakeholders together. Start by having a clear agenda and ensure the organisation has the capacity and capability to deliver.

seachange is a community for HR professionals at SEA startups, past and present. Join us in the upcoming learning circle.

Continue reading