Besides the obvious health concerns related to COVID-19, the pandemic has spurred two other, major challenges for companies. The first is how to navigate the remote/hybrid work model. The second is how to attract and retain workers given the Great-Resignation trend of workers leaving companies to find workplaces that better align with their values and dreams. This week’s guest, Tim Robbins, is intimately familiar with both of those challenges. His latest book is centered around the need to provide employees with psychological safety, inclusivity, constructive “sweaty-palm” conversations (to resolve conflict) and an overall caring approach. Join me for an episode focused on creating team-spirit from a former Major League baseball pitching prospect.
Mike Robbins is the author of four previous books. He’s a speaker, consultant, and thought leader whose clients have included organizations like Google, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, Gap, and the Oakland A’s. Besides being a regular contributor to Forbes, Robbins’ work has been featured in The Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, and NPR.
In essence, the distrust that must be overcome in business partnerships involving large companies and startups consists of Will they screw up? versus Will they screw us over? In other words, large companies inevitably harbor concerns about the competency and reliability of their startup partners. In turn, entrepreneurs rightly worry that they will be taken advantage of, with their I.P. being co-opted or outright stolen. To establish trust rather than fear isn’t easy, as Dr. Prashantham acknowledges in this episode. Distrust can only be resolved by establishing how the partnership is a true win-win. At the same time, the person at the “bridge” on the corporation’s side must be at once an advocate, a diplomat, and mentor, spanning boundaries within the corporation to bring multiple business units on-board to ensure the collaboration can succeed. All this and more gets covered in this episode, which concludes by exploring how the answer to the question, “What’s the next China?” may actually be China outside of its largest, showcase cities.
Dr. Shameen Prasantham is Professor of International Business & Strategy and Associate Dean (MBA) at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai, China. His academic specialty is business partnerships that contribute to sustainable development goals.