Need “content” for discussion!
I ran the executive ed. workshop for global leadership program for the Japanese company this week. I had some difficulty getting people to talk, but I called on everybody to express their views. (It was like pulling the teeth!) During the workshop, I emphasized the need to develop discussion skills in English in order to operate as a leader today.
I came to think, however, that the discussion skills and contents go hand in hand. (It is so obvious, but it took me some experience at the Annual Meeting in Davos of the World Economic Forum.) I was able to share my view and my knowledge related to the gap between Demand & Supply in terms of human capital today and the result of the research we did about the gap in talent by country, by industry and by job classification in 2020 and 2030. It happened during the session entitle Human Capital Context on the first day.
Then later, I participated in the brainstorming session to close the economic gender gap. Japan is one of the three countries selected for the task force effort by the Women Empowerment council, in addition to Mexico and Turkey. I was very impressed with the activities already underway in Turkey and passion/energy by the people involved. As for Japan, only the kick off meeting of the task force took place recently, and not much has been done yet. As I felt I had little to discuss about the initiatives in Japan, all I was able to do during the brainstorming was to ask questions. I was quite discouraged at having so little to contribute.
These two experiences taught me that you need to have “content” for discussion. If you have a clear view and innovative insight and/or facts and analysis, you can join the discussion and get a lot out of it. On the other hand, when you have so little to offer, you get so little. I was crushed at this discovery.
It was a a tough experience, but at the same time, showed me what I need to do in the future. Discussion skills and “contents” have to go hand in hand.