Team Management Systems

Spending Money to Make Money: An investment in training delivers ROI for a major bank

By Peter Nixon
Copyright © Potential Dialogue. All rights reserved.

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A Large Emerging Markets Bank "LEM Bank" had successfully upgraded its procurement and vendor management "PVM" department, achieving significant cost efficiencies and supply improvements. However, the business required further efficiencies in line with its successful growth strategy, and a more advanced approach was needed to take advantage of opportunities in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. On the basis of the successful two-day Star Negotiator Procurement Workshops co-presented by Potential Dialogue and senior management from LEM Bank, I was asked for ideas to address this situation.


In response to the situation, I facilitated a short session for PVM's global management committee during their annual meeting in Hong Kong. This session highlighted the key areas requiring focus for the year, one of which was to improve dialog internally, in order to generate solutions to the tough questions, negotiate the changes required and optimize success. Working with PVM senior management, Potential designed a one-day workshop combining financial analysis, dialog skills and team management skills. These bilingual workshops were run in Hong Kong (English and Cantonese), Shanghai and Taipei (English and Mandarin).

It was good to be able to administer the Team Management Profile Questionnaire (TMPQ) in both Simplified and Traditional Mandarin, as it was easier for the Mandarin-speaking participants to respond in their own language. Potential provided the trainers and continuity from previous work with PVM. The financial analysis was high level financial statement analysis designed to help the procurement professionals spot vendor issues and opportunities for dialog. Dialog skills were developed using live issues, exercises and assessments aimed at providing feedback on both what to say and how to say it when talking to internal clients and teammates throughout mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The team management skills were enhanced using the Team Management Profile (TMP).


As a result of this intervention the Procurement and Vendor Management teams across the region have become considerably stronger and more aligned in this fast growing market. Thanks to the bilingual facilitation, opportunity for dialog, insights as to how their teams compare across the region and the value of the workshop content presented, the participants were motivated throughout the workshop and have already implemented most of the recommendations arising from the workshop.

While it has only been a few months since completion of these workshops the PVM teams are more cohesive and in demand than ever before. The recession has actually given PVM members a boost because other LEM Bank departments are now calling upon them to assist with cost reductions and find ways to negotiate savings on existing contracts. Their dialog skills are being put to the test and opportunities for cost improvements are surfacing as a result. The use and transparency of the Team Management Profile has facilitated management's response to the team's strengths and weaknesses in the region.

My work with this bank's international procurement teams has focused primarily on negotiating supply contracts and has extended to include teamwork and dialog. The negotiation advice has led to material savings far in excess of the cost of the training. The teamwork and dialog facilitation has led to efficiencies in project teams - the results of which also surpass the cost of the training. Team Management Systems has been an integral part of the team members' awareness leading to improved efficiencies on the projects and a more collaborative teamwork environment.

Copyright © Potential Dialogue. All rights reserved.

Peter is author of Dialogue Gap ("one of the best business books published this century" - SCMP August 2012) and Negotiation - Mastering Business in Asia. As speaker, consultant, trainer, coach and advisor Peter has spent the last decade helping senior leaders of MNC's, global firms, local, state and national governments, charities and NGO's to focus on their most important dialogues and assemble key stakeholders to discuss the issues, in the right way, at the right time, and in the right space. Peter has been named to half a dozen Boards in Canada and Hong Kong. Prior to consulting Peter was an external auditor with Coopers & Lybrand (PwC) in Montreal, Geneva and Hong Kong. Peter has degrees from Bishop’s, McGill and Leicester and has studied at U of A, Harvard, INSEAD and Fielding. Peter speaks to audiences at WPO-YPO, EO, HKU/LBS/Columbia EMBA, McGill, Royal Roads, Singapore Institute of Management, HK Management Association, Razak School of Government and various chambers and membership groups around the world. When not busy Peter enjoys family and community endeavors in the rural settings of Discovery Bay (Hong Kong), Mt. Tremblant, and Lac Des Iles (Quebec).

For more information please contact Peter at or visit

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