Culture and relationship: What beats at the heart of TPCL Germany

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There’s no doubt TPC Leadership has travelled a long way from where it began. We’ve spent the last few months reflecting on that journey across the world. From TPCL’s first breaths to our first global partnerships, and beyond to the inception of TPCL Southeast Asia and India, and TPCL Turkey and Romania.

Now we focus on our newer offices, Germany and Switzerland, in a mini-series of three blog posts. Here, we turn the spotlight on Germany.

We’re joined by Managing Partners Dr. Ulrich Schlattmann and Dr. Thomas-Navin Lal, who lead our Berlin and Cologne offices. With doctorates in economic psychology and neuroscience respectively, they bring rich insight to the TPCL family. Here they dive into the story of the struggles they have overcome and the challenges that lie ahead.

How culture makes partnerships easy

“We decided to take the step together,” says Navin. “Ulrich and I were managing partners of another company. When we connected with TPCL, our relationships with the other partners were so good and I thought so highly of them that it was obviously a natural fit. We felt we could immediately step on stage here and start delivering training without a lot of preambles.”

Coming from a classical consulting background, Navin and Ulrich were both highly experienced at delivering coaching and training. But after going independent, Ulrich says that entering into the TPCL culture was powerful, primarily because of the priority we place upon relationship.

“The human factor is probably the most important issue for people at TPCL,” he says. “So the culture is very collaborative and open. And of course, at the same time everyone is passionate about their work – it’s a powerful combination.”

Beyond the borders of what was possible

Because Navin and Ulrich had already worked together for a long time, they had a lot of momentum behind them once they started with TPCL. Their business was growing in double digits each year, and they were beginning to serve significant multinational companies in a number of countries, not Germany alone.

“TPCL is a great platform for international growth,” says Navin. “The network and coverage makes it much easier to deliver for clients beyond our borders. So now when I need a specialist, I can just shoot out an email to the partners’ network. This is the kind of support that just wouldn’t be possible in a small regional company.”

In addition to extending their reach, TPCL partnerships have enabled Navin and Ulrich to begin delivering training with consistent quality and approach across the world.

“This is important when helping a global client develop a consistent culture across their organisation,” he says. “From their perspective, when they roll out a big leadership training programme, it makes sense to have the same approach in each country (with different cultural components) to avoid organisational friction.“

Culture – the distinguishing factor

Developing a consistent culture has been a recurring theme for TPCL Germany. Navin and Ulrich have worked across a vast spectrum of businesses, consulting in both the German startup scene and with classical corporations. But everywhere they go, culture has been one of the most pressing issues.

“The need to earn high salaries is probably a bit smaller than it used to be,” says Ulrich. “People still care about it but they also want to be able to identify with their organisation and feel fulfilled. This is becoming more and more important for employers everywhere.”

Ulrich mentions a scale-up that recognised the need to create this kind of culture. In just three years, their numbers had increased to 1,000 people but they hadn’t yet invested in a coaching and training programme. So they sought out Navin and Ulrich’s expertise.

“We had a lot of valuable discussions about the culture,” says Ulrich. “Which is the most important thing when you’re looking for talent on the market in Europe. If people are searching for a new job, they will look on Glassdoor, and they will try to learn what the culture is like. It’s the first thing talent will look at, even before the salary.”

Leadership development is in the zeitgeist

Navin and Ulrich are noticing that more and more leaders in Germany want training and coaching. And they are realising the importance of being developed on a human level as well as a corporate level.

There is one case in particular that Navin notes as one of his highlights. He was working to help two senior leaders who didn’t trust one another, and who needed to resolve this relational issue. It took a number of months but after a set of coaching sessions, they began to work through their differences.

“It was very intense for them,” says Navin. “For me the key moment was the first time someone made a joke in a session and everyone laughed. It was a turning point because we hadn’t seen that for months. I pointed this out to them and we reflected on it for quite some time. It really was a wonderful moment.”

These leaders now have a stable relationship, and Navin reflects that it is this kind of work that makes his work at TPCL so rewarding.

Ulrich adds that on a wider level, leadership development is at a sweet spot. “Because they really want it,” he says, “we can help companies to grow both their people and their culture, which are fast becoming the distinguishing factor between companies.”

To learn more about how to cultivate a culture in your own organisation, or to start your leadership development journey, don’t hesitate to get in touch with TPCL Germany.

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