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Leadership Lessons from the South Pacific,or how to merge French Chic with American Dominance

In 2007, Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts was purchased by Starwood Hotels & Resorts. I worked at that time at the Le Meridien Hotel in Hong Kong looking over the beautiful Lama Channel (where my sailing passion started, more to that another time).

Picture: Le Meridien Cyberport, Hong Kong

Le Meridien initially was the hotel division of Air France, and Le Meridien Hotels could be found anywhere Air France would fly to. French Chic in destinations around the world. The company was headquartered in Paris and a distinct French leadership style could be observed throughout the world.

When American based Starwood Hotels took over Le Meridien, two very different cultures needed to be merged, where obviously the taking over American culture would be dominant. I found myself in the midst of it.

In the South Pacific you could find several French overseas territories. Some of them were independent, other semi- independent. Le Meridien operated hotels in Tahiti and New Caledonia. Due to its proximity the hotels in New Caledonia were put under the leadership of the Starwood regional offices in Sydney/Australia.

Picture: Amedee Lighthouse, not far from Le Meridien Noumea, New Caledonia

In 2008 the Vice President based in the Hong Kong Office asked me to spend a few months at the hotel in New Caledonia, as there seemed to be issues in communication between the French Finance Director, and the Australian based Regional Finance Director.

I spent three times several months in New Caledonia carefully liaising between the various strong positions people held. As a result of my work there I was later offered a position to be overlooking all of Asia (excl. China) at Raffles and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. This needed lots of leadership skills as we had hotels in Japan, Cambodia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Australia. So many different countries and cultures, so many different local leaders with different leadership styles.

I was a Finance leader with leadership skills that I acquired through annual intense training our Human Resources department organized. I am grateful for all those lessons, that made me the leader and coach I am today. However I am also grateful that today new technologies have given rise to more advanced leadership and people’s skill training, amongst which I find the Positive Intelligence Training to be by length the most unique and powerful training with immediate impact in a very short time.

Contact me now to find out more.

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