Frame within a Frame (Power of Context) Session 2

Express do not Axepress

Last year I was approached to coach the CEO of a large IT Company. Post the 2 nd session, he invited me as a Guest Speaker to deliver a one-hour address to his global team from across the world. The context was clear, “To embrace new ideas and innovation in an atmosphere that fosters collaboration and commitment to a shared Vision.”

There were 2 approaches I could adopt:
  • a) Since time was of essence and the context provided was clear, I could straightaway dive into the the frame as spelt out.
  • b) Spend some time on the frame within the frame…what is this? Frame within a frame refers to a lens which minutely captures the intricate weaving within the fabric of the outer main frame. In this particular case the outer main frame/context was clear as enunciated in the first para. Now if I put on the lens I am referring to I would notice various factors minutely…factors which if ignored could totally break the outer frame. This inner frame was the cultural context. The fact that the attendees represented different countries needed to not only be considered but also acknowledged in a deeper sense than through a mere applause.

Very often we bypass the frame within the frame and consequently the results are catastrophic! I think it was Dale Carnegie who said, “People will always support a world, they help create.” In order to garner their unstinted support for the bigger context, do not forget the inner frame, “their world”. It comes with its own strengths and uniqueness. And these need to be given their due before we can touch the outer frame.

Any thoughts on how we can implement this?

Well what has helped me serve my clients is this insight. Investment of some time and effort in learning about their culture and sharing their contributions can do more than you can fathom, to get them into the outer frame. How do we feel when our culture is recognised and lauded? Does it not melt walls and help build bridges? Perhaps highlight how different cultures can synergise and leverage their potential to fortify the outer frame? I recollect with joy and a sense of fulfilment how I adopted this approach for an Indo Japanese Business venture. I penetrated into the frame within the frame. As I met them, the first thing that I said to them was, “Ohayo Gozaimasu (Good Morning)” “Hajimemashite (Pleased to meet you)”. Instantly the formal shake of hands and serious demeanour just broke into a warm appreciative smile and the entire disposition changed into a collaborative one. Success stories and learnings from Toyota, Sony, Nintendo, Canon, Nikon etc. are not new to us.Simply bringing to light some of the global best practices of Japanese companies and how our Indian companies are adopting the same, and where lie the areas of congruence, a perfectly conducive atmosphere for them to join hands in investing in India was automatically created. I had to do no work on the outer frame which was “To get the Japanese company set up business in India.” A big “Domo Arigato gazaimasu (Thank You)”to them.

There are many frames within frames that get unintentionally overlooked because we are so focussed or obsessed with the outer frame. Remember the magic lies in the details i.e. the inner frame.

There are many critical frames within frames. I have elaborated one such, namely “Cultural”. Can you think of more?

Sonia Mehta