34 APAC / February 2017 , 1701AP10 Hands On Experience of Asia Since 2002, New Step International is dedicated to helping western corporations to operate more effectively in China through a combined approach of cross cultural consulting, training and coaching to suit our client’s need. Benoit Ams is a founding partner at the firm. In this interview, he tells us about the firm’s services and how they operate within the industry. New Step International is a boutique consulting firm headquartered in Hong-Kong. For the past fifteen years, they have assisted multinational companies to operate more effectively in the region, and have references in a broad range of sectors from financial services, insurances to FMCG or automotive industries. Benoit from New Step talks us through the core competencies of the company and how they benefit the client experience. “Firstly, one aspect is training, coaching and teambuilding facilitation. We help our clients to develop the cross- cultural competency of their professionals through a combination of bespoke group or face-to face trainings, coaching, workshops or teambuilding activities. By the end of a session, participants are able to apply practical solutions to interact more efficiently in multicultural settings. We have delivered over 500 face-to- face and group programs preparing leaders of some of the largest and best known global companies to do business in one of the most vibrant regions in the world. “Another aspect is experiential learning. We design and deliver customized ‘Learning Odysseys’ to help executive teams to get a better understanding of the business environment in Greater China. A ‘Learning Odyssey’ is a people and strategy development program. Through travel, company visits, interactions and facilitated sessions they enable leaders and organizations to interact, to change, take decisions and act. “We also offer formal or informal mediation services, with a specific focus on mediation in a multicultural context. Our understanding of local realities, and of cultural codes enables us to ‘read between the lines’, to switch style, and to help the parties to unlock situations or to narrow differences, in a creative manner. At New Step International, our style, as mediator is facilitative and makes use of the tools of coaching and cross cultural management, to empower the parties, and help them to take responsibility for their own disputes, and the outcome thereof. “Finally, we accept appointments, at board of director (as an independent director or as a board observer), management committee or steering committee level, in the context of Subsidiaries, Partnerships or Joint Ventures, in a Greater China context. The founding partner of the company is Fellow member of the HKiOD.” New Step operate in a challenging industry however they ensure they always keep up to date with any emerging developments as Benoit explains. “First, we integrate technology in the audit phase, to make sure that the needs of the participants to our training or learning odysseys are properly understood, and that our training material is developed accordingly. “Secondly, as a small scale consulting firm, it is important for us to continue to develop the competencies of our professionals in our fields. In the past two years, the partners of the firms have followed specific programs in the most prestigious universities around the world including Bocconi (Program in international Leadership and Organizational Behaviour), HEC, ESSEC, or HKU (Program in Mediation). “Finally, our consultants are a member of different professional organizations, like HKIAC, or the HKIoD, which is an important way for us to stay in touch of the latest development. Lastly, Benoit talks about how the business has evolved in the industry and how the company have adapted around any emerging developments. “Fifteen years ago, we were essentially a business consultancy helping Western companies to identify possible commercial or industrial partners in Greater China. Some years later, companies and HR departments started to realize that teams need to be prepared in order to succeed in this part of the world. So, we started to offer training programs to prepare foreign executives to work in China. The offer of services has also evolved as organizations are increasingly multi-cultural (with team members who have lived or studied in several countries), and the format of training needed to take that into consideration. “Fifteen years ago, we were essentially a business consultancy helping Western companies to identify possible commercial or industrial partners in Greater China.