We were asked by an emergency services group to develop a strategy to enhance the support provided to managers and leaders at busy locations. Some of the issues being addressed included high workload, low morale, high stress, a lack of direction and role clarity, a lack of accountability and compliance concerns.
When we were originally approached, the brief was to address issues that had arisen at the mid level ranks within a target area. In developing the Pilot we argued that change would only be sustainable if it was led by the senior leadership team and it needed to start there.
Big Goals created a program to increase leadership skills and knowledge in the target groups and develop more effective teams.
Formal feedback on the program was very positive, indicating a strong desire to gain more knowledge and increase leadership capability. Feedback also indicated participants have personally gained significantly from the programme and have created real positive change in the area. Divisional data has shown significant improvement in benchmarked measures.
A large automotive company was seeking to improve their market share by improving the leadership skills across their dealerships. We developed and delivered a two-tiered programme that included Leadership and Team Member streams. We developed a customised curricula that was based on dealership and company issues and drivers. Each stream was delivered as a series of workshops that included customised case studies, and exercises to be completed back in the dealership between each workshop.
The programme, which evolved to include coaching and additional sales skills modules, ran for four years and is credited by both senior executives and dealer principals as directly contributing the company’s significant improvement in customer perception and market share.
We worked closely with our client on developing and facilitating a series of change readiness workshops for a large resources company seeking to split off a major division. This involved a multi-stage approach beginning with a series of facilitated workshops to assess the impact and readiness for change. These were followed by a series of workshops for leaders within the company, including the Executive, which identified a number of communication blocks and strategies for overcoming these. The final stage was a program of workshops for everyone else in the company who was impacted by the change. The program ran over three months and involved over 500 people.
Building a Team
Recently we were asked to help a senior executive team whose manager was struggling to engage with some of his team. These senior managers were all very effective in their roles but did not work together at all if they could help it. Old animosities bubbled away between some of them and newer recruits felt disillusioned with the lack of peer support. The director, who had been managing the team for nearly two years, saw himself as a good communicator and a ‘people person’ but was struggling to change the culture of his team and knew something had to change.
We had a conversation with each manager to understand their issues and what they saw as their responsibilities within the team. We then asked each of them to complete two online assessments: one of their work and communication styles and the other around the way the team functioned. We then ran a three-day workshop with them to discuss the results.
On the first day of the workshop the director spoke about how important it was to be able to trust one another and create a team that could tackle anything. He also spoke about the need to leave the past behind and focus on what the team is dealing with now. Participants were polite to one another, there were a few ‘aha’ moments around how people worked and communicated but very little challenging of one another.
On the second day we began discussing the team and, very early in the day, they identified that they weren’t working as a team at all. Once they had that realisation, the dynamic shifted. We used Patrick Lencioni’s 5 Dysfunctions of a Team model to work through the lack of trust that existed and how they could address this to create a team. We noticed that conversations became more in depth and people started raising issues and challenging one another, tentatively at first but then with more confidence.
By the end of day three the team had identified how they wanted to work together, how they were going to keep one another accountable, their high level goals as a team and what each of them needed to do to achieve these. All of them acknowledged and welcomed the shift to a team where they felt they could raise issues and would be supported in whatever decisions they made.
Feedback since the workshop tells us the changes have been sustained and, whilst there have been a few hiccups, issues have been raised and addressed straight away.