Stepping Up from HR Statistics to Performance Enhancement
The GM of a team of twelve in Melbourne gave us a call to say “although my team scored an 89% engagement result (based on a widely used international engagement tool), I’m noticing some aspects of team behaviour that’s troubling me.”
Robert is a high flying GM who is passionate about leadership and understands the power of people in terms of driving performance outcomes. He is also mindful that the cost of talent leaving is at least 3x salary package and that the cost of passive resistant disengaged team members keeping their heads ‘under-the-radar’ can be much more.
“How about running your performance diagnostics across our team to see how we measure up and facilitating an offsite team development session for us” he asked? And that’s what we did.
The results showed a much lower level of engagement (70%) compared to that provided by the international provider. At a granular level we found that five team members were engaged, one ambivalent, and the remaining five were disengaged.
The benefit of the SmartLeader digital performance platform is that it comprises a complete suite of digitalised assessment tools. This meant we were able to use an imbedded algorithm to quantify the impact that personality, stress, team dynamics and team culture were having on the disengaged team members.
The algorithm was also able to identify the key impedance / resistor factors that are destabilising the six team members who were unhappy and potentially open to job offers from elsewhere.
The Data Analytics surfaced some insightful diagnostics that were discussed at the offsite in the afternoon session. But before getting into this potentially sensitive area, we first ran a morning session focusing on personality, inter-personal and team-wide dynamics.
The process of sharing personal information required vulnerability among team members, which in turn strengthened trust and openness. This was particularly valuable, given that Robert, the team leader, is a bit of a ‘closed book’, and the diagnostics revealed that the disengaged group have a high need for openness and self disclosure from their team leader.
The other key insights from the diagnostics report were:
The majority of the engaged group, including Robert, were Red Characters (intuitive thinkers), whilst all but one of the disengaged group were either Green characters (“feelers” who have the opposite preferences to Red Characters).
The common issues among the disengaged were:
Meeting management: actions, priorities, accountabilities required to give useful outcomes to what is currently felt to be “talkathons”.
Inclusion, openness, and trust: currently it doesn’t feel safe for the Green and Yellow Characters to talk about the ‘Elephants in the Room’, let alone admit mistakes and set backs.
Respect and recognition: to feel part of the team and be encouraged to speak and be heard (particularly important to this group, most of whom are introverts).
Collaboration: keeping each other up to date on a regular basis (short stand up meetings) and more connection with other teams, so that we can serve each other more effectively with a customer centric focus.
Culture: an aspiration to transform the silo culture into a collaborative high performance culture.
Without going into Robert’s Lead Self Dashboard and revealing his 063 (seeing himself through others’ mirrors), let’s just say that as an ‘Extroverted Red Character’ he might benefit from ‘cooling his jets’, slowing down the fast flow of new ideas, taking the Green and Yellow Characters with him on the journey, adopting a more step-by-step approach rather than leaving them behind, and adapting his leadership style to align with the needs and preferences of his opposite Green and Yellow Characters.
Given that an increase of 1% in engagement can give a 9% increase in revenue, and that companies that have high levels of engagement provide 7x higher Total Shareholder Returns, it makes sense that CEOs, HR, Organisation Development, and team leaders have access to a simple, visual, integrated platform that provides insightful diagnostics and predictive analytics.
Team leaders in the non-commercial sector would also benefit from this process, recognising that Public Good Outcomes for government organisations (and academic outcomes in universities) are driven by the same power of people lead factors.
In the mean time, Robert has an immediate line-of-sight going forward. The offsite provided insightful data and team feedback, leading to the much needed discussion that shone light on the ‘Elephants in the Room’.
Robert’s team crafted a set of goals aimed at dealing with the five factors impeding his team’s engagement. And Robert is now ‘kitted up’ with an evidenced-based performance dashboard and a clear agenda for stepping his team up from a silo culture to a high performance culture.
Just imagine how the organisation overall would ‘rock’ if all the other 950 teams followed in his footsteps …
Staff turnover and ‘strategic sick pay holidays’ would go down; productivity and innovation and quality would increase; staff and customers would experience higher levels of satisfaction and engagement; revenues and profitability would accelerate, and Total Shareholder Returns would skyrocket – potentially to 7x the current level.
In terms of ROI, the investment in the workshop and digital tools is what the British would term “not unimpressive” ….
Here’s some early feedback from Robert:
From: Robert Sent: Thursday, 22 February 2018 8:23 a.m. To: Smartleaderapps Subject: Feedback on Team Diagnostics and Development Session
Thank you again for running an excellent and a very relevant team diagnostics and development session to help us to continue to lift our team’s performance and engagement.
There was heaps of rich data which was presented in a very easily digestible format – both the individual preferences, as well as the team dynamics.
Initial feedback from my guys has been very positive, and as discussed, we will seek formal feedback via your portal in due course to share with my wider colleagues.
The presentation of the data was of course just the starting point! The open discussions and recognition of areas for further development that the data facilitated yesterday were very constructive.
The harder work is now ahead of us i.e. determining what we are going to do differently! However, I feel that we have a much stronger starting position now having worked through this material as a team.
Comments from Head of OD and Culture:
From: Eileen Sent: Thursday, 8 February 2018 9:39 AM To: Robert Subject: RE: ISL Diagnostics Report
Thanks for this and for the introduction to ISL. I have had a brief look at the report, and it echoes a lot of the sentiment / key themes emerging form the culture and engagement survey results. My initial observation is that the ISL method / tool seems to surface the key issues in a really digestible form for individuals and teams and in a way that can focus discussion and action. I think your team day will be time well spent on the right things.
As discussed, I will follow up with Geoff again soon, to explore his strategic leadership program offering.
Have a great team day!
Thanks & Kind regards
Individualised Report for Robert with Tips for Improving his Team’s Culture and Engagement:
LeaderLAB Data Analytics
All disengaged staff showing as introverted.
Solution: Include Introverts more strongly and give them space and encouragement to speak and be heard.
All RED engaged. No REDs are disengaged.
Team Leader is an extraverted RED character.
Solution: Extraverted (particularly RED) need to be more aware of the style and preferences of introverted GREEN and YELLOW characters.
What is bugging disengaged team members?
Key topics: Meetings, Trust, Recognition, Collaboration, Inclusion, Openness, Need for a charter to set out values, attitudes and behaviours.
1 . Meeting management – significant issue. Meetings seen to be ‘talkathons’ with inadequate action lists setting out what is required, responsibilities and deadlines.
Solution: Put BLUE/GREENs in charge of taking notes and preparing action list in each meeting. Share chairing of meetings or give specific roles (e.g. REDs are naturally inclined to dealing with Strategic Issues. YELLOW will naturally focus on people Issue. GREENs will naturally focus on customer issues. BLUEs will naturally focus on actions, processes, productivity, and risk Management).
2 . Building a high trust environment – significant issue.
Solution: Needs to be higher levels of trust so that team members can safely have courageous conversations and where there are no elephants in the room. Team members need to feel safe to make mistakes and others need to see mistakes as learning opportunities. Team leader needs to set high levels of trust and be a role model in this context.
3 . Customer Centricity – significant issue. Large issue particularly amongst GREEN characters who want to see a more customer centric approach.
Solution: Ask GREENs to wear the GREEN hat at all meetings and give them voice to speak out and be respectfully heard.
4 . Recognition and Loyalty – significant issue.
Solution: People want contribution and needs recognised and respected and a greater sense of belonging to the team.
Tips for Team Leader: Be mindful of the very different work-with profiles (and interpersonal compatibility). Be mindful that your low levels of disclosure may be inhibiting levels of trust with all team.
Improvement in above areas will significantly improve culture, lift engagement and lower risk of potential staff turnover which would cost at least 3x salary and be disruptive. Find a way to get the team together in one place more frequently to have stand up update meetings and to allow a much greater level of collaboration. Discuss ways of increasing collaboration with other teams in the wider organisation.
If you are a GM HR and want to arrange a confidential discussion with our HR specialist, call us or email us to set up a time to meet our HR Specialist in our Leader Lab, or over Skype. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Institute for Strategic Leadership [ISL] has designed and developed Smart Leader Apps to provide Strategy, Finance and OD-Tools and a digital performance platform for its clients and other businesses and government organisations.