Management expert Ken Blanchard says “feedback is the breakfast of champions.” Unfortunately, feedback isn’t always continuously delivered to individuals, and it’s not always tangibly felt by team members around them. We’re currently trialing Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching (SCC) at Strategyzer to help our team create positive behaviour change that is sustained, recognized, and measurable.
Although the Strategyzer team uses a variety of methods to give individuals and teams feedback, we lacked a proven and systematic process that could also be measured. This is why we are trialing Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching program within the Strategyzer team.
Goldsmith’s program is simple: to help people achieve positive, lasting change for themselves and their teams. For example, you may think your individual behaviour is great, but the reality check really comes from those around you.
At Strategyzer we firmly believe that a company’s culture is created by the people you work with and by leading with good behaviours. We are also committed to helping each other grow - so much that it’s an official company value. That means we aim to nurture positive and productive team relationships through consistent and systematic feedback from the people around us.
The Roll Out
Dedicated role & resource: By creating a culture driver (me) with clear roles and responsibilities, the entire team knows who they can turn to for guidance and facilitation through the coaching process. I’m not just a resource that implements the program internally, I’m also the coach that participants and stakeholders can turn to for help.
Training: I joined a Marshall Goldsmith training workshop in Singapore and was certified in delivering the program to our fully remote, 30 person global team.
Lunch & Learn: A 1-hour session to walk through the process, our motivation, and what team members could expect in the coming weeks. It also gave us an opportunity to answer any questions or concerns that may not have been clear to the team.
Leadership Commitment: The support from founders helped bring credibility to the process, and a commitment that 100% of the team would participate.
Volunteers: Rather than forcing everyone to get started, we asked people to raise their hands to participate. This also allowed us to manage expectations on how quickly the program could get up and running.
Impact so far: What’s worked?
Continuous feedback from the team: Every 30-days, individual team members receive comments from his or her stakeholders (all of the most important people an individual works with) on what they did well and what they can do better - feedback and feedforward. The team member now has the knowledge, the tools and suggestions to focus on positive change in their behavior, and how to make them felt by others over the next 30-days. For example, individuals who want to improve their communication towards the team might be asked to provide weekly updates on their work, accomplishments, or challenges.
Collaborative growth: Team members being coached are not alone. They have the accountability and encouragement of their stakeholders to make behaviour change real. We’ve setup Slack channels for each participant to directly communicate with their stakeholders. In my role as a coach, I’m available within 24-hours notice to help the participant develop action plans that are then communicated to the team. I’m also a challenging nudge when participants fall short in their behaviour plans.
Real & measurable improvement: Specific team members have shown phenomenal growth in development areas. In some instances, conflict between individuals has decreased due to the team working so frequently and consistently on addressing feedback before it’s too late. Individuals with visibility issues in a fully remote environment have stepped up their updates and communications to the team, or are engaging in more frequent 1-on-1s with their peers.
Seriousness of program: Early response to the program was met with skepticism. We’ve worked as a team to continually repeat the reason why Strategyzer is focused on helping each other grow through positive behaviour change.
Resources: One person can only implement so much. To drive and oversee 100% of the team in this program, we’ll need more human power.
Quality of feedback: Although the team can give feedback, the quality is debatable. Individuals need feedback that can tangibly be applied and felt by others. It’s clear we need to get better at having these types of conversations, and it’s something we’re investing in this year.
Coordination across a fully remote team: Time zones and virtual collaboration has created bumps along the way. This can cause delays in the 30-day cycle of gathering feedback and developing next steps.
It’s been six months since we rolled out Stakeholder Centered Coaching inside Strategyzer, and the lessons above have taught us a lot. There’s still more to learn: in the coming months we’ll evaluate if individuals have demonstrated measurable growth via a series of quantifiable assessments created by Marshall Goldsmith’s group. I look forward to sharing those lessons with you soon.
At the moment, we have great anecdotes that display growth and positive behaviour change, but the real evidence will be in the metrics. It will also be an opportunity for the team to assess if the program is still a right fit for the organization.