Utilizing Coaching To Drive Cultural Change
“Making Things Better”
Consider this scenario: It’s been almost a year since your last recent employee engagement survey. You wanted this assessment to be a critical turning point – an opportunity for everyone to collaborate to “make things better”. The survey results are presented out to leadership and your employees, you ask for volunteers, and you launch employee-led improvement teams. The teams make their recommendations and now you’re working with senior leadership to decide which recommendations should be your top priority. What will we do next to “make things better”?
This is an important decision, and one of the most critical questions for you and your senior leadership team to answer is – can your organization support the change?
You are pushing your senior HR team to answer pertinent questions:
1. Do our managers have the capability to manage this change well?
2. Do we have the capacity to launch these new initiatives?
3. How can we tie the initiative together to other areas of improvement currently underway?
4. Can we deliver a good outcome that will rally our people and make them feel their voice was heard?
5. Can we adapt and be flexible as we head down this road?
6. How will we measure our success and show we have made progress?
Your team’s ability to address these concerns is rooted in the direction you give them in two essential areas: accountability and communication planning. Whether your managers believe it or not, the path you choose for change is not as important as the way the change is carried out.
Our experience shows that the keys to success for both you and your people lie in 1) setting clear direction and specific goals, 2) empowering people to bring those goals to life, 3) holding people accountable for results at every level, and 4) communicating and celebrating success along the way.
This is not revolutionary thinking. It is foundational. For you as the CEO (a.k.a., Chief Encouragement Officer) one thing can tie everything together – coaching. It seems simple, but it is not easy. It is one of the most overlooked keys to successful change. At every level, starting with you and carrying through to front line employees, coaching employees for results should occur frequently, have standard language and approach, and recognize both effort and results. Coaching… its ultimate objective is to focus everyone on their individual contribution to achieving the common goal. It will also help your leaders manage expectations and keep their people’s line of sight on the “little” things they are doing every day to make things better. Most importantly – it must start with you.
Currently most organizations still utilize annual or semi-annual performance reviews where the opportunity for ongoing, real-time feedback on a daily basis is very limited. This is not coaching, and herein lies the problem. Workplace culture is about how employees interact together in the moment and how they execute small moves on a daily basis. Therefore, the feedback and support they receive must be small – in the moment. It’s about aim. If you aim big, you’ll miss the same way – big. But if you aim small, you’ll miss small.
In times of change, aiming small can make a significant difference in impact, so one of your HR team’s biggest tasks will be to assess and possibly re-design your performance management methods to focus more on real-time coaching. How your supervisors coach front line employees to aim small will depend on how your managers coach your supervisors to aim small. How your senior leaders coach your managers to aim small will depend on how you coach your executive team to aim small. It is the most effective way to drive sustainable change – through everyday conversations and actions that keep your people focused on achieving clear goals.
For more information about successful culture change, organizational development and talent management, call MPI Consulting at 513.721.6611, or email Maureen Donnellan at firstname.lastname@example.org.