Below are some case studies which are examples of our work.
RLG International: Coaching with an Edge
“This course literally changed our lives. We have become more confident and more effective as coaches, and able to achieve better results and enjoy our work.”
RLG International is a worldwide organization of performance improvement experts. They partner with companies for an immediate, lasting impact on financial performance and corporate culture, through front-line engagement. Their approach uses a powerful combination of performance improvement tools with coaching to engage people and strengthen processes to deliver results. They are a 9 time recipient of Deloitte Consulting’s ‘Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies’ award. Their vision is ‘making business excellence a personal journey’ and through their extraordinary people, they save clients in oil and gas, shipbuilding and aerospace, billions of dollars each year and bring real heart to the creation of sustainable performance. Their people operate in complex and challenging environments with multiple stakeholders. In their quest to ‘connect the front line to the bottom line’ they work with senior leaders and their teams, as well front line staff and shift supervisors.
In 2009, RLG International invited us to support them in developing their already highly effective c.200 project manager and team lead group. The purpose emerged as being to develop participant’s confidence and competence to support clients to generate sustainable performance. This was to be no ordinary programme – it needed bite – it needed to support and challenge participants to give them the courage needed to take a stand, believing their client could be excellent, even if the client early on did not see their own potential. It needed to be ‘Coaching with an Edge’ and this became the name of the programme.
Key elements of the programme
Highly experiential, the programme consists of a number of key activities:
- Learning in the field with clients and with each other
- Two conferences to facilitate skill building and tool use
- Support from their senior line manger and a mentor from previous cohorts
- Videos, books and articles to deepen understanding and thinking
- A learning portfolio connected directly to their practice and the business outcome and contributing to external accreditation and recognition
What has been delivered?
Since a pilot programme in 2009 we have developed the skills of 150 RLGers and continue to be their partner for coaching excellence.
What outcomes have been created?
Feedback on the programme has been consistently strong from both participants and senior leaders alike. The Net Promoter Score remains at 100% across the programmes with participants applauding the relevance of the material to their work and the quality of the tutors. They report that their ability to drive results in their projects has been significantly enhanced.
What do people say about the programme?
“An excellent program. Thank you for the insight and learning.”
“I am immeasurably changed as a coach and individual in so many positive ways.”
“A brilliant program filled with the relevant material and tools. This course has been the best training I have taken. It has truly helped me develop and better understand how I can drive change.”
“This was far and away the best course I’ve ever been on while in consulting. The insights have helped me develop as a coach and significantly benefit my chief clients.”
“Engaging, thought-provoking, well-taught, challenging, paradigm-shifting, and produced dramatic personal growth.”
Team Lead’s note to the CEO “In my opinion, this has been the best professional and personal development course I have ever been on, and I can count quite a few.”
EDF Energy plc: Supporting Leadership and Change in IT
Informational Technology in EDF Energy plc is mission critical and how it delivers is therefore constantly under the spotlight. CfT have worked with the IT function in a number of ways in the last five years, all to support them in making their ambition a reality: a shift towards an outsourced ‘partnership’ model adding value by a combination of a focus on strategic decision making, effective cost management and outsourced provision. This story is contained in three parts – supporting the IT Operations Leadership Team, Partnering for Business Value and Developing IT Leadership Team and the IT Community.
I Supporting outsourcing: The IT Operations Leadership Team
Wanting to lead this radical business change, the IT Operations Leadership team of nine embarked on a year long Team Excellence Programme in January 2011. Aimed at supporting the team to clarify how they would lead the change to outsourcing that included TUPE arrangements for many and the construction of leadership teams to give effective operational oversight. In addition, as a team they wished to move the team from ‘I’ to ‘we’, engage and enroll key stakeholders, and develop a culture of continuous improvement and change to 2013 and beyond.
What was achieved? Using CfT’s Team Excellence process, comprising a series of workshops and reviews, we supported the team to lead the change. The team achieved the required financial savings of 25% of Operating Costs, and was able to successfully follow through on their restructuring and Partnering aspirations.
How did the team experience the coaching? The team reported that the programme was ‘excellent’ and that it met both programme and individual goals. They would recommend the programme to other senior teams in the business and said that it has helped them become more effective as a team. The team also reported significant improvement in critical team skills such as listening, challenging, making decisions and giving feedback.
What behaviors did it accelerate? The team reported that it was agreeing goals and roles, making more effective decisions, developing more trust and mutual accountability – all critical team activities.
What was the business value? Team members reported improvements in team member wellbeing, team leadership capability, team and directorate productivity, as well as stakeholder and employee engagement….’a more cohesive unit, as one, trusting, integrated’ helping them to lead this significant change.
“Feedback from senior leaders has been exceptional and extremely positive following the team coaching process. One commented: ‘That is the first time since the merger happened that we feel we are really coming together’. I wanted to thank you very much for your direct contribution to this historical event!” Gilles Chaveau, CIO, EDF Energy
II Partnering for Business Value
Many organizations are recognizing the opportunity to bring suppliers closer to their business, though it sometimes takes a while to get the right balance between oversight and accountability and collaboration and openness. It takes time to establish sufficient trust to be able to drive the promised business value. The EDF Energy IT group had successfully outsourced and established a framework of behaviours and principles that could guide their work with the newly appointed partners. Sensing that one important partner group could be working better and creating more value, CfT were invited to support the two leadership teams.
What were the objectives? The overall outcome sought was to ‘crack’ the partnership dynamic, providing a refreshed model for the relationships. The two leaders wished for enhanced confidence and respect in the group, greater openness, a greater understanding in team members of their contribution, and how they can best operate to support each other and manage within the ‘stakeholder matrix’. Ultimately, they wished plans to be delivered to time, cost and quality and in accordance with agreements; more efficient decision-making is effective, and clearer adhered to governance processes.
What did we do together? Following interviews with the team members, we crafted an initial two-day workshop with two additional single day workshops thereafter, aimed at creating a collective aspiration and then sustaining it over time. Early on, the group created a compelling vision for their work together and agreed specific behaviors that would guide their interactions. Importantly the group took the opportunity to appreciate each other’s position, share assumptions and exchange feedback. As individuals felt more appreciated and understood, their willingness to take a common position became greater and their ability to solve problems together emerged.
What did it accelerate in the team? Team members reported greater trust between the teams and an improvement in relationships. They also said that they were more able to hold each other to account and to challenge and support each other together as well as to learn together.
What were the outcomes for the team and the business? The team reported improvements in their collective productivity, their ability to engage their own teams and their own well-being and enjoyment of their work. They reported an improvement in their ability to be effective as a partnering group.
What did the leaders say?
“We have come a long way (as a result of the programme) – the interpersonal challenges (which were dominating) are not now an issue. Before, the relationships were stopping us from moving forward, so…there has been a significant improvement in our ability to work together.
“The early workshop was very challenging but important – it changed the whole dynamic…(after that) the group (was able to agree) behaviors that help us work together.
“The use of the Team Management Profile was another turning point in the process. It was very powerful in understanding where everyone was coming from, understanding how people felt and how they think…and how to use those differences in service of the business.
“I have definitely seen the change in how we work together. It has allowed us to focus on solving (business) problems together rather than being bogged down in the relationship issues. Time allocation and process in getting things done is still an issue, but we have the foundation to work them out”.
Nigel Pettifer, Head of Infrastructure, IT Operations, EDF Energy plc and Stuart Robson, Senior Client Lead, Atos
III Developing IT Leadership Team and the IT Community
While the business was engaging with Partners and bedding down the new configuration of service delivery, those remaining in the business were getting to grips with their new roles. Many were now embedded in the business, now reporting to their business units. Being those who remained after colleagues travelled across under TUPE to the various new partners created a sense of survivor guilt. Still, however, was the need to work together as an IT community and once again, the create value through arriving at shared meaning for their contribution and coordinated action to create results.
CfT were invited to support the development of the IT Community.
What were the objectives? We worked with CIO, Director of Strategy and Director of IT Operations to craft the objectives – clarify the What (goals, roles, measures, expectations); clarify the How (interdependencies and behaviors); create a shift from I to we; and move towards sustainable high performance. They wished the mantra of ‘collaboration, communication and co-ordination’ to ring true for this community.
What did we do together? Following interviews with a cross section of the c.20 community members, a series of workshops was planned over 6 months, which aimed at creating a shared view of community purpose and building on this over time. Clarification of roles and contribution, task interdependency and expectations made a huge difference to those in the community.
What was achieved? The community reported significant improvement in the following:
- Development of trust
- The ability to challenge and support each other
- More effective decision-making
- Using the differences between team members more effectively
The improvement in relationships they reported also impacted on their ability to function as a community (their version of a high performing team). They reported ‘enhanced capability of the team to function in the future’ and specifically:
- Increased productivity (of 10% +)
- Wellbeing and enjoyment of the community members
- The ability of the community to reach its goals (to which they now had buy in).
What did they say?
“A most enjoyable programme that has made a real difference’
“A valuable contribution”
“(It helped us) unlock the hidden potential in the leadership team”
“This (process) really does work”
M&G Investment Operations: Team Coaching & Development
“Thank you for all your support. You have helped us to change.” (SMT, November 2013)
In Autumn 2012, the Centre for Teams was invited to support the M&G Investment Operations Senior Management Team, with John Wright’s desire ‘to develop my team to be a top class team, such that we become even more successful in all areas of delivery, including the Front Office; we are highly regarded by all stakeholders; Investment Operations becomes a place that people wish to work’. This would involve supporting the SMT to create even more productive relationships within the team, between the team and its senior leaders and between IO and Key Stakeholders.
Key Elements of the Approach
The programme incorporated four key elements:
At the start, CfT interviewed members of the SMT, the wider IO team and external stakeholders. We created a ‘Survey of Perception’ summarizing the team’s views to share and create a common starting point. Over the next year we ran a total of 6 sessions, 4 with the SMT and 2 ‘Leadership Forums’ with the wider IO leadership community (c.20 total). Prior to and following each session we engaged in preparation and review activities to ensure connectivity between sessions, alignment on expectations and measure the value of the sessions to the business. In addition, the SMT invited Laura Higgins and Jason Gish to join their session, thus signalling the next phase of collaboration and growth for both parties.
Hitting the mark together for the firm
What has been delivered?
The SMT now has:
- A vision for their business (where the pictures presented here were part of creating that).
- A clear set of SMT Goals with measures
- A set of Values & Behaviours that have been socialized in the business
- A set of team work behaviours to ensure effective use of their time together
The team has established a delivery and learning ‘rhythm’:
- Meeting regularly to progress their vision and the team’s goals within the SMT
- Meeting regularly with the wider Leadership Forum to progress the vision and the goals
- Meeting regularly with Key Stakeholders to enable effective business management through good understanding of strategy and effective and robust relationships
- Engaging proactively with HR to develop operational capacity and capability
And still to come:
- Maintaining the SMT’s journey and that of the Leadership Forum
- Continuing to learn together – within the SMT and the Forum and with Key Stakeholders
Alignment and direction
A plan and coordinated effort
What outcomes have been created?
A recent survey of Key Stakeholders includes the following comments:
“The skills of the people in the team have been continually upgraded and their understanding of our business and funds has steadily improved.”
“The provision of the information required has become far more focused and a distinct attempt to ensure that we are kept in the loop when there are any issues is now evident.”
“Changes in personnel have strengthened the team with which I deal.”
“The service improvement has been significant over the last 18-24 months.”
“We are engaging on a more strategic agenda basis.”
“There is greater communication of issues and greater communication.”
“The service was and is always of a high quality.”
What did people say about the sessions and the coaches?
The SMT reported that that the sessions resulted in a higher level of challenge and support of each other, greater goal and role clarity, more trust, better decision making and more effective meetings. They also gave notional improvements of c.60-80% for their employee engagement, individual leadership and team capability, and team-member well-being.
The sessions were seen as ‘engaging, enjoyable, valuable, and thought-provoking’. At the Leadership Forums 100% agreed or strongly agreed that the sessions would help them be more effective as leaders and/or with customers, the sessions were relevant to M&G’s work and that following session 2 they would recommend the process to others in the business. The SMT gave the CfT programme a 100% ‘Net Promoter Score’. The coaches were seen by the SMT and the Forum as ‘knowledgeable, engaging, tenacious, calming, supportive, impressive, challenging, resourceful, experienced, challenging, energetic, patient, disciplined, and fun’.
And the final word from a Key Stakeholder, July 2013: “The service improvement has been significant over the last 18-24 months.”
All pictures are Copyright ©CCL Visual Explorer 2015