Team coaching that gives a return.
If you swim, cycle or run (or like me have a family member obsessed with all 3) it will not be long before you notice a shiny fitbit or Apple Watch appear. Yet in the first seconds of usage, you would be surprised to see a high priced object seemingly add nothing to performance. Unlike a 00 bike frame which is measurably 20% lighter,or new running shoes delivering 40% more bounce, the device does nothing functional. Or does it?
Go ask an owner ‘what’s the difference?’ and they will respond everything. That there could be no return to the old way. That training and completion style now seems outdated. The subjective ‘it was a good run’ or ‘I’m definitely improving’ no longer is enough, the simple stopwatch looks is now too blunt. Whether their goal is to shift performance from lower to higher, from good to even better, those little devices seem to pay for themselves easily; through increased enthusiasm, awareness and optimism.
Visibility adds Value
Inside the 4x4cm body of a fitbit lies a world of metrics and measurement. What users get (that they never had before) is a grip. A baseline of before, after and personal best performances. Live comparison, reminders to improve and a clear vision of bigger, stretch goals. Rewards for progress and achievement. Data arrives, results are logged. You can see your work, working.
Compare that to a workplace. Think of your teams – can you name the metrics and current scores? Whilst a fitbit maps your running route, can you map the network of relationships you jog between. Apple monitors endless variables; can you name more than 3 in your team. Are past efforts and progress recorded? Most likely not. Instead there is a legacy, a subjective narrative. Loops of things left unsaid, un-shown. Disappointment feeding defensiveness, indifference or resentment.
So what to do if you are tired of the same challenges resurfacing. What if you are taking over a team and need to make measurable changes to their performance. By extension to your results and reputation. What can Athletes (or Triathletes), -real world of fitbit and Apple, data and metrics teach us about modern team leadership?
A manager approached me to tell me about her team of 30 experts, with whom she could not achieve the results she knew that they were able to deliver. She was a good manager and would not give up. She felt accountable to its customers and to its Board of Directors and was willing to take bold steps.
It’s not easy to admit that we have reached our limits of results with current competencies. To admit our attempts have not given the expected results – and is isn’t clear what will. That takes courage. Willingness to open up, explore an external view point and close performance gaps. But with the right coach, stories like end well.
What she described to me was a team self-sabotaging. A team with constant tension inevitably finding difficulty in moving forward, to find a way to go from problems to progress. My diagnosis unveiled a team defective and toxic – but still a team. A team worth fixing. And more.
Through the team development process, we increased productivity by +28% in a 5 month engagement. We increased positivity by 35%. Sickness rates halved. Client satisfaction with the team increased.
And it wasn’t a rarity or outlier. But one of many results in the public and private sectors delivered with Integral Coaching mixed with a Team Diagnostic™. The beauty of Team Diagnostic? A clean, clear metric to identify issues, intervene and report improvement.
It has one other edge too.
It isn’t just about fixing. It is about a better future for all teams
Integral & Diagnostic are designed to be a single intervention and long term reinvention. Tracking and performance mapping. Best practice and red lights.
Imagine it was inside an Apple Watch, it would pose decision tree like this;
Like contrasting a sophisticated analysis with a general sense of ‘have things changed’, the Team Diagnostic shows results. Not speculation. Not opinions. Actual perceptions of prior and current performance.
Measuring 14 strands of team performance, just like a professionally dedicated athlete, can also be done at work. Depending on your industry and team situation, I show a minimum 20% lift for clients willing to make the effort to invest in and sustain the change.
When habits and old ways of being are in place for years, 10-15 or more, it will take effort. It will take willingness, commitment and patience. Athletes need to rise early and often, because not all training is done in the head. Nor is it done in one session or without slip ups. The coach is there to help, to support getting back on track after the big pitfalls.
The team to which I am referring to has achieved outstanding results in our performance improvement approach.
Gains of 81% for Initiative, 75% for Objectives and Strategies, 78% for Optimism, 68% for Constructive interaction, etc.
The euphoria of these unequivocal results quickly collapsed when certain conditions arose. Fatigue, a temporary gap in management presence, stress. Sometimes the official end of the coaching process. Teamwork requires constant attention.
It is never done. But here is another integral difference. When time comes to correct patterns, thanks to clarity in metrics and coaching, the team knows what is good for it, what’s not, what to do and how to do it.
Like looking at a fitness watch when you struggle, the data is there along with the tools. Responsibility for preserving the performance space is shared amongst the team. Post-coaching the team was able to achieve extraordinary results (with figures that prove ROI). In addition the team and performers feel the responsibility to maintain them. I return periodically to check, remind and revitalize.
What data cannot do
All the analysis and insights a team-wide approach allows is futile until all team members feel engaged in concrete actions to initiate change. That all become accountable for this change. In the end, the fundamental question remains. « What do we want as a team? »
But now with a performance criteria, a rock solid training plan and metrics to show movement, why would an athlete at work would say no to that?