Creating and delivering a great customer experience can only be achieved by aligning the internal culture of the organisation behind the brand promise. It is the people-behaviour element of the brand that needs to be addressed to ensure a consistent brand promise is delivered across the whole organisation to all stakeholder groups.
Have you experienced great customer service from an organisation just to be frustrated by their Accounts Department over payment of an account? What do you remember most about this organisation and would you recommend them? What damage are they doing to their brand?
Now, social media moving into the mainstream may be creating the conditions for the next evolution. Whereas previously organisations could invest in marketing and PR to “tell a story,” things have changed and there is nowhere to hide. Trust is becoming increasingly important as customers seek to understand the substance behind the promoted “face” of brands they buy. What do they really stand for and believe in? The speed and reach of communication enabled by social media magnifies this trust factor. Significantly, brand control is moving away from the organisation that “owns” the brands to the communities that engage with them.
Organisations and brands are no longer what they say they are. They are what others say they are.
This environment provides real opportunities for brands that are true to their values and have a meaningful story if they deliver it in a compelling and authentic way consistently. Research shows that customers’ perception of a brand is strongly influenced by their experience of the people that represent the brand which can be anyone from the CEO to the delivery driver.
Employees are ambassadors of the brand and arguably have more influence over customer perception than the classical marketing or PR activities. Authenticity from the tip to the root is the new Holy Grail for organisations and a focus will be on how the values and brand can be translated into the daily practices and behaviour of their employees, drawing a golden thread from the boardroom to the front line customer experience. Workplace culture is central in this new paradigm of recognising the value of values… but this has to be in practice rather than a PR or communications exercise.
Building People brand is all about influencing the behavior of staff to reinforce your corporate brand values and promise in their everyday work. Creating the right Employee brand means creating the internal culture that gives direction, purpose and then empowers and supports staff to deliver this in a way that is authentic to them.
Organisations continue to do damage to their brand through a culture that surfaces that is not aligned or is at odds to what they wish to express. This can happen during a period of crisis (BP Oil Spill) or when the focus of the business moves almost exclusively to the share price and the bottom line (Major banks in Australia may be an example of this).
So why do people (from the CEO to the delivery person) step out of alignment? What makes them say and do things that go against the values of the organisation?
In nearly all cases it comes down to an internal culture that is not clearly articulated, communicated or consistently adhered to across the whole organisation. While most organisations have their values and behaviours clearly defined and hanging on the wall, how many work hard at ensuring these are both understood, agreed with and managed?
Internal culture is “How things are done around here” and this always starts at the top. How consistent is the CEO and the executive team in living the values even when times are tough? Without this commitment from the top values and culture will be determined by the weakest link or by the actions taken or not taken.
Moving down from the leadership team, culture and brand needs to be looked at Team level where each team can build their own brand (aligned to the corporate brand) and agree on the culture/ behaviours necessary to deliver this consistently. In this way they have ownership of their brand and pride in delivering the behaviours necessary to deliver their strategic goals. They also impose peer pressure across the team to deliver.
Imagine your Accounts Department building a brand that is all about being proactive and not reactive, about providing great service to the other departments so they can do their jobs better, where their focus on customer service is as high as the sales department.
The next level is at the individual level where supporting staff to develop their personal brand is all about giving them the self-awareness to better understand their strengths, personality and the style they wish to project to be the very best they can (and most staff want to be this).
Personal branding allows the individual to contribute to the team and organisational brand in a way that is both authentic and unique.
Remember the old MacDonald’s brand program where staff were instructed to say “Have a nice day now” with varying degrees of sincerity? It failed because people saw it as forced and false. Image if staff were just asked to express thanks in their own way how more successful this would have been.
Personal branding works because it offers something for the individual in relation to confidence, self-awareness and improved career management. Also remember that behaviours are ultimately affected by how we feel about ourselves so having happy, challenged staff who are empowered will provide a strong brand presence to all they connect with. It works at team level because you get increased contribution and innovation.
And it certainly works at organisational level where a strong positive culture and brand promise delivers improved returns.
The first step is to articulate your culture
Being intentional about culture means you approach it in a planned way. You shape your company’s norms, values and beliefs deliberately rather than letting them evolve organically. You look at your business strategy, your brand strategy and align the culture necessary to deliver both. Remember Culture delivers Brand in every situation.
One of the most important pieces of this puzzle is how you articulate your culture to the people who need to live it every day. Your policies, procedures, communications, systems, organisational chart, benefits and so much more need to consistently (and accurately) reflect your culture.
It might sound complicated, but these ten steps will help you:
The changing landscape for business and organisations will arguably bring the importance of culture and brand into even sharper focus in the coming years. There are examples nearly every day of how customer and employee experiences are being communicated widely and quickly on social media, encouraging (if not forcing) organisations to respond. There is nowhere to hide. Organisations delivering experiences to their customers, employees, service partners, communities and shareholders that are aligned to their stated purpose and values is moving from an “option” to a fundamental requirement. We could be seeing the dawn of a new “values economy.”
How would you describe your culture and is it aligned to the brand you wish to project to your target audience and are your people advocates - because there is no middle ground today?
People who are building their Personal Brand focus on the strengths that are necessary and appealing to attain their desired career goals. And with authenticity to the fore we build a compelling brand that projects both confidence and capability. We have all heard of the saying “An overused strength can become a weakness” and in branding this is something we all need to be very aware of as we communicate our message.
In a Harvard Business research sample, 55% of the managers were rated by co-workers as using too much of at least one leadership attribute, but the majority of those managers did not rate themselves as overdoing that attribute.
I am sure we can all relate to people that stand out for have a strong brand that you perceive as being more negative than positive. This person may not realise that this is how they come across as all they see is them being strong/ confident. In my many years’ experience with Executive Brand coaching a good 50% of perceived weaknesses are overused strengths and once we realise this it can be a simple job to tone things down to get back into the acceptable range
To keep yourself alert to the nuances of your brand attributes it is helpful to regularly ask yourself the following questions:
Here are few examples on how others may see perceived personal strengths as a weakness. Do any of these apply to you?
Accepts challenges and likes to challenge others
We are the products of a lifetime of conditioning, but our behaviours and the way that we do things are not givens. When it is not taking us where we want to go anymore, we can and should adjust our compass point or at least pull back a bit.
If you stop and use judgement to evaluate the situation, measure the audience and consider utilising the opposite of your primary strengths, you can avoid the pitfalls of overusing your virtues and temper your performance to achieve outstanding results.
If you wish to discover your current brand then contact me today for a 360 and a phone based feedback session.
I posted a blog recently “Employing older workers is not just good for business it shows great leadership” which received great feedback and I would like to expand on that in respect to networking into roles if you are an older worker discriminated on within the advertised market (although the basic rules apply to all ages).
The networked market represents 60%+ of jobs in the market today and because it is based on referrals it has a high success rate due to employers being more confident that applicants have been screened via their network and it is likely that they have met you several times before a commitment is made.
So, what do you need to prepare and navigate in this market?
High confidence within one self is vital for without this confidence you will be a reluctant networker and one who does not create and leave the best impression. And where does this confidence come from?
Focus for one, without a clear vision or goal you will not be able to articulate your value proposition and not be able to get people to support you on the journey. Focus is knowing the role (even if this means just the activities) and the sectors/ industries you are interested in networking within. Focus means you can research in detail organisations of interest and prepare your marketing materials to better reach the decision makers/ influencers within.
Understand your Brand. What makes you successful, unique and appealing to your target market? Remember your Brand is already in the market place so find out what this is and then future-focus this to better suit your new career while still remaining authentic. Brand awareness is also about how you communicate this to the market so understand how to get the right message out. Using stories to support your networking and to build confidence is one method you can use and a recent Kellogg article “Want to Network like a pro? Get your story right” gives some great tips on this. Mastering and using social media (LinkedIn as a minimum) to support your case is also necessary as people will look you up throughout the process so make sure your online brand is compelling and supportive.
Networking means getting out and letting people know who you are, what is your value proposition and what are you interested in. Networking is not about selling or asking for jobs as both of these will close more doors than open them. Networking is the seeking of information, advice and contacts and is as much about giving than taking so get out there and give of yourself and what you come across on your journey (networks, news, research, invitations, articles, books, websites, blogs, aps, etc).
To network effectively you need to prepare and practice before meeting those people who may support you in providing information, contacts, and ultimately a role. Even getting into see the right people can be difficult if you approach it the wrong way. Based on my own experience, and having coached hundreds of people in transition, I have put together an eBook on Networking into your next role and if you contact me today and I will email you a free copy.
Remember as you grow your networks so you must also nurture it through constant contact and giving is the best method to do this (give to receive). Your network will support you strongly in your career journey but to do this they need to have confidence in you, know your true brand, and know your future plans – where do you stand with your current network?
Brand Development and Career Planning is a constant pursuit and one that needs to be planned and reviewed on a six monthly basis. What are you doing today to build and communicate your brand, increase your skills, increase your networks and progress your career to where you wish it to go. I hope you are not waiting for others to manage this for you as this is doomed for failure. If you are 50+ and happy in your current role then great but what is your next role and what are you doing to transition into this over the next period? Building your network now is a vital requirement for the future so build it into your current role/ schedule.
If you are an older worker, and looking for a new role, then you no doubt already know the prejudice within the advertised market. Networking is your main avenue to success so start working on it today.
Have you noticed the number of people who are always looking at the downside, moaning about the economy or the weather or how Trump is going to destroy the world? They’ve got plenty to work with: the threat of an imminent war with North Korea, the housing market bubble, job loss due to technology, the impact of immigration on societies and of course we are going into winter so the weather is turning bad (at least here in Melbourne).
While bad things happen, it takes a positive attitude to look at the brighter side and see the good things and positive opportunities that abound. So rather than letting gloom overwhelm you can you face the day in a way that projects positive energy and lifts those around you – because moods are contagious!
Think about the impression/ brand you wish to project each day, be positive and reduce the worry in your life and in those around you.
Think about the words you wish people to associate with you:
Here are some simple ways to influence these brand attributes:
What are three things from the list above that you can start today to improve your attitude to life and work?
Worrying about all manner of things will negatively impact on your attitude to life and to help me in this respect I remember when I was a young lad listening (yes it was on the radio) to Earl Nightingale, one of the pioneers of personal development. He said that worry is like a dense fog that can cloud our vision, knock our perspective out of kilter, and slow us down. Nightingale categorized our common worries as follows:
4. Petty, miscellaneous worries: 8%.
If you find yourself bogged down with worry think about the 8% rule for a start and if you still believe your concerns are realistic then look to actions to either gain more information or move forward in some way.
A positive attitude to life and work is something that can set you apart from your peers and builds a brand that people are keen to associate with. Look to develop tools and some simple rules to take better control over your attitude so that you remain positive most of the time.
Are you over 55 and plan to work until you are 70? Have you been discriminated on regarding finding a new role in last few years? If so you are not alone as this is common in the Australian labour market and the reasons do not make sense.
Or, are you a business leader that is looking to build a more loyal, and productive workforce?
If you are either of these then let me show the way forward for both of you.
Are you aware that people aged 55 and over make up about a quarter of the population, but form just 16 per cent of the workforce? This is according to a report on employment discrimination against older Australians entitled Willing to Work.
The report’s key finding highlights the widespread nature of discrimination against older people in employment:
“Individuals who are subject to negative assumptions, stereotypes and discrimination can experience stress, and a decline in physical and mental health. The experience can also diminish a person’s self-confidence, self-esteem and motivation to remain in the workforce,” the report stated.
“Discrimination can occur at all stages in the employment cycle. Older Australians can feel ‘shut out’ of recruitment, be offered less professional development opportunities, or perceive that they are targeted for redundancy during periods of organisational restructure.
There are negative assumptions and pervasive stereotypes about older people that contribute to discriminatory practices.”
Older workers may not have the same tech-savvy of their younger colleagues, but they have years of experience you can’t teach or replace and are a valuable resource for any organisation.
Here are a few key advantages to older workers that leaders should take advantage of:
1. They have good leadership skills. Older workers make good leaders because they often have stronger communication skills than their younger colleagues. Most have better than average communication and people skills due to their time before emails, sms, tweets and the like. Face-to-face communication is an essential skill in the business world and one that junior staff sometimes struggles with; they could benefit from having a mentor.
2. They’re focused. Older people have been working their entire lives and are often not searching for the next opportunity like younger workers. They know exactly what they want to do and are focused on getting the work done. Older workers tend to be more interested in stability where a recent college graduate might be most concerned about moving up the corporate ladder as quickly as possible.
According to a survey by the Pew Research centre’s Social & Demographic Trends project , 54% of workers older than 65 are still employed because they want to be — not because they need the money. The survey also found that 54% of workers age 65 and older say they are “completely satisfied” with their jobs, compared with just 29% of workers ages 16 to 64.
3. They’re loyal. Since older workers are typically more satisfied with their jobs, they also tend to stay longer. Companies invest countless man hours and financial resources into the screening, hiring and training of new employees, only to find that many employees leave for ‘greener pastures’ after a few months as they ascend through their career path.
According to a report published by the BLS, “the length of time a worker remains with the same employer increases with the age at which the worker began the job.” The report found that tenure for workers with their current employer was highest for the oldest workers at 10.2 years. For those between the ages of 55 and 64, this number was 9.9 years and for those between 45 and 54 years old it was 7.6 years.
4. They have a good work ethic. According to a 2010 Pew Research centre survey, “Nearly six in 10 respondents cited work ethic as one of the big differences between young and old. Asked who has the better work ethic, about three-fourths of respondents said that older people do.”
In a report published by Randstad Work Solutions, 90% of the respondents who were older said that being “ethical” is “extremely or very important” to workplace culture, whereas 83% of Gen X workers and 66% of Gen Y workers agreed.
5. They have strong networks. Older workers have been in the workforce longer and they’ve had more time to meet people and network along the way. According to a study conducted by The centre on ageing and Work at Boston College, 46.3% of employer respondents said that their older employees have stronger professional networks and client networks compared to 30% who said the same about their younger workers
6. They can be great mentors and coaches to younger staff. Most seniors are keen to pass on their experience and when given the opportunity to take on mentor roles they rise to the occasion. Organisations like Bunnings have built a great culture (and High Performance) around employing seniors up to 80 years of age and mixing teams to utilise their wide knowledge base.
While there is good reason for employers to hire, and retain older workers it should not be left to them to further this cause, older workers need to change their thinking as well. So what are some of things that you can control if still looking for career success after 55?
Here are some simple tips:
Retain an open mind and continue to learn
One of the common objections I hear about older workers is their resistance to change and to adopt new thinking and technology. Make sure you know more that just Word and Excel as in today’s world you also need knowledge in CRM’s, ERP’s and in some cases new Cloud based packages such as Finance, Project management, Design and the like. Look at your sector and make sure you can stand your own on the latest software systems.
If you are working in a particular field then make sure you are ofay with the latest thinking, research and or innovations and be prepared to show this knowledge base.
Even if you are not 100% up to date then at the very least be prepared to get trained and use whatever systems are required of you to deliver your new role – keep an open mind to new ideas and processes.
Build your networks
It is well accepted that up to 80% of roles are found in the non-advertised market. You need to build a stronger network ASAP. Ask yourself who would take your call if you phoned for a network meeting and are they positioned in roles that could offer information and further contacts. Use LinkedIn for this as it’s the best networking platform for business. Set yourself the goal of having more than 300 contacts by the end of the year. If you would like more information on how to network for your next role then get my free eBook today
Aim to have at least six network meetings a month to re-establish and grow your network. These are about giving as much as receiving. Look to join associations, attend events and workshops. Building your network is a career requirement today no matter your age. You will have many jobs in your career and your network will support you finding most of them.
When applying for some roles your network will be of value (Business Development) so show that it is relevant and well maintained.
Build your Brand
If you ask people who know you to describe you in a few words what would they say? This is your current brand and you need to develop and communicate this to support your career going forward. Be known for a few things and not a lot and be known to your target market/ audience not everyone. Be seen for what you can deliver and for the unique way in which you do it.
For more on Personal Branding - see the Personal Branding Blog site.
Look at peer to peer structures
Australia like most of the world is going through a structural shift in labour supply (CSIRO report - Tomorrow’s Digitally Enabled Workforce) and the growth of peer-to peer platforms is evidence of this. Some of you may see this as a way to supply contract services to employers throughout the world especially if your service is suited for the online world. This would suit those looking to work from home or from rural communities where high speed internet is hopefully coming soon under the NBN
Look to portfolio careers
I have coached a number of executives over the years who have moved into portfolio careers, which means working for more than one employer or having a number of contracts on the go at any time. This may mean two contracts or a number of Board/ Committee appointments. This is a great way for organisations to get the skills and experience they need at a lower price and cover duties that do not require 40 hours per week. As long as the two roles do not cause a conflict of interest most organisations would consider such a proposal. If wishing to become a Company Director then look to get training (AICD) and get some early experience on small boards or Non-Profits.
Look to part time careers
For those with healthy Super balances you may decide to kick back a bit and reduce the days from five to three for example. Like the portfolio career this can offer an employer great benefits without the risk and high cost. Look to what you would expect for a three-day contract for 1, 2 or 3 years say and then negotiate a deal that you can live with.
The first place to look is with your current or past employer as they already know your value proposition and cultural fit.
Keep yourself Healthy and Fit
A common misconception about the older worker is that they lack energy and get sick more often. Look to a fitness program and diet to keep your energy high and to maintain your good looks. Remember in employment first impressions count.
While it can be hard for those over 55 to remain in their ideal role it is possible to continue working until 70 and over as this has been proven to improve mental and physical health and well as saving the Super balance until you really need it. To a large extent, it is within your control and it just takes some preplanning and action in building the Network and Brand.
Get a coach
It can be a lonely journey when searching for a new role in your later years and having someone to both guide and support you can make all the difference. There are some great career coaches out there and most can work with you over the long period it may take to achieve your aim.
If you are an older worker looking to find a new role then I hope this has given you a few ideas on how you can control your later stage career and feel free to contact me if I can provide further information.
If you are a business leader then I hope you can look at your current team and see opportunities to employ more older workers so you can gain the real benefits that they can provide. If you are looking at the current culture within your team and would like support on building more diversity and high performance then give me a call as well as happy to catch up.
I have commented many times that the culture of an organisation is lead from the top and that its values and behaviours are only as good as their level of tolerance for non-compliance. It was therefore of interest to me that a well-known major organisation such as QBE Insurance (Australia) has seen it necessary to fine its CEO $550,000 for a major breach of their ethic code.
In mid-2014 QBE issued its code of business ethics and conduct one of which required employees to disclose to their manager “any close personal relationship that may cause a conflict of interest” In introducing the code the CEO said “our ONE QBE values are not just words on a page – they are the very essence of our culture and how we work and are intrinsically linked to our long-term vision”.
After recently admitting a relationship with his executive assistant, that he had not reported, the CEO placed the board in the difficult position of deciding what to do. The result was the fine, and while large was no doubt acceptable on such a large remuneration package. In other words he received a smack on the hand.
The question is not the relationship, or the level of fine, but the acceptance that values broken at the top of an organisation can be simply resolved by a fine. What is the message that the rest of the QBE staff can take from this? Breaking the ethics rule will cost me a fine, hopefully in line with my pay, but I will keep my job, or there are different rules here depending on your position.
The Board missed an important opportunity to re enforce the required Culture of the organisation and has in fact said that inappropriate behavior can be tolerated if the person is senior or important enough to them.
Another recent example was Uber’s CEO. In Uber’s case, assuming the cultural reason for avoiding acting against bulling/ harassment claims was due to the fear of losing a top performer, then we can assume that behavior is not part of how that organisation evaluates overall performance. The message given culturally is misaligned and confusing. It is as if the organisation is saying, “If you can make rain, go ahead and bully. If you are the only one with the secret code, sexual harassment will be ignored. Go ahead and act inappropriately.”
When developing a Culture where Values and Behaviours are a key component it is incumbent on the leadership of the organisation (including the Board) to ensure that tolerance of poor behavior is low, that failures at any level will be investigated fairly and quickly and that repercussions are uniform across the organisation.
Boards have long tolerated a whole range of behaviors, simply by not paying attention to behavior at all. Up until very recently, boards of directors considered behavior as a topic for management, rather than directors. Even now, too many boards are motivated by pressure from regulators, rather than by a deep-seated belief that behavior is as much a part of performance as financial measures. But boards today can actively show their lack of tolerance for certain behaviors. They can request data on key behavioral metrics, or on factors such as how strongly behavior is considered in performance review, or how often behavior is a cause for promotion, reward or dismissal.
Did the QBE Board make the right call?
The amount of time we spend at work far exceeds the time we spend on anything else. And, for those who work in a job that does not inspire, challenge or reward this can be soul destroying.
Some see their job as a ‘means to an end’ - this end being having time and resources to do what they really enjoy outside of work. While this approach was common in workplaces 20 or 30 years ago today there are many opportunities to be creative and bring some passion into the 9 to 5.
If you are in a role that you have lost passion for, or one that you never had passion for in the first place, then here are a few ideas for you to explore.
The easiest option is to bring one of your passions to work in your current role. Most of us have a passion but few think of ways that this can be brought into the work environment. Write down what inspires you and what you gain satisfaction from doing, outside of work, and then look at how you might introduce this into your current role or job environment.
Some ideas to inspire:
Introduce your passion to the team – most people will have no idea what you love doing. For example I love design and take every opportunity to include designing new flyers, sales aids and the like for my firm. I also love technology and happily take a lead in introducing new tech and supporting others with issues as they arise.
Explain that you would like to introduce this into the job/ work environment and brainstorm how this can be done. This could include things like health, sports, crafts, reading, technology, food – the list is endless. I have had clients start new social groups, volunteer for support in other departments, introduce mentoring and more.
Start introducing your passion into the role, office, social groups and you will be surprised how many will embrace the idea and even be inspired to do likewise. This will also lift your reputation as others will see your increased energy and confidence when you are talking about and doing what you love.
If you are considering a move into a new role (internal or external) look at how you can either introduce your passion into the role or move intentionally into a role with greater opportunity to live your passion.
Everyone has the right to enjoy what they do in life. In managing your career ensure that your work is fulfilling and provides you with the most opportunities to bring your best and enjoy what you do. Achieve this and you will be successful in any role and your life will be better for it.
Too often we hear “our people matter” from senior executives and yet far too often it is those same people that are letting go staff when the economy dips or a decision is made to offshore to save costs. So, is this regard for people just a cheap throwaway line, as in reality they are just another component of delivery, or are organisations missing out on the greatest resource they have at hand?
All staff know the business must be profitable, deliver great service and quality and be competitive and they know jobs are dependent on these things. What a lot of organisations don’t appreciate is the power of their people to influence these things if only they were respected more, listened to more and involved more.
Too often major decisions like offshoring are made at the executive level where a saving of 10% may be the critical factor in moving parts of the business away. And yet if approached with the business imperatives what other initiatives could be implemented through the involvement and participation of staff? We are seeing this in organisations where new labour agreements are reached (hours, shifts and rates), staff taking unpaid leave, new processes accepted and the like where staff fully realise that change is necessary to save both the company profitability and jobs. This acceptance that people matter and should be more involved leads to increased feelings of security, engagement and loyalty all of which goes toward building a culture of high performance.
For this to happen there must be trust and respect on both sides and this needs to be built before such steps are necessary otherwise there will likely be the atmosphere of resentment or ‘being forced into a corner’ rather than being part of the solution.
What we know about people at work is that at the end of the day, they want to matter, to feel significant. They want to be respected, heard, honoured, and supported; they want to win, learn, grow, and do their best. What we need are cultures that recognize this principle, and lead accordingly. Here are some key dimensions of such a culture:
By creating a leadership culture where people feel they matter, everything else the business needs to do will happen—productivity, quality, customer satisfaction, and profitability.
Most organisations are fully committed to developing and training their staff and this is expected to be no different in 2017 with the economy and business confidence continuing to increase. What does confuse some businesses is just what is the best development / training process to use as each has its good and bad points and detractors and champions.
The Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) in the UK conducted research in 2015 as to the most used and most effective Learning and Development trends and practices and the following was the result:
CCIPD -2105 Learning and Development (L&D) survey report
On-the-job training continues to be the most popular and effective way for employees to gain new skills, with 48% of respondents regarding it favorably. In-house development programs are the second most popular form of training; 46% use this method regularly.
While on-the-job training use and effectiveness was aligned it was interesting to see what was regarded as the next most effective form of development that being coaching by line managers or peers which was seen to be just as effective as on-the-job but only utilised by 34% of respondents.
So what did the CIPD survey show as the growth areas for the future?
Again coaching by line managers and peers was seen as the most likely to grow with respondents forecasting a 65% growth with this followed by E-learning at 59%.
So, if you are interested in building a learning/ coaching culture where your line managers are capable and empowered to use coaching to support, develop, and empower staff then how do you start building this capability?
To develop a coaching culture, it is essential to accomplish it in phases. A comprehensive approach must be adopted by organisations for it to be successful. There is a need to create engagement through awareness. Coaching is a multi-purpose tool and can be employed for:
While planning, there is a need to identify the key stakeholders. It is crucial to understand what coaching is and what would be the results of the initiative. Encouragement must be offered by the leaders and they should offer support to their managers and coachees.
A coaching model should be adopted that can be easily imparted, repeated and scaled. The managers and top executives should serve as role models. Coaching should be associated with the delivery of business results, strategy development and with development of professional and personal success and not promoted as a remedy for poor performance.
There is a need to reward and recognise the behavior due to coaching culture. The skills must be developed continually by presenting projects and opportunities to the employees.
Development of measures for tracking the return on investment must be done and reviewed constantly to keep the coaching culture alive within an organisation. The measurement approach should be considered a core within the organisation and should be infused in all aspects pertaining to the business.
There is a need for the senior management to value and accept coaching as a tool that can be employed from professional development and for the growth of business. This can help the coaching culture to flourish within an organisation. A coaching culture assures long term business success and while this will not happen overnight, commitment to the process is necessary especially in the first year. Engaged and happy workers contribute to the success of the company in many ways and this should be seen early in the process certainly enough to maintain momentum.
The Leader as Coach
As showed in the CIPD survey the use of general coaching skills as a style of management by line managers has been found to be highly effective in enhancing workplace satisfaction and productivity. By this I mean they employ a coaching style of managing but do not constitute a formal coaching relationship.
Coaching is a complex skill set, requiring significant training and experience for mastery. There is a growing awareness that short, ‘leader as coach training courses’ cannot impart these skills with the level of complexity and sophistication needed to provide an organisation with a complete internal coaching capability. Rather, ‘leader as coach’ type programs are more properly understood as a form of professional development for leaders and managers, assisting them in developing a more effective ‘coaching style’ of communication, thereby enhancing their performance in their primary roles.
Coaching requires time, commitment and dedication across all the levels of the organisation. Revenue, productivity and engagement will be impacted due to the development of a coaching culture and adoption equips a company to better face the challenges in their environment and emerge as winners.
Here are few steps that can help in developing and sustaining a coaching culture within organisations.
1. Start with the Executive Team
You need to figure out the top executives you need to get on board so that it becomes easy to reinforce the coaching culture within the organisation. How can a senior manager take care of sustaining and implementing a coaching culture within their organisation if they have not experienced it themselves and seen the benefits?
2. Coach senior managers initially and start an internal resource
The enthusiasm trickles down when the senior managers can see that benefits are being offered that impacts directly on their role and the team below them. It may be necessary to employ external coaches as they have specialized training and an unbiased perspective that can benefit members of the senior team in the early stages of the culture change process. Senior staff who show interest and HR representatives can then be trained to become internal coaches who in turn can coach employees across other levels.
3. All staff should be coached by their managers
This can be done in a formal manner. Quarterly or monthly check-ins can be scheduled for discussing development themes, career progression and recurring issues. An informal approach can also be employed. Feedback can be offered to the reports and they can be helped on setting personal and business goals. Managers who embrace a coaching style of leadership will look to their staff to come up with solutions and take on more responsibility to achieve agreed goals and actions. This leads to increased performance, engagement and in time frees the manager up for more high level activities
If you are interested in finding out more about building a coaching culture within your organisation then contact me and I will send you an ebook on the subject. If you are looking to find a proven Leader as Coach training program for your executives/ managers then look to Point Ahead who has run a very successful program over the past six years and who can provide a great testimonials.
At the start of the year it is easy to be too busy to spend any time focused on your career. But if you don’t do something now - then when will you, and who is going to do it if you don’t?
So as far as New Years’ resolutions go I will leave it to you to decide how much more to exercise and less to eat this year! But I will suggest six simple ways to ramp up and keep good momentum going in your career for 2017.