All teams go through different stages of evolution, often with little or no awareness of which stage they are in.
Understanding changing team dynamics and strengthening foundations, I meet your team where they currently are and help them build the bridge to where they want and need to be.
The following case stories will give you a sense of what's possible for your team.
*Note: Names have been changed to respect client confidentiality
This global project team was charged with delivering a vital aviation software solution to 13 international sites. The project had been running for 2 years but was spinning its wheels. Burning thousands of dollars a week, nothing they did to fix things seemed to be working.
Ineffective leadership, internal conflict and vested interests were rife. Morale was low and staff turnover was high (no one wanted to work on this ‘poisoned chalice’ project!)
The customer was losing patience and the parent company was preparing to shut the project down which would mean 60 job losses and an irreparably damaged reputation.
With many missed milestones costing thousands of dollars a day, no one believed they could deliver and this large project was on a Titanic style collision course for disaster.
Through a 'last chance' intensive 2 day Leadership Team Building Retreat, 12 stream leaders identified the specific challenges and developed targeted solutions to address them. The team created a timeline to better understand what had created their current predicament.
Re-framing the events of the past enabled them to move forward with wisdom, clarity, confidence and unity.
Designing a new Strategic Direction, Team Charter and Exemplary Leadership Model, they realigned values, resolved conflict and cultural differences, clarified roles and responsibilities and established agreed ways of working.
Finally, the leaders had a robust way to turn their project around and get back on course.
- Within 2 weeks, the CEO reported visibly improved team morale and successful delivery of a key milestone; together with a significant improvement in customer satisfaction.
- Ongoing Team Coaching, maintained focus and accountability and within 6 months all milestones had been met and the system was successfully rolled out.
- On the back of their success, the software solution was sold and successfully implemented for another country and 2 other countries placed firm orders for over $200m.
Postscript: The Program Manager was subsequently promoted to head up the company’s Australian operations. 4 of the project leaders formed a special rescue team that helps other troubled projects successfully get back on track.
The presenting issue is rarely THE issue! Take time to get to the root cause. Treat the cause rather than the symptoms. Provide a safe space for the team to unpack how they got to be in the situation they are in; learn the key lessons and move on from there.
Need to discover how to bring your team back from the brink of disaster?
In a high-stakes, commercial industry, the pressure to deliver put the spotlight on the Sales and Marketing Teams. Rapid Campaign Design, Development and Implementation was critical.
Responsible for delivering this multi-national's ambitious sales targets, Sales and Marketing had virtually declared war on each other! With a toxic blame culture, there was persistent finger pointing and a chronic lack of accountability.
A series of small focus groups enabled members of each team to tell their stories and envisage how they would like it to be instead. Identifying common themes provided the framework for a 2-day Team Building retreat during which both teams were provided with a way to listen and truly understand each other without judgement.
Getting to know each other; aligning around common goals and learning about each other's communication preferences enabled them to appreciate rather than resent their differences.
A Team Charter was developed to describe shared and individual accountabilities, guiding principles and desired behaviours. Honest and respectful conversations reset communication and established trust.
- From 2 distinctly separate groups and an atmosphere you could cut with a knife on the first evening, collaborative relationships were formed and by lunch on the final day, they had become a united team who were relaxed and comfortable with each other.
- At a 3 month check-in team coaching session, they proudly reported that by doing what they'd committed to do and 'living' their charter, sales had increased by 37%.
- The Directors of both teams took on responsibility for modelling the desired attitudes and behaviours, publicly acknowledging success and privately course correcting when individuals accidentally slipped back into the old ways.
- Within 6 months, Staff Turnover reduced from 25% to 4% as the combined team collaborated to create a healthy and supportive culture.
Where conflict is prevalent and emotions are running high, an independant team coach can create an effective intervention that enables everyone to be heard; lessons learned to be extracted and the future co-created
Curious to see how conflict within your team can be resolved?
This government branch was reeling from a recent restructure where their team was significantly reduced with no corresponding reduction in their scope or services.
Unclear about how they could do the same or more with fewer people, this team was stuck in the belief that the only answer was to recruit more people, which wasn't an option.
A series of individual team Focus Groups clarified their conundrum and priorities and designed significantly streamlined systems and processes.
The breakthrough came in a final All-Branch Planning Day where they unlocked potential and capacity by leveraging skills, experience, knowledge and relationships that already existed but weren't being utilised.
- 'Phone a Friend' initiative enabled team members to share expertise gained from previous roles and implement flexible work practices.
- An unexpected benefit was the increased opportunity for growth, development and satisfaction as team members gained exposure, expanded their skills and contributed to projects beyond the previously limited scope of their roles.
- Senior leaders developed influencing skills and confidence to negotiate priorities and manage expectations.
Organisational down-sizing and restructures are common across all industries. Before you jump to creating the new org chart and putting names in fewer boxes, take time to first undertake an Impact Assessment. It's far easier to plan how work will be done BEFORE you restructure.
Wondering what an Impact Assessment could save you?
This non-profit organisation team was delivering innovative and highly effective programs and services to disadvantaged people. But they were facing a major roadblock that was constraining their ability to deliver in a timely and effective way.
Requiring the support of other divisions, including Corporate Services, they experienced tedious bureaucratic process delays. It became apparent that the other divisions had a limited understanding of the services and programs this team delivered and the impact of their requirements.
A market place style, welcoming Open Day was designed to showcase what this team delivered, including Q&A sessions, innovative problem solving think tanks, Client Stories, friendly competitions and free food (always a 'must' to bring people in! Throughout the day staff from all other divisions were personally invited to come and participate in sessions.
As there was widespread resentment and skepticism about this division, the team was unsure if anyone would turn up...
- 120 people attended (86% of those invited) and actively participated in the day.
- Collaborative think tank sessions gathered ideas to solve 15 major problems and gained commitment to work together to implement the solutions.
- Feedback and comments from attendees highlighted that they'd learnt far more in 2 hours about this team's work than they had over all the years they'd worked for the organisation.
- Ensuring the day was inclusive, high energy and fun shifted the cross-divisional culture from frustration and misunderstanding to one of mutual respect and co-operation.Xxx
Until this day, we didn't know how many people in our organisation were actually behind and for the work we do! The Open Day created the perfect opportunity to bring people together and gain active support. Thank you Caroline - without your help, we would never have achieved such a successful outcome.
SB, General Manager, Homelessness Services
Market place style Open Days do take a lot of work to prepare but have enormous potential to save you years of effort. They are a powerful, effective way to break down silos, reduce frustration, misunderstanding and covert conflict. They are also the perfect catalyst to strengthen connectivity and intra team dynamics.
Curious to see why and how 'bottom-up' change works so well?
When new manager Ben started as the manager of the IT service support team of a mid-sized telco, he was shocked to learn how poorly regarded his team was across the company.
Through initial meetings with his executive colleagues, he learnt that his team was non-responsive, didn't seem to care and couldn't 'fix a leaky tap'!
The CEO made it clear that Ben had 6 months to turn the team around or he would outsource the IT support function.
Not surprisingly, morale was low, absenteeism was high and defeated team members felt like they were fighting a losing battle.
I conducted a series of 1:1 interviews to gain understanding of the impact and drivers of the poor performance. These interviews also gained commitment to help the team to change.
It became apparent that Ben's predecessor was a micro-managing, directive and punitive leader who disempowered the team and deflected responsibility.
Over a 2 day 'Laying the Foundations' Team Building Retreat the team identified the reputation they wanted and what it would take to create it.
- The team 'drew a line in the sand' on the past and brought in to their significant improvement challenge
- A new mission and vision were created and a detailed strategic plan was developed to deliver on both.
- If the team was going to succeed, the environment also had to change. Pro-active stakeholder engagement was prioritised; service delivery KPIs were established and a Values/Behaviours Blueprint became the cornerstone of their strategy.
- Within 4 months the team proudly recorded a 74% improvement in customer satisfaction and staff turnover and absenteesim were significantly reduced.
- At a 6-month check-in with the CEO, he said:
I can't believe this is the same team! I honestly didn't think it was possible and I'm so glad they proved me wrong.
CEO, Telco Provider
If your team is poorly regarded and struggling, the first step is to gather the data. How would their stakeholders describe them (in three words) and what led them to choose those words. These perceptions may or may not be true or what you would want but they do represent the stakeholders' beliefs and this is what will need to be changed.
A strong and positive reputation is what every team needs to succeed!
Keen to know how you can shift your stakeholders' perceptions of your team?
When a state government department embarked on an ambitious reform program, a whole of department restructure created the opportunity to enable place-based services.
As a 'critical friend' and team coach, I was engaged to set the executive team of one of the new divisions up to succeed. Highly skilled and experienced in their respective fields, this team was starting with great potential but no clear way to enable it.
The team was displaying all the characteristics of a 'Team of Champions' rather than a 'Champion Team'. No one was clear on their own role, let alone what others were responsible for and there were no agreed ways of working. It this wasn't addressed, the team was at risk of spinning its wheels and failing to deliver.
- Foundations were designed and developed including Mission, Vision, Strategic Direction, Priorities/Focus Areas and Desired Culture.
- The team developed deep, trusted relationships and partnerships, enabling them to support each other rather than forming to default silos.
- Within a year, this division was recognised as 'leading the way', bedding down the new structure; up and cross-skilling staff and successfully managing the inevitable 'Change Challenges' they had anticipated and prepared for.
Thank you Caroline! What we did within 2 days with you would have taken us months and helped us quickly become high-performing. The activities you took us through were exactly what we needed. The "Needs and Offers' exercise unlocked potential we didn't even know we had! You created such a collegiate experience and positive energy that established the way we wanted to be perceived as a team.
EW - Executive Director
Let's see how you can create and unite a high performing team
P2R Client Experiences
Ability to understand our desired outcomes and then create a program which had a clear journey for the team to achieve the set objectives was superior to other facilitators I have worked with
We recently engaged Caroline on very short notice (less than 2 weeks) to facilitate a coming together of a new Top 25 leadership team as a result of the merger of an external acquisition with an existing internal operating business.
Caroline took our brief and desired outcomes and crafted a thoroughly engaging and rewarding 2 day workshop which was about aligning culture and creating a consistent vision and set of tangible business objectives for a large business unit (greater than 500 people). All the requirements of our brief were achieved without question.
A post workshop survey conducted with the team gave Caroline a 100% score for exceeding expectations as the facilitator.
I found her ability to understand our desired outcomes and then create a program which had a clear journey for the team to achieve the set objectives was superior to other facilitators I have worked with in the past. I would thoroughly recommend Caroline to anyone looking for a facilitator who can ensure your objectives are met and exceeded, who is consistently engaging and who can work the group and their individual characteristics for maximum team and business outcomes.
A rare combination of broad experience, powerful questions, deep insights, high inter-personal skills, unquestionable work ethic, high integrity and low ego
I have known Caroline for over a decade, initially as a consulting colleague and more recently I’ve engaged her on strategy and high performance team development assignments to support my own clients. I can recommend Caroline without reservation as a consummate professional, thoughtful advisor on change and transformation, brilliant facilitator and accomplished coach. She brings that rare combination of broad experience, powerful questions, deep insights, high inter-personal skills, unquestionable work ethic, high integrity and low ego – it’s all about YOU as the client and getting YOUR results, and on that basis I don’t know of any projects within Caroline’s influence that haven’t worked. So, when it’s about strategy or transformation I choose to work with Caroline whenever I can.
Created a safe yet challenging learning environment that allowed the participants to learn, grow and stretch themselves
Caroline expertly designed and facilitated a program for a group of our emerging leaders. She created a safe yet challenging learning environment that allowed the participants to learn, grow and stretch themselves. Caroline brought wisdom, great energy, humour and a genuine desire for results. The program delivered a demonstrable shift in awareness of self for the participants and awareness about their leadership presence and shadow. Our emerging leaders also walked away with some great tools in their leadership tool kit. The feedback from the program and its impact on participants has been excellent. Thank-you Caroline!
Everyone got so much out of it!
Caroline did a brilliant job with our team and we've got some very worthwhile projects to work on as a result. I heard great feedback from other team members too - everyone got so much out of it.
Always striving to get the best out of people in a caring and compassionate way.
Caroline initiated changes which made a true difference and took over a team very down on attitude and enthusiasm. Through her coaching, leadership and direction the team was rebuilt into a successful, efficient working unit. She is not afraid to share her point of view and challenge the status quo, whilst always striving to get the best out of people in a caring and compassionate way.