I was conducting training on entrepreneurship and leadership management at a corporate, for a team of C-suite executives. The average professional experience of the participants was 20+ years.
- More open to ideas from their team members
- Engage more with their subordinates
- Take more calculated risks with an entrepreneurial mindset and
- Focus on better utilizing their skills towards time management and micro-management focused towards efficiency and productivity
Problems: The challenges they were facing were:
- High employee attrition in their middle management team
- 45% increase in new employees leaving the organization within a span of 6 months at every level
- Their reviews and ratings as an organization in terms of leadership and management had dropped 58% in just the past 6 months
- Their budgets were completely mismanaged and beyond control
- Their company employee productivity and efficiency had dropped over 63% in the past 6 months based on KPI’s across divisions
I was given data, information about the organization, goals for the next 6 months to 1 year, the roles and responsibilities of their leaders in each goal over the year and their performance metrics in the past 3 years shared with their approvals.
Here is the gist / summary of what we accomplished during a span of 12 months after the training took place:
- Employee attrition in their middle management team dropped from overall 39% to 11% during the 1 year
- From 45% new employees leaving the organization, it dropped to 19% across every level (from Trainees to Senior Managers) during this 1 year
- Their reviews and ratings as an organization in terms of leadership and management had gone up by 28% during this 1 year
- Their budgets were almost on the verge of getting completely aligned and just needed another quarter to get in sync with their actual targets
- Their company employee productivity and efficiency increased by 41% in the past 1 year based on KPI’s across divisions
Here is a summary of what we did at the corporate training for senior leaders:
Leadership: Focus on:
Vision – While conducting training, I realized that even though each of the C-Suite leader had undergone employee welcome, induction etc into the system, less than 10% of the participants were actually aware of the organisation’s vision. We took help from their Senior HR team members to integrate this into a much more engaging way, especially since this was for their team of C -site leaders. If the division, departmental and business head themselves were unclear on the vision of the organization, how much of it can we really expect to percolate into the teams?
PIE2: Productivity, Inspiration, Empathy and Efficiency (PIE2) : I designed PIE2 as a management training system for their leaders.
There were more than 60% of these senior leaders who were focusing on “time / hours” spent at work rather than focusing on the productivity and efficiency. How we figured this out is, their work hours charts depicted more than 75% of their employees spending more than 2-3 hours than their actual work time, each day in the office.
When we got into the details, the leaders callously mentioned, “we have made it clear that no one leaves the office before 8 pm everyday”. None of them seemed to care the effect, the negative impact this had on their team members down the line.
We slowly realized that this started right at the top. The senior most leader was of the opinion that “more hours spent in the office, shows better employee productivity”, which was actually having the opposite effect.
So we created a chart and focused on skill based creativity and productivity for employees down the line to be monitored.
With the help of their HR team, we created a system wherein we gave an option for their teams to work from home few days a month and calculated their productivity comparing with their KPI’s in the previous months. More than 68% of their employees delivered better results when they were allowed to work from their place of choice. In fact, we realized, over a period of 3 months, more and more employees were now even coming to work instead of working from home on their own. Now that they had a choice, they no longer felt burdened with a notion of “monday blues”.
Inspiration: There were a large group of leaders in that room who were originally seen by their peers, subordinates as mentors. But over a period of time, due to lack of clear vision, focus on things that were not of core importance to employees morale etc, this quality or focus gradually dropped.
We rebuilt systems for peers and subordinates to choose their mentors and follow-up with them for a period of 3 months.
This not only created a sense of personal and professional development for the subordinates, peers etc but also fostered a sense of being a part of something big, while the mentors themselves felt better connected with their team members now.
Inspiration was missing, now, it had become an integral part of being a manager or a boss.
Guess what, people love being inspired and more than that, people love being the reason behind someones inspiration.
Once we had the above two aspects of productivity and inspiration in place, empathy and efficiency followed on their own.
Because, the earlier versions of being driven by narrow purposes and lack of ability to communicate was now replaced with a clear sense of purpose.
Bosses now were more in tune with their peers, subordinates and in return, the level and quality of work, in terms of efficiency had more than doubled from the team members who now felt more connected to the organization and their team members.
Finally, with all of this in palce, we integrated a process that encouraged collective leadership wherein a shared responsibility, decision making, accountability, and authentic engagement was the focus of the entire system.
Few things that stood out from our employee engagement at a C-suite level:
We realised that we needed to focus on creating an empathetic environment wherein bad managers, micro-managers and those who preferred to have their own peer groups or inner circles were slowly either ejected from the system or were clearly given better leadership and teamwork coaching.
You can’t have a great organization if there are professionals in your system who work with grudge, resentment, bias, pre-conceived notions about people and who prefer to work in their own secure groups of those who are their clear followers and will not voice against them irrespective of what happens.
Many a times, organisations end up giving charge to people like this who end up corrupting their inner circle and slowly cause damage to the brand and culture of that organization for eg a male boss who makes sure everyone who grows in their team is a male member or a female boss who does the same thing building a group of women oriented team members only. One needs to understand that, gender bias, culture, community bias, expressing personal dislike towards someone etc are extremely poor ways to work in an organization. Here, focus should be on skills, talent, efforts, sincerity, loyalty, efficiency and team work. People who seem to contribute well towards the organisations growth, brand value etc should never be outcast just because one of their senior team leaders does not get along well with him or her. Rather, the top most leaders in that organisations management team should find a way to ensure that these two team members work together amicably and contribute to the organisations growing brand value and business. Now, that is good management!
Once you remove such negative bias and thinking from the system, what you are left with is a group of professionals who focus on the organizations goals and growth of peers across.
- Focus on giving more to those who are willing to do more for the organization.
- Reward great work with great recognition and incentives.
- Do not encourage professionals within your organization forming and creating teams within, it never goes well in the long run.
- Awards and rewards should be tied to merits and not based on ‘who you like better’.
Also, we realised that due to fear of survival, many senior managers / top leaders were slowly adjusting to “be okay” with the ongoing environment.
We ensured their leaders were given the right training / coaching which encouraged them to be better risk takers wherein they realized, as leaders, they need to take calculated risks, or they risk stagnation of their own growth, of their peers and in turn of the organization.
So instead of adjusting slowly to mundane work due to fear of survival, we empowered them to take risks for which they needed to be accountable, but this ‘accountability” was no longer one persons burden, rather the entire team to be a part of the outcome.
This resulted in the leaders from divisions across the organisation, pooling in their networks, skills, connections etc to deliver their A – game through the challenge and in turn deliver some of the best results the organisation had seen in more than a decade.
In management, at times, it’s not just about skills, talent, experience, education and know-how. At times, it’s about fundamentals, it’s simply about managing people and channeling them through ways that are going to add value to their growth and in turn of those around them.
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