The people working for you are an often untapped source of ideas. Companies such as Google and Apple are renowned for their ability to use this resource.
Are you making the most of yours?
Tomorrow I’m facilitating an annual strategic planning day for a client I’ve been coaching since 2004. As an established and successful general insurance brokerage with a stable team, you might assume there’s not a lot that’s new to discover. Yet this firm continues to innovate and improve, based on the input of all the team.
There are two main reasons: Firstly, they are in the fortunate position of having a team that are all inventive, as measured by their Harrison Assessment profiles. This means that each team member is both experimenting (with a tendency to try new things and new ways of doing things) and persistent (with a tendency to be tenacious despite encountering significant obstacles). Secondly, they actually ask for – and listen to – input!
Even if you don’t know all the natural strengths of your team, finding out what they think about how you do business and what could be improved is easy. This is how we’ve recently helped three businesses to do just that:
1. Structured interviews with selected staff followed by a briefing for the partners on the key concerns and suggestions.
2. A simple 3-question email eliciting (anonymous) feedback for the principal on a specific issue.
3. An online survey with written and verbal reports and recommendations to the management team. (See this post for more info.)
The overwhelming response in each case was that staff were very pleased to be asked and more than happy to share their ideas. Using an intermediary such as Balance at Work to facilitate the process can make it more comfortable as a first step towards more direct involvement of your team in innovation and improvement.
Tip: Asking is the easy part. Unless you are prepared to put in the hard work of really listening and trying new ways of working – please don’t bother asking.
As always, I’d like to know what you think. Please share your thoughts below.
"Coaching with Ben gave me a great opportunity to reflect and explore strategies, tips, and tools to improve ways of working and to work through opportunities & challenges. I really valued the focused discussion on specific areas to support my growth and development. I highly recommend working with Ben."
- Manager, National NFP
"In a challenging role in a new organisation, coaching with Paula was the ideal time to reflect, problem-solve, brainstorm options and arm me with next steps in all areas - from staffing, internal politics and relationships to tackling key initiatives. The sessions were by video and face to face, both equally effective. Using video allowed for easy integration of sessions into my busy workdays without any hassle. Paula’s style of coaching quickly built trust so I felt safe being vulnerable, quickly getting to the heart of a number of issues and propelling me and my performance forward significantly!"
- Executive GM, People and Culture
"We used the Harrison Assessment tools followed by a debrief with Susan, for career development with staff, which then allowed us to work with Susan to create a customised 360 degree review process. Susan has a wealth of knowledge and is able to offer suggestions and solutions for our company. She is always ready to get involved and takes the time to show her clients the capability of Harrison Assessments. "
Jessica Hill - Head of People and Culture, Choice
"Balance at Work are the ideal external partners for us as they completely get what we are trying achieve in the People and Culture space. Their flexibility and responsiveness to our needs has seen the entire 360 approach being a complete success. The online tool and the follow up coaching sessions have been game changers for our business. The buzz in the organisation is outstanding. Love it! Thanks again for being such a great support crew on this key project."
Chris Bulmer - National GM Learning and Development, ISS Australia
"The leadership team at Insurance Advisernet engaged Susan from Balance at Work to run our leadership development survey and learning sessions. Susan was very professional in delivering the team and individual strengths and opportunities for growth. Susan's approach was very "non corporate" in style which was refreshing to see. I can't recommend Balance at Work more highly to lead employee and team development sessions."
Shaun Stanfield - Managing Director, Insurance Advisernet