Graham watched his door slam shut for the second time that day and thought to himself – “Enough is enough.”
The polished metal balls of the executive toy clicked against each other metronomically on Graham’s desk as he nervously twisted his gold wedding band around and around his finger.
He looked at the Chief Executive Officer sign sitting on his desk and not for the first time wished he wasn’t sitting at the top of the pecking order. Life would be so much easier without having to make all the tough decisions.
He remembered when the company was smaller and he and the other three founding members were the managers and work force all rolled into one. But as they’d expanded and employed more people, management roles had diversified and intensified. At first it was great to be at the top of the heap. But that soon stopped.
The company had outgrown the control of the founding few and the executive team that had started out as friends now hardly communicated in civil tones.
Staff couldn’t get answers to important questions, managers blamed each other in an endless circle of recriminations and the countless meetings that they called achieved nothing but wasting precious time.
People were working later and later and achieving less and less.
Graham’s own attempts at conflict resolution had only exacerbated the problems and it looked like several important team members were on the verge of resigning.
He knew the problem was too big to deal with internally. Time to call in some help …
Graham sat down. The Rod Matthews consultants had just left his office. They’d helped Graham identify the issues; uncovering new problems and agreeing on existing ones.
“It’s a problem that can easily happen for expanding companies,” the consultant had begun. “You expand out your administration and management capabilities. Rapid growth pushes you quickly into uncharted waters and you find you’re always looking backwards at previous successes rather than planning future directions. Roles become obscured and the culture of the company changes so fast it’s hard to keep pace with.”
As they discussed solutions, Graham started to remember the reasons he was in business and the successes they had already achieved. For the first time in many months he began to put the issues into perspective. The Rod Matthews consulting team were discussing the best course of action for Graham’s company.
Some of the solutions were obvious and quickly included in Rod's action plan. What was harder was deciding on a course that might give the client some useful assistance quickly and effectively.
Collaboration and management issues were notoriously difficult to find quick solutions for.
“We really have to get these guys to park some of their issues before we can discuss collaboration.”
“They need to top up their emotional bank accounts and give each other some credit.”
The room was quiet for a moment.
“Roles and Responsibilities,” was the phrase that broke the silence.
The other two nodded. It was the right process … the right choice …
What makes my role difficult?
What would make it easier?
What do I need more of from you?
What do you need more of from me?
The executives looked down at the questionnaire, then back at each other. Honest answers to these questions were the starting point for rebuilding the company’s communication.
The consultants facilitated the back and forth flow of ideas and opinions. It got a little heated from time to time, but finally the issues were out in the open and being discussed calmly.
Over the next few sessions, the Rod Matthews consultants ran a variety of exercises designed especially to promote healthy strategic collaboration and delegation skills.
Special coaching was given to the CEO on how to lead the company’s culture. Good meetings were modelled and facilitated. Plus the staff were allowed confidential feedback regarding the company’s management processes.
It wasn’t easy. The solutions sounded simple but implementation was a challenge and it really made a difference to have Rod Matthews there for each step.
Rod Matthews’s follow-up a few months later identified a few new issues that had arisen but on the whole the company was functioning much more smoothly.
Staff and managers joined focus groups and the resulting reports showed a marked increase in levels of trust and communication.
This pleased Graham, but what really made him smile was the fact that his office no longer had a revolving door bringing angry executives complaining and blaming one another.
Now that working hours had returned to a more acceptable level, some of the executives had taken up twilight sailing, and Graham had more relaxed time with his family and friends.
A development program is only worth the money when it results in changes in the workplace!
The integration of new behaviours is probably the most challenging aspect of any learning and development project. Success depends on reinforcement and recognition of behavioural change plus the chance to practise and learn by mistakes. Encouragement is crucial, involvement of stakeholders vital and awareness of the desired outcomes critical.
We partner with our clients in assuming responsibility for integrating and sustaining behavioural change. Programs which integrate new skills are an essential part of a well-formed design. Often they include the following approaches:
Our aim is to close the loop and hand over responsibility and processes to sustain a client’s new behaviours.
Call us now on 02 9487 4822 for more information – or ask a question on the contacts page.