Articles

Toxic culture is bad for business

“RBS culture labelled ‘toxic’ as bosses are grilled by MPs…”

“Unilever threatens to pull advertising spend with tech giants Google, Facebook, and Twitter over toxic culture…”

“Game developer Quantic Dream accused of ‘toxic’ and ‘sexist’ working environment…”

 “Uber’s toxic corporate culture – much more than a PR problem”

You don’t have to look far to find examples of poor organisational culture having a measurable impact on performance.  Not every cultural failure hits the headlines, so how can you tell if your culture is bad for business?

I have an executive coaching hammer, but not every problem is a nail!

Executive coaching can’t fix everything.  There, I’ve said it.

Even if executive coaching was a hammer, not every problem is a nail.

It’s an amazing tool for aligning leadership behaviour with organisational expectations.  It’s fantastic at helping managers understand what will motivate and inspire others.  In short, it’s a brilliant tool for helping individuals change themselves, and influencing change in others.

In light of some recent conversations, I think we need to be really clear on some of the things that coaching cannot achieve (well, not on it’s own anyway):

How to shortlist executive coaches

There’s a lot of executive coaches out there.  An awful lot.  The Association for Coaching lists over 1,600 members.  The International Coach Federation has over 20,000. There are multiple LinkedIn groups dedicated to coaching practice with 30,000+ members.

The eventual decision on the coaches you choose to work with will often be somewhat subjective (hence why rather vague words like ‘chemistry’ are often used to describe the final stages of selection), but with such a bewildering array of choice, how do you produce a workable shortlist?

Masterclasses in organisational change, executive coaching and behavioural change

Join us in London throughout 2017 to learn critical skills in organisational change, executive coaching and behavioural change.

Hot on the heels of our successful one-day BootCamps, we’re delighted to announce a series of intensive two-hour afternoon sessions covering some of the most common questions we’ve been asked.

Our MasterClasses provide an opportunity to look at specific challenges in detail and answer questions to accelerate your leadership and change projects.  Best of all, like all our public events, they’re completely FREE!

Our new schedule will cover topics such as:

  • Creating an internal coaching programme
  • Effective management and measurement of executive coaching
  • Harnessing the power of culture
  • How to create meaningful change (and ditch the ‘values’)
  • Turning leadership promises into business results
  • Getting the most from 360° assessment

For more details, and to book your free place, visit our events page.

Look forward to seeing you soon!

Mindfulness – an unhelpful cliché that misses the point

Mindfulness and the broader topic of employee well-being has swept onto the development agenda over the last couple of years.  In its wake are thousands of managers frantically trying to jump on the bandwagon.

Happier employees work harder, stay longer and deliver better results.  A study in December concluded that “Happiness seems to motivate greater effort, increasing output without affecting its quality and thus boosting productivity”.

Mindfulness, strictly speaking, is a form of meditation.  If that makes you happy then great, but recognise that the things that make others happy are many and varied.  A run in a city in the morning when the sun is coming up makes me happy.  Variety in my work and certainty about the future also makes me happy.  For an employer who gives me all three I’ll work harder and stay longer!

The issue with the ‘mindfulness’ cliché is that it risks turning employee happiness and well-being into a fad.  The most successful organisations have been investing in employee well-being for years, and they’ll continue to do so once ‘mindfulness’ disappears from the front pages of the newspapers.

The majority of organisations however will jump on the ‘mindfulness’ bandwagon, throw a bit of money at someone who will demonstrate meditation techniques, be disappointed at the results, declare it a failure and contribute to the decline of employee well-being as an area of focus.

If you really want to make the people in your team happy, try understanding what motivates them and then working with them to make practical changes to the work environment.

That’s not ‘mindfulness’, it’s good leadership.

Leadership development in action: Nyomi’s story

Just under a year ago we completed a 2 year high potential (HIPO) development programme with Shred-it, the the world’s leading secure information destruction company and part of Stericycle Inc.

We welcomed participants from across Shred-it’s EMEAA operations, from the UK, Ireland, Germany and South Africa to a programme that would equip them to be leaders of the future, by focusing on enhancing their understanding of business and what it takes to lead and inspire others.

Nyomi Loftus joined the programme as an Internal Sales Representative.  Throughout the programme she proved herself to be inquisitive, bold and humble.  We were delighted to hear from Nyomi recently with an update on her progress.

Firstly I wanted to get in touch to say a massive thank you for the work you did with me during the HIPO program.

Since the program finished I applied and got a position as an Internal Sales Team Leader.  I have now been in the role for 6 months. During that time I have been consistently looking back over the material that we covered.

I have grown my team from 5 people to 8 and managed to drive their performance to now being consistently over 120% to target.

Yesterday I passed my probation and it got me thinking about the true value achieved from taking part in your training.

I am sure you will pleased to hear that I am now the proud owner of a reflections diary.

Overall, I believe that the program came at the perfect time for me, it really helped me cement some focus when the rest of my life was very difficult.

When I think back to Nyomi that did the interviews for that programme, I see a totally different person both personally and professionally.

Hope you are doing well and imparting your wisdom on other professionals.

I thank you and everyone else involved in the program for helping me to understand my true potential.

Nyomi Loftus  |  Internal Sales Team Leader

Stericycle, Inc.

Thanks Nyomi for letting us share your story, congratulations on your success, and the very best of luck for the future!

Success requires lots of small steps in the right direction

pic1It’s been a pleasure to work with the team at Sapphire over the last 6 months.  A hugely successful design and manufacturing business, we’ve been supporting them in the building of their operating strategy and the development of clear behavioural principles that will guide their continued growth.

Earlier this month, the strategy and behavioural principles were introduced to the business as part of a team event that gave us the opportunity to use one of our favourite exercises – the Marshmallow Challenge.

Time and time again, the teams that succeed in this challenge are those that are willing to prototype, to take a small step forward, test their model and use their learnings to further improve.

pic2The lessons apply equally for the successful implementation of organisational behaviours. Organisations and the people in them don’t change overnight, but by resolutely applying the prototyping mindset, continuing to take small steps in the right direction, it won’t take Sapphire very long to become the organisation they want to be.