Ashwoods had grown quickly. In one year, their turnover was up 75% and they had launched two new products. The pace of change, however, had caused its own set of problems – little sense of unity at the top, a lack of clarity around individual performance expectations, a silo mentality between departments and little effective communication top-down, bottom-up, or team to team.
“For our team to be aligned to our company vision and strategy.”
“To be sure that individuals understand their role in achieving success.”
“To communicate our vision and strategy effectively to our team.”
Jeremy Ellison, Finance Director at Ashwoods, gave a pretty good outline of the challenge. Interpersonal relationships throughout the organisation required improvement, and leadership and management techniques needed to be progressed and learnt.
In turn this would give staff a sense of worth and purpose, allowing them to recognise the individual value they each bring to the team.
The first step on the path to personal and team development requires a firm understanding of self – strengths, weaknesses, communication style, expectations and needs – and of the difference between self and others. Only with this knowledge can one learn to play to one’s own and others’ strengths and build effective, responsible and respectful working relationships.
As part of Growth Accelerator, the leadership team undertook a free half-day “Psychometric Workshop” with The Colour Works. Alongside starting the process of becoming tighter as a team, light bulbs also flashed as the full implications of the learning and its possible applications to business improvement became apparent.
Partnering with the leadership team, The Colour Works designed a series of learning interventions for the whole company over a 6-month period that would satisfy their needs:
A series of workshops for all staff kick-started the learning programme, introducing the colourful Insights model of behaviours and their own, unique Discovery profile. Everyone’s eyes were opened to how different we all are, how everyone contributes to the organisation’s purpose but in a different way and how, in order to ensure we get the best from each other, we may have to adapt our style to better meet others’ needs. The language of colour soon reverberated around the office, supported by our visual stimuli – badges, blocks, cards, team wheels, wall-charts.
Supplementary workshops engaged with the wider leadership team who used the profiles of each team to build on the prior learning, redefine the purpose and culture of the teams and, through a better understanding of the style, purpose and needs of the teams, improve the effectiveness of its interactions with them. This also led to a review of each team and the relative contribution each one made to the organisation, providing an opportunity to restructure.
An away-day for all staff to celebrate achievements, monitor progress and set goals for the coming year. This was set in the context of a set of activities exploring the key methods of having more effective performance conversations, in both motivational and challenging circumstances.
“Being able to clearly see everyone’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of interpersonal relationships has been invaluable in helping us to understand how people like to work and what type of things that we need to do to motivate and inspire them.”
“The leadership team needed to better communicate the overall vision and strategy. We now share our formal business plan with the whole team and have been careful to regularly update everyone about developments.”
“Strengthening leadership and management capability is not something that can be done in a day; we will be continuing to work with The Colour Works to develop our skills.”
Jeremy Ellison, Finance Director