Today we’re making a visit to the ever-entertaining Brain Basics boardroom. Have you been to the Brain Basics boardroom? It’s where you’ll find situations remarkably similar to those found in our modern workplace, complete with all those – umm , delicate, shall we say – dynamics commonly seen among coworkers and within superior/subordinate professional relationships. And, although I’m calling it entertaining, we all know that these boardroom antics can have a real impact on a business and personal lives, affecting everything from profits and professional goal attainment to personal growth and quality of life. Our visits to the Brain Basics boardroom are designed to highlight the solutions available through executive coaching. Solutions that can foster personal and professional growth with results that can be seen in the bottom line. So, to the boardroom we go.
Company Coping Announces A Big Change
Company Coping CEO Sam explains, “It looks like it is time to sell Division X. The numbers aren’t there. We can recoup some of our losses if we play our cards right. And, the good news is we won’t have a reduction in workforce.”
Training Director Tim, who has spent the last three months designing a new training program for Company Coping sales managers, with much focus on products coming out of Division X, exclaims in a voice full of agitation, “I’m going to need to stop the implementation of the new training program and work to redesign it.”
For our purposes today, the real action happens after the group leaves the boardroom and word of the divestiture gets out. Unless something changes, many important business dynamics are about to stall out, including employee morale, trust in management and contribution to overall company goals. The enterprise will be exposed to increased turnover, lost profits and could be subject to increased liability from distracted workers and otherwise unsettled employees. Meanwhile, outside of the boardroom…
Jump Ship Jim hears the news inadvertently from a not-so-discreet assistant. He sits silently in his cubicle as the wheels start turning in his mind. I had better update my resume. This place is going down. I have a new baby. My family depends on me.
Then, Vicky Victim, a long-time employee of Division X, learns that, though her role is being eliminated, she will have an equal position elsewhere in the company. She’s ruminating. I’m always on the losing end. I did all that was asked of me, but it wasn’t good enough. This new job won’t be any good.
Mad Max slams his fist on his desk when word comes his way. These people are only looking out for themselves. I’ve given them over two years of my time and energy, but no more. I’m not going to let them keep me down. None of us should. We deserve better.
When Training Director Tim left the boardroom, he shuffled over to his desk, shut off the computer and headed out the door. He’s called in sick ever since, having spent the past two days buried in angry thought. Three months of work wasted. Now they’re going to ask me to revise the entire training program. All my work was for nothing. I’m done.
Human Resources Director Debbie really begins to sweat when she hears the news. She realizes what she’s left with: a team wrought with fear, anger and a growing sense of uncertainty. She knows she is going to face lack of focus and a greatly diminished trust in management. Her overriding thought? Help!
One of the smartest moves CEO Sam and Director Debbie can make at this point is to partner with an executive coach. Their people need support during this time. They are all thinking through the implications that selling Division X has on them, both personally and professionally.
They have a lot of questions surrounding the changes. An executive coach is trained to support individuals as they transition through change. The coach is not there to give out answers, they are there to help individuals find their answers from within themselves. The executive coach works within the values of the company and supports employees as they individually process the change. Brain Basics team development and what we refer to as our “coach on call” program would be an excellent tool for Company Coping to use during this transition.
Consider a Coach-On-Call Program
Although Mad Max is presenting as angry, perhaps rallying his coworkers to rise up against the machine, his main driver is fear. Comfortable with his processes and systems, he may be afraid of what will happen to his current routine. And/or, he may be concerned that his job will be eliminated and he won’t be able to support his family. Having access to the executive coach, perhaps in the form of a few one-hour virtual sessions, available for use at his discretion, Max can talk through his fears with an unbiased, outside party. The coach can walk him through how his values and personal goals line up against the current situation at Company Coping. She can guide him through how he can best adapt to his new processes. In doing so, she will illuminate the facts that support the reality that Company Coping is making a move designed to better the enterprise.
How about Jump Ship Jim? Only Jim can define for himself what is acceptable. He may in the end choose to move on, but CEO Sam and his organization will be better off in the long run letting him move on, if that is what he deems best. A negative attitude can have deleterious effects on a business. Alternatively, if Jim arrives at a clear vision of how his staying with the company aligns with his own values and personal and professional goals, Jim is likely to become one of the greatest assets for the company.
The Benefits of Talking It Through
The executive coach is not there to ensure Max and Jim stay, nor to specifically tamp down their social rumblings, but rather help them process the change. Studies have shown that talking through a situation helps shed light on a problem and takes down the intensity of the emotions involved. It can help a person remove some of the emotional clutter in order to see the situation objectively and factually. At the end of the day, CEO Sam is going to be better off losing an employee who is angry, uncommitted and disruptive to other employees. But, in reality, the coaching process is likely to help both Max and Jim see the opportunity that awaits them as the company continues to grow, shedding areas unprofitable to the overall operation.
Director Debbie is going to benefit from the coach-on-call program as well. She’s got the responsibility of managing through all the crazy. She’s got the daunting task of establishing a sense of trust and calm. The coach isn’t going to give Debbie tactical answers, she is going to help Debbie pull out the skills and knowledge she already has within her. Debbie is also going to have the benefit of a trusted sounding board as she works through the transition. Like Max, if she is able to remove some of the emotion from the situation, she is going to be able to think much more clearly, tapping into her experience and proven skillset.
We cannot forget a very important benefit the executive coach delivers to CEO Sam and Director Debbie – time. Because the coach on call is working directly with the employees, Sam and Debbie have time back they would have otherwise needed to spend working directly with employees on the changes, managing the emotions and trying to avoid the diminished productivity. Don’t get me wrong, they are still going to need to interact and spend time on the transition – one-on-one time is always important – but the coach will be taking on a portion of the work. What’s more, they will bring specific tools and skills to the table Sam and Debbie might not otherwise have at their disposal.
Optimization Via Team Building
Director Debbie may lose a few employees as the company emerges from the sale of Division X. She will find some distrust among her employees and with upper management. This could result in conflict and even more lost productivity. Bringing in an executive coach to conduct team building using proven strategies and professional facilitation techniques will bring down the angst. Not just working on areas of trust and conflict management, the coach will work to connect the employees to the company values, in effect building a stronger team than Debbie had before.
How about Training Director Ted? What if he is able to clearly align the necessity of his increased workload – the updating of the training program – to the new direction? Can he come to see how his work is crucial to the divestiture transition and the future profitability of the company? Could he begin to see how his work on the new training aligns with his own personal value of delivering exceptional output in his professional endeavors? How about his closely held personal value of helping others in need? Value alignment is powerful; it stokes the fire of productivity.
Assessments for Greater Self-Awareness
Oftentimes, quality executive coaches will use assessments to help team members and management better understand how an individual’s emotional and social skills are both assisting and limiting the team. These assessments go far beyond the standard static personality tests. Virtually everyone is open and eager to learning more about themselves. The assessment process becomes a win for the employee as well as management. Everyone benefits from greater self-awareness. When this is coupled with team development, each gets the opportunity to learn a little more about their coworkers, creating even more opportunities to exist and collaborate productively and efficiently.
Growth Through Coaching
American author and philosopher Vernon Howard said, “The great solution to all human problems is individual inner transformation.” And, sociologist and champion of “organic humanism,” Lewis Mumford, was quoted as saying, “Growth and self-transformation cannot be delegated.” But, what I can tell you is that an executive coach can be an excellent facilitator for self-transformation. Whether we like it or not, we’re going to face change. Sometimes the change will be unpopular but it will always be an opportunity for growth. Partnering with an executive coach is one way to capitalize on the process of change. Are you ready to grow?
Is your organization facing a transition? Are you spending valuable time daily talking employees off the ledge? Brain Basics Coach-On-Call program may be the perfect solution for you. Kathy Walter has been helping teams and individuals become their best through individual coaching, team development and assessments like the Energy Leadership Index and the EQ-I 2.0? Contact Brain Basics to learn more about our science-based approach to personal and professional growth.