Harry is the CEO of a group of companies, one of which was performing well, one was just about meeting targets and one was showing signs of failing.
When we began working together, Harry explained that he felt his leadership team was not working effectively to lead the failing company and turn around the areas that were struggling. He was concerned about varying levels of commitment and ability in the team. He also worried that they didn’t share a common understanding of what it would take to ensure the company continued to perform and produced a return for their investors.
The chairman made it clear that he is reviewing Harry’s personal leadership performance.
Harry identified his goals as:
- creating a common understanding of the type of company they needed to be if they were going to meet their targets and strategic objectives
- formulating the culture and values that were strategically important to them
- determining the type and style of leadership they needed
- assessing the skills, attitudes and motivation of each director to match the leadership requirements of the future
- developing his leadership team as Individuals and as a team
- improving communication across all companies
- improving his own leadership of the team and the company
The development programme
- Harry asked his executive and non-executive directors to provide him with feedback on his leadership performance, using a generic set of CEO competencies. This was done to provide input and set an example to the rest of the team of how committed Harry was to improve his own performance
- The chairman was coached on giving feedback, and he then had a meeting with Harry to discuss the findings of the 360° review, followed by an action plan of development activities he was going to undertake. The chairman wanted to learn how to give effective feedback and also wanted to show his commitment to the development programme
- A team coaching workshop was held over two days to discuss and agree the culture, values and leadership style that would bring about the required company performance changes
- This was followed by a communication to all staff in the company on what the leadership team concluded and what they were going to do, asking for feedback on how far they succeed from their teams. Directors briefed each others’ teams and a company-wide communication was written and circulated by the CEO
- A 360° feedback questionnaire was then developed with questions specifically designed to measure performance against the culture, values and leadership behaviours agreed on the team coaching workshop. This was administered on-line and reports were produced for each individual and for the team as a whole
- Following the 360° on-line process, Each Director had a feedback and coaching session, following which they each developed a personal development plan they agreed with the CEO (and he with the Chairman)
- The development actions included a broad spectrum of activities and were supported by coaching where necessary and monitored and evaluated as part of the scheduled performance management process
- A year later the 360° feedback was repeated to see what change had been achieved in the leadership behaviour and company performance
- A clear statement and communication to all stakeholders on what type of company culture, values and leadership behaviours were important to them, their shareholders and their customers.
- A clear position measurement on the leadership competencies at the start of the process, using the 360ºappraisal which helped them to examine objectively how they perform against their values and the behaviours they believed were appropriate to their roles as leaders of the company. It also enabled them to identify problem areas and actions to deal with them; and to reassess their progress as part of the normal appraisal process.
- Clear development plans and actions that could be measured
- Development of each team member aligned with their own skills, strengths and areas for improvement
- A clear distinction of what was the leadership role and what was the management role, helping to focus objectives and performance targets
- Improved communication and performance for the company
- Alignment of the behaviours with the strategic objectives of the company
- Leaders who acted like role models for their teams
- Movement towards a continuous feedback culture for the company as a whole
- Improved Leadership capability, from CEO through to Directors and their successors