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WOW Factor #1 – The secret advantage

By DJ Mitsch, MCC  April 11, 2012

Changing the game of work has been on the hearts and minds of leaders for decades. The industrial age gave way to the age of information and we have passels of people who want to know more and do more with less. The mergers in the 1980s and 90s of many large companies in various industries allowed for scaled efficiencies. On our end of the equation—serving leaders and their companies—we have also sought answers that demonstrate more than anecdotal stories about the impact of coaching on training and leadership development, so as people do more with less, they are clear about the impact of the investments in developing people.

Over the past two years we have launched a change initiative in two separate companies and conducted research to support the Team process that is outlined in the Team Advantage guide, a compilation of work we have done for many companies over the past twenty years.

From the findings, there are three key wow factors from the research on team coaching:

  1. Employee engagement increased
  2. Leadership behaviors improved
  3. All improvements in engagement and behaviors were sustainable.

The research for Team Advantage was based on a simple principle: behavior changes are at the heart of significant organizational change. Transformation can’t be achieved by thinking about or doing the same things the same way.

Our first research task was to identify the behaviors that Team coaching process was intended to influence. This was a little tricky because the Team Advantage is highly personalized to the needs of the specific team. (The outstanding executive coaches leading the Team Advantage teams adjust the content to what they see is most needed by the team.) Nevertheless, we targeted the client companies’ leadership competencies or performance management capabilities and aligned those to engagement. We added six Team Advantage behaviors that seemed to cover the most significant portions of the curriculum. There was some overlap between the two. Being a team activity, Team Advantage is more socially-oriented, helping people interact more successfully with coworkers and clients, while the client’s high performance behaviors were more individually focused as expected with a field sales force.

Here is the first WOW.

There were three WOWs that this research revealed. The first was that employee engagement increased among the participants of the process.

(1) Employee engagement increased among Team Advantage participants, largely because they gained a new respect for working with others.

Employee engagement usually recognizes three components – people are engaged because (1) they love their job, what they do on a daily basis; (2) they believe in the company, its mission, leadership, products and direction; and (3) they respect and enjoy the people working with them. Of these three factors, the only one that can be externally affected by an experience like Team Advantage is the third aspect of engagement. And in fact, that is what we discovered. The specific engagement statement, “the people I work with adapt easily to new ways of doing things” increased by over 25 percentage points among Team Advantage participants. For this study it was one of five engagement questions that made up the engagement “score,” and although one other question, “Leaders communicate a vision of the future that motivates me” also increased, another question actually decreased by 4.3 percentage points, “Considering everything, I am satisfied with the company at present.” (The remaining two questions were unchanged during this period.) The conclusion from reviewing these responses is that engagement, as defined by the client company, increased among Team Advantage participants, largely due to the positive change in the way they viewed the other people working with them, and this was documented after they experienced Team Advantage.

That gives you a glimpse of our experience… tell us how you have increased employee engagement at your company. Have you found other ways to promote respect for others, improved communications, self-reflection and collaboration?

Watch this blog site for the next posts in this series… WOW Factor #2 and WOW Factor #3!

With Lynn Hays of Haysmar Research

DJ Mitsch, MCC

Darelyn “DJ” Mitsch is the Chief Energy Officer of the Pyramid Resource Group, a Master Certified Coach, and a founding member and former president of the International Coach Federation (ICF). She is a world-class coach and creative partner for innovative leaders and teams. DJ designed this program based on her passion for bringing people fully to life as they change the game of work!

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