Monthly Archives: December 2013

2013 in the Rearview Mirror

This year’s discoveries were unexpected. The common theme was courage. Each of the teams highlighted in this retrospective were elevated by the bravery to abandon comfort and ignite change. They didn’t wait for the business landscape to demand a reaction. They listened to their clients, anticipated the future, and created solutions. Please enjoy a sampling of excellence.

Diagnosing Opportunity
When forty of the nation’s leading producers of insurance and investment products gathered to share best practices in team effectiveness, the bypassed the urge to celebrate their success. Instead, they immersed themselves in the metrics of their team assessment results in search for an opportunity to evolve. Some leaders identified a strength to leverage. Others discovered a vulnerability to address. In each case, a unique aspect of their team was mapped to a specific productivity goal and a tactical plan was forged. Within six months, all team goals were met or exceeded.

Connecting Resources
An urban public school district invited parents to partner more actively in their children’s education by establishing mentoring workshops at times when the families were most available. Each workshop provided resources for every family member anchored in evidence-informed actions proven to promote home-school partnership. When adults harness their power, kids win.

Sharing the Wealth
An equity partner in a global law firm invested in the development of his most promising talent by engaging leadership coaching relationships. Each future leader completed a personal strategic plan for their own career path mapped to the firm’s goals and their own signature strengths. The marked increase in internal morale, client satisfaction, and business development targets was not a coincidence.

Transforming Culture

When a macro-level industry transformation impacts all 200 of your association members, there is no time to complain about increased complexity and decreased resources. It didn’t take long for the good-to-great, great-to-greater vision of the executive leadership team to cascade to management and employees in all departments. The same energy that most organizations spend on grousing about change was quickly deployed to support innovation. From leadership to line staff, curiosity and difference was elevated as fuel for adaptation. Although the labor will be invisible to most of the association’s membership, the outcome will enable a benchmark level of advocacy, research, and education to the institutions where they spend the bulk of their waking hours.

So long, 2013. A new standard of courage and effectiveness has been set. Welcome, 2014. Whose stories will we share next December?


We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Laura Gettinger, a Chicago-based professional wellness consultant, for winning the 2013 Team Clock Institute Holiday Matching Game. Laura correctly matched all five team challenges with the outcomes resulting from their struggles. Below are brief summaries of each resolution.

Corporate leadership of a global consumer products company must determine whether a division president has what it takes to lead innovation.
The division president models disruptive innovation by suggesting numerous product variations unparalleled in the market. Sales skyrocket and teammates begin to take greater risks. Industry praise follows and the leader deflects credit for the group’s success to the product development team.

State-based association struggles to keep pace with the growing complexity of the industry as roles and work processes transform.
The executive leadership team sanctions weekly four-hour blocks of “protected innovation time” where department managers are encouraged to brainstorm and collaborate in creating new approaches, process improvements, and efficiencies.

A regional accounting firm attempts to honor diverse generational values in crafting leadership development strategy to support long-term succession planning
The managing director assembles a task force stocked with representatives from every workplace demographic and sponsors an initiative to define the core competencies and work-life balance expectations for c-suite talent of the future.

A national law firm’s leadership team confronts an under-performing practice group with two actively disengaged associates poisoning the workplace culture.
The practice group’s leader sponsors an “accountability initiative” in which behavior not aligned with organizational values is brought to the larger team for resolution. Everyone is empowered to raise day-to-day culture violations to the resolution process. Within six months, natural attrition results in a new composition of talent.

A local boutique retail sales team wishes to raise performance to the next level following a record breaking year.
The store owner implements weekly full-team planning sessions to research, design, and implement best practices for co-worker, customer, and community engagement. Year-to-year sales rise to a new benchmark.

Businesses of all shapes and sizes share common team challenges. Each challenge provides a call to action. By following the pain points to a diagnosis, targeted intervention elevates the team’s performance. Sometimes, organizational mission, values, and vision needs to be refreshed. Other times, teammates need to be held accountable for behavior that advances the culture. Courageous teams use this foundation to push change. The resulting evolution challenges everyone to adapt with poise and resilience.

Where are your pain points? What are they telling you to do?