How one team changed its spots

leadership Aug 01, 2021

 Staff turnover was high. There were lots of excuses for this but none that held any water.

The organisation was still doing well. They had a good reputation publicly, but behind closed doors, the staff were incredibly unhappy, stressed and constantly looking for mistakes.

They had, unintentionally, fallen into a culture of criticism. They focused all of their energy on things that went wrong; they were looking for people to stuff up.

No one would speak up, no one wanted to rock the boat. Most people wanted to fly under the radar and not attract attention.

They were miserable and people left the moment they could get another job.

We met with the leader of the organisation. They were exhausted. They struggled to answer the question, what is working well? But they could tell us all the things everyone did wrong. Lack of engagement, people are so entitled, no one takes responsibility for their actions anymore...

We listened to them and saw how hard they were working. How stressed they were.

The leader agreed to work with us; to explore why so many people were leaving and to find some new ways to deal with all of those mistakes.

We worked with the managers throughout the organisation. We heard their stories. We believed them and we identified trends.

We then coached them in how to “ask don’t tell” to increase staff engagement, we got them to focus their attention on what is working well rather than on mistakes. In a number of Team Huddle workshops, we explored with each team what respect looks like in this workplace, and they identified what they wanted the culture to look like. Then we worked out how to achieve that.

There was an immediate change in mood after our initial one-on-ones. People felt valued and they had been seen.

And the tone of the business changed significantly as they recognised that everyone is doing their best; wants to do their best and that they want to be seen and valued.

The staff turnover dramatically reduced and the culture changed to a culture of care. 

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