Why companies should not Retreat – and instead do a Pit Stop

Why companies should not Retreat – and instead do a Pit Stop

 

As the clientele of Bermuda Clarity Institute continues to expand and serve the breadth of the Bermuda community, we are experiencing an increase in questions being asked about some of the high-value sessions we conduct, especially the more creatively named ones! In response and over the next few months, we have decided to profile some of these transformative sessions as Use Case type articles – where we share with you the problem, process and outcome – including real data and User feedback. Our hope is that you can start incorporating these principles to positively impact your team and business and to help your organization also achieve clarity.

PROBLEM:

When local construction and contracting company Greymane approached BCI this summer, its CEO shared his concern that “after a period of sustained growth, it had been too long since they had paused to consider strategic direction and take the time to listen to and invest in their employees.” Their management team was “constantly firefighting and felt like they were always in the trenches.” Prior attempts at conducting retreats had taught them that they had to minimize unnecessary expenses such as down-time at their sites, be more efficient and “had to achieve measurable and lasting impact for all stakeholders.” Stories are also too often circulated that retreats often end up with too much cost and socializing, and often not enough overall focus or team alignment and typically no real net-change in productivity or engagement.

PROCESS STEP 1: INTRODUCTION

BCI conducted a focused consultation with Greymane and introduced the concept of Pit Stop. By insisting that companies should never retreat, BCI rather shared the inspiration from Formula 1 and how they Pit Stop. Instead of a car, BCI brings the entire company briefly off its track – and pauses it just long enough to allow a highly qualified team of experts to co-ordinate with and help the leadership team “work on the company” versus “work in the company”.

PROCESS STEP 2: SCOPING

Through a series of interviews and assessments, BCI scoped a proposed Pit Stop plan that included numerous sessions tailored to fit various cohorts of team members given their respective roles, responsibilities and hoped for outcomes. Every session needed to be creative, intentional and result in measurable value. Timelines and milestones were agreed – and a communications plan for the entire company was prepared. What success looked like was defined. A formal engagement was agreed and signed off on with clear expectations, deliverables and responsibilities identified.

PROCESS STEP 3: DESIGN

Sessions were timed to suit various site limitations and to blend listening, learning, collaboration and team building. Parts of the program were designed to be inspirational, some instructional and others to offer gratitude. Some were competitive, others collaborative – and all done to foster greater inclusivity, team spirit and aligned to the company values. The resulting 48-hour program included: a values re-discovery and prioritization session; a strategy session based on “Start, Stop and Do More”; a North Star session; a growth session; a cost/operations session; several interactive team-based games; company awards and gratitude through storytelling; and a number of team meals and breaks all designed with purpose. Every session invited attendees to listen, learn and be open. Each had purpose, and an identified group of attendees – such that those not needed for any sessions could remain otherwise productive, and never feel like a third wheel.

PROCESS STEP 4: DELIVERY

Many sessions were conducted in the Learning Lab at BCI – where interactive and experiential activities demand creativity, collaboration and active listening. Other sessions were hosted elsewhere in our Institute, or offsite, invoking new experiences, ideas and flavours. All created safe spaces where attendees could be more open, vulnerable, authentic and build bridges with each other. All were in service of Greymane. Each built on the one before – so that North Star built on Values, and Growth built on Start/Stop/More yet was in service of North Star.

SOLUTION:

Careful attention to planning, costing and execution ensured the Pit Stop was delivered on time and on budget. It achieved all the goals of the engagement agreement. Alex DeCouto, CEO of Greymane shared this experience shortly after: “The results have been outstanding. We’ve been able to reset our ‘North Star’. Despite having deeply entrenched core values, our team discovered another that was there all along and which is critical to our culture.” Alex added “Thanks to the experienced team at BCI, the Pit Stop concept proved itself as both exciting and well worth the investment; we’ve been able to agree on a new set of priorities for our focus in the future and our team is closer than it’s ever been.”
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If you want to learn more about Pit Stop, we encourage you to attend one of our open house Learning Lab series at BCI, where you can experience the research, participate in some exercises and explore the values we talk about in a tangible and tactile way. If you want to experience for yourself our credo “Arrive Inspired, Leave Changed” please stop by or visit Bermuda Clarity Institute, at https://bermudaclarityinstitute.com

How our workplace reflects our values — it’s Clarity by Design

How our workplace reflects our values — it’s Clarity by Design

At the Bermuda Clarity Institute, we strive to help organizations achieve clarity. When an organization has a clear understanding of its identity–its characteristics, purpose, vision, goals, and values–it creates a united workforce with optimized performance. Your physical environment can have huge impacts on your productivity and headspace, so we intentionally designed an office that creates a holistic experience by reinforcing our values and pillars. There are designated spaces throughout our Institute that promote each of our five leadership competencies–curiosity, intentionality, positivity, collaboration, and creativity. Here’s a look into the Bermuda Clarity Institute and how we have incorporated these central competencies into our physical space – and in our hopes it might inspire you along the way.

The first competency, Curiosity, encourages us to keep our minds active and ask questions. The urge to know more and dive deeper keeps us from becoming complacent and pushes our team to come up with new, innovative solutions. The office features small, private spaces and circular seating areas to encourage us to be curious about our clients. When we create trust through intimate conversation, we can further explore the nature of our relationships and help our clients get to the root of their issues. The office also features several decorative arrows and street signs that direct us to action. As leaders, we must constantly question and reassess our direction and consider divergent solutions when solving challenges.

The next leadership competency that we highlight at the Bermuda Clarity Institute is Intentionality. Everything we do here at the BCI is deliberate and purposeful, which is reflected in our intentional office design. When you first enter the space, immediately to the left of the door stands a sculpture of a knight in armour next to a stack of old suitcases. These unique art pieces serve as a deliberate reminder to shed our armour, leave our baggage behind, and abandon our preconceived notions at the door as we enter the office. This encourages vulnerability, authenticity and for us to approach our work with purpose, only bringing into the office the things that serve us.

Positivity is the glue that binds us to our desired future state and helps us stay connected to our goals. The brightly-lit sign reading “POSITIVITY” that is hung up in the Learning Lab reminds us that positivity is the overarching theme across all of our work. When navigating uncertain circumstances, the positivity sign serves as a guiding light, encouraging us to stay optimistic. The office also features large windows and exposure to natural light, which is proven to improve our mood, energy, and alertness.

Collaboration is essential in the workplace because it improves problem-solving and encourages employees to share their ideas and knowledge freely. We can always accomplish more as a team than as individuals, because each team member brings a unique skill set and perspective to the table. The Learning Lab where we host our workshops is designed to encourage the collaboration of groups. The wide, open room has configurable tables and seating facing all different directions, promoting conversation between tables. In the Learning Lab, we host several Living Exercises such as Huemanize Mind Maps, Circuit Breakers, and Impact Drivers, all focusing on reframing our thoughts and ideas to improve collaboration, both personally and professionally.

Finally, Creativity is integral in the office because it allows us to view and solve problems openly and with innovation. Our mindfulness meditation room is a quiet, calm, reflective space with floor pillows for meditation. Mindfulness meditation is proven to enhance creativity by reducing cognitive rigidity and judgement. The colorful mandala painting in the meditation room is designed to allow the creative mind to run freely. Equally, the interactive chalk wall allows us to re-frame our experiences as journeys, to conduct like-walks and to acknowledge our past whilst projecting towards the future. In the Learning Lab, the 15 spinning, magic cubes taken from Leading Clarity have a mixture of whiteboards, statements of clarity, and exercises printed along their sides. These boxes encourage participants to push their inner creativity and use the cubes for a variety of exercises.

We know from experience that an innovative and thoughtfully designed workspace can increase employee engagement, productivity, and overall performance. Designating specific spaces within the office to focus on individual leadership competencies ensures that our work–and our headspace–is congruent with our institute’s values.

It’s in that spirit that we’d like to invite you to explore our space and see it for yourself! We are kicking off our open house learning lab series, aptly named “Catch up with Clarity”, so you can actually experience the research, participate in some exercises and explore the values we talk about in a tangible and tactile way. The first of these is on November 18th, 2021 from 4:30 – 6:30pm and they continue every Thursday at the same time for only 4 weeks, ending December 9th. These will be limited in attendance to create a blend of maximum personal value and respect for safe spaces – as such please book your spot now by RSVP using bit.ly/catchupwithclarity. If you prefer to bring your team over for a custom tour, please email us at info@clarity.bm to request and we will be happy to accommodate you.

We look forward to seeing you in person and to learn more about our work at the Bermuda Clarity Institute, visit https://bermudaclarityinstitute.com.

Think Inside or Outside the Box?

Think Inside or Outside the Box?

Taking an inside-out approach is what drives Clarity and innovation.

Contrary to popular belief, thinking outside the box is a misnomer. The common buzz-phrase in today’s culture of how innovation and creativity comes from outside the box thinking is not correct. In fact, it is inside the box thinking that drives real innovation, creativity and performance, and here’s why.

Quite simply, thinking does not work in a vacuum. Outside the box thinking represents an untethered and disconnected way of processing information, embarking into the unknown future with little to no context supporting one’s inquiry into what’s possible. Neither thinking that is outside or inside the box is bad, per se, but an inside-out approach provides context and sets some parameters within which to work based on real-time needs of employees, as well as customers and gaps in product experience in the current moment.

Take Uber, for example. Many critics acknowledge the visionary, outside the box thinking of its inventor and think that it came through a “Eureka moment” of insight. However, quite the opposite is true: the idea behind the innovative drive-sharing application originated from an in-depth consideration of various business contexts. The ‘innovation’ that resulted in the creation of Uber came from inside-the-box thinking, as product developers analyzed consumer demands, existing technology applications, and trends in the transportation economy to develop a new platform that addressed a gap in service and consumer’s behaviors and needs in an entirely new way.

Understanding the metaphorical box which your organization operates in sets parameters that define who you are, what you do, and how you do it, which altogether guides the process of making advances and what will bring the most progress.

When we talk about the box, leaders often think four sides — they are correct in simple form, however, the organizational box is actually six sided. There are four sides – direction, operations, people and engagement — and a bottom – identity – and a top – environment. This dimensional box provides the proper construct for clarity and driving performance, safety, and employee engagement.

These six sides of your organization’s box are the functional framework of your company. Thinking from within this space creates synergies that allow you to evolve and make incremental improvements that can be applied in real-time, engage your employees and connect them deeper to the core of the company, and affect your customers specifically, based on their needs and interests.

Taking an inside-out approach to innovation requires first an in-depth understanding of the contexts or dimensions within which you conduct business on a daily basis. Here are some suggested steps to take in order to create the space for you to continue enhancing your services and bettering the products that you bring to market.

Step One: Understanding Who You Are

The first step in creating a framework that will spark creativity and ingenuity that directly affects your organization is defining your unique, shared identity. Your identity serves as the foundation for everything else your organization does. It comprises your purpose (why we do what we do), characteristics (who we are), values (what we care about), and traditions (how we do things), constructing a cultural framework that distinguishes the interactions and process of working that your company lives and breathes by. Similar to a house, this cultural foundation makes the space within which all other ideas will emanate and expand.

Step Two: Understanding How You Work

Your foundation sets expectations around how you interface with clients and what value your company focuses on delivering to market. This context of your box defines the roles and goals of your organization at every level, integrating them in a framework to better facilitate collaboration and drive daily action. The strategy and the initiatives you implement are connected to your foundation and flow through all aspects of your organization. These pathways of action create the cycles of productivity from which your company’s bottom line is driven.

Step Three: Knowing Where You’re Going

Understanding the context of who you are, what you’re doing, and how you’re doing it all takes place in the current state. However, in the hyper-competitive and saturated business world we exist in today, you need to always be acting in service of a definitive future state of your company. A mission statement and company vision provide a panoramic view of where you’re going as a company in the long-term, which incentivizes and connects the daily operations now with a desired future – or North Star. Without such a guide, our ability to be creative and think about where we can improve becomes unfocused.

Step Four: Establishing a Window into the World

Once your organization’s framework has been defined, it creates context and dimensionality in service of a stated and measurable goal. It allows more intentional and productive allocation of resources and increased connectivity with managers and employees. With this done, you can begin assessing the external environment in which you offer services and to whom. Organizational learning occurs as we listen to customer’s concerns, analyze broad market trends, and utilize new technology to deliver newly renovated and iterated products.

As you embark on the quest for innovation and organizational development, remember that it is the context which sets parameters around what’s needed. And it is within this framework of thinking inside the box that real, practical innovation becomes replicable, reliable and infinitely more powerful. To learn more about our research on defining the elements of the box, visit our website https://bermudaclarityinstitute.com and reach out today.

 

Levers That Drive Impact at Work (Part 3 of 3)

Levers That Drive Impact at Work (Part 3 of 3)

Regardless of the size of the company or industry in which it works, the concept of alignment and organizational clarity are fundamentals that must be addressed and constantly nurtured. A lever is a tool used to implement changes effectively and our research has identified 11 levers that work together to shift organizations toward positivity and improved performance. In this last article of our three-part series, we round out our deep dive into the levers that drive impact at work and bring about alignment.

Our previous articles dug down into the definition of a “lever,” explained the differences between a compliant and committed organization as well as laid out the first seven levers: 1) Organizational Audit, 2) Vision, 3) Strategic Plan, 4) Behavioral Alignment, 5) Employee Performance Management, 6) Reward and Recognition and 7) Positivity. As a reminder “COMPLIANT” can be defined as, an organization simply doing the minimum that is required.  COMMITTED, however, is where your very being is invested in both the endeavor and the expectation of lasting impact. Each lever includes a description of what it looks like when you are only in compliance with them. The key is to understand the impact you can and want to achieve. Are you simply being compliant or are you committed?

Lever 8: Organizational Structure

Being Compliant/Underperforming:

Compliant organizations believe in structure and work to create clarity around the reporting relationships throughout the company. However, in many companies, organizational charts don’t match people’s roles, responsibilities, or influence. Many org charts are constructed on top of an inherited organizational structure creating a “frankenstructure,” with little organizational understanding or clarity. Compliant organizations build boxes to fit the people and their skills.

Being Committed/Creating Impact:

  • Create structure based on purpose, not people.
  • Align your structure with strategy and your desired outcomes.
  • Communicate the structure.
  • Create pathways for expected growth (succession planning).

Lever 9: Environmental Design

Being Compliant/Underperforming:

Compliant organizations invest in creating an office environment to support its external brand and engagement efforts. They are often well appointed, more generic spaces. These spaces are often disconnected from the culture and more focused on the customer perspective rather than the employee experience. These spaces, which are often less than authentic from an organizational perspective, have generic artwork and some even employ motivational messaging for the back- office employees. This creates inconsistency and a divide in the organization.

Being Committed/Creating Impact:

  • Promote the vision, values, and behaviors within the space.
  • Put the organization’s identity and culture on display.
  • Leverage the design to affect the way you work.
  • Make periodic changes to keep it fresh and employees engaged and interested.

Lever 10: Organizational Communication

Being Compliant/Underperforming:

Compliant companies place great effort into communications. They have newsletters, videos, and other web-based tools. They focus on delivering the message du jour, rarely linking it to organizational strategies and priorities or taking into account the manner in which it is received by employees. They value communicating over engaging. They focus on different messages to different audiences, often with an obsession on the external customer.

Being Committed/Creating Impact:

  • Develop an organizational communication platform with all constituencies identified.
  • Align communications with strategy and culture, not just operations.
  • Create internal focus first.
  • Promote face-to-face communication when possible (that is, no email day).

Lever 11: Customer Experience Modeling

Being Compliant/Underperforming:

Compliant companies focus on the customer experience with a variety of tools. Many place a heavy emphasis on one or two key touch points at the expense of all others. There is a lack of focus on the totality that a touch point on a customer, internal or external, will have with the organization. This produces an inconsistent understanding of the customer, an uneven narrative, and an unfulfilled experience.

Being Committed/Creating Impact:

  • Identify all touch points for customer experiences.
  • Develop a plan for each touch point before, during, and after the experience.
  • Identify “100 little things” that can transform a customer experience.
  • Develop a purposeful experience plan targeting a minimum number of changes each quarter.

These 11 levers together, noted over our three-part series, will have a demonstrable impact on moving your organization toward positivity and propelling performance. In fact, this is one of the areas, as a leader, that you have a choice between being compliant or being committed.  Where you land on this spectrum goes a far way in the ultimate impact you can drive. The intentionality of impact is real—and so too is the leader’s role in achieving it. To learn more about creating impact and generating organizational change, visit our website at  https://bermudaclarityinstitute.com.

 

Levers That Drive Impact at Work (Part 2 of 3)

Levers That Drive Impact at Work (Part 2 of 3)

Ambiguity in the workplace has a direct impact on a company’s level of performance and employee’s engagement levels within the organization. But taking a purposeful approach to address areas of ambiguity and provide clarity can drive an organization to its desired future state. In our three-part series, we discuss the 11 levers that together can shift the organization toward positivity and drive performance. We work with leaders to identify the best ways to pull these levers to make an impact inside their unique organizations.

Our previous article dug down into the definition of a “lever,” explained the differences between a compliant and committed organization as well as laid out the first three levers: 1) Organizational Audit, 2) Vision, and 3) Strategic Plan. As a reminder “COMPLIANT” can be defined as, an organization simply doing the minimum that is required.  COMMITTED, however, is where your very being is invested in both the endeavor and the expectation of lasting impact.  Below are the next four levers that drive impact. Each lever includes a description of what it looks like when you are only in compliance with them. The key is to understand the impact you can and want to achieve. Are you simply being compliant or are you committed?

Lever 4: Behavioral Alignment

Being Compliant/Underperforming:

Compliant organizations believe in their people and invest energy in the furtherance of their values. They share their values in posters and messaging, and sometimes carry badges listing them. Compliant companies often weight knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) over behaviors in their hiring and development processes. Some companies unintentionally allow competing models across the organization and do not link behaviors and values.

Being Committed/Creating Impact:

Set clear expectations—identify levels and behaviors.

  • Align behaviors with values.
  • Understand important traditions. (Big T’s and Little t’s—the big T’s are the set-in-stone traditions that cannot change; the little t’s are the newer actions that people believe are long- standing traditions.)
  • Educate and engage employees around your values and behaviors: what they mean and what successful actions look like.
  • Integrate values and behaviors into how you hire, evaluate, and develop your people.

Lever 5: Employee Performance Management

Being Compliant/Underperforming:

Compliant organizations work to ensure employee performance through a series of tools, including using some of the most sophisticated software programs available. These companies confuse the systems and software with the act of truly driving and measuring employee performance. Some organizations mistake performance management for an annual performance review and traditional top-down processes.

Being Committed/Creating Impact:

  • Establish clear goals and expectations aligned with the strategy.
  • Develop a feedback culture providing ongoing coaching and development.
  • Evaluate on values and behaviors, not just KSAs.
  • Conduct 360 Reviews on leadership focused on values and behaviors.

Lever 6: Reward and Recognition

Being Compliant/Underperforming:

Compliant organizations work to recognize and reward employees on a regular basis. There is talk among leadership about recognition and reward, with much of it tied to general performance. Many companies provide end of year bonuses based on unclear metrics or overly complex structures. Many of the most compliant companies place greater emphasis on reward over recognition. Other organizations limit their efforts because of budgetary constraints (often not included in the annual budget).

Being Committed/Creating Impact:

  • Develop meaningful recognition programs—tie to specific targets and areas.
  • Encourage involvement in the development of the program.
  • Make the process as transparent as possible and ensure leadership’s continuing involvement in it.
  • Emphasize recognition of behaviors over results (results are important too, but the focus here is the behavioral alignment).
  • Ensure the recognition and rewards program is far-reaching—touching all levels and all areas of the organization (in other words, it’s not just about one group or another, that is, sales or service, but everyone).

Lever 7: Positivity

Being Compliant/Underperforming:

Compliant leaders spend time and effort spinning a positive story, regardless of the facts or situation. They go out of their way to incorporate lines and key phrases in memos, presentations, and speeches. Their words and energy can be perceived as disingenuous if not embedded in their actions, organization, or leadership style. Compliant organizations have C-level leaders who embrace positivity, while others below them do not. Gratitude is not encouraged or practiced throughout the organization.

Being Committed/Creating Impact:

  • Promote and demonstrate gratitude in action.
  • Conduct purposeful and positive exercises—create positive thinking.
  • Create an empowerment culture—purposeful visibility leadership.
  • Encourage and promote mental and personal health and wellbeing

These levers together will have a demonstrable impact on moving your organization toward positivity and propelling performance.  Be on the lookout for Part 3 in two weeks’ time where the last four levers will be discussed in our Moments of Clarity articles. To check out our previous Articles visit our Blog on our website  https://bermudaclarityinstitute.com.  There you can also learn how to create impact and generate organizational change