Leadership Development – Team Case Study
A Victorian State Government regional department with a senior leadership team consisting of 12 people, with a mix of leadership experience ranging from a few months to 20 plus years. The team noted their issues as including:
- Low levels of trust between team members;
- Lack of shared vision; and
- Scepticism about how they could put the past behind them and move forward.
Working together over a six month period, we mixed the delivery up with:
- 1 x full-day workshop to set the foundation and draw out the issues
- Extended DISC profiles for all leaders, including an individual unpack session of their Leadership Profile
- Meta Dynamics™ Mini Profile tool delivered to individuals in a group session
- 3 x half-day workshops with a set theme, based on the needs of the group
- Fortnightly half-hour mentoring sessions with the program Sponsor (the manager of the team)
- Individual coaching for 2 leaders (identified in consultation with the Sponsor) – 6 sessions over 3 months
When I hired Vanessa my challenge at the time was a disjointed team. The team had years of distrust in senior management. They didn’t know how to breakthrough. I had the vision but needed help to make it happen. The team didn’t know me very well, so knowing how to influence them was difficult. I didn’t want to tell them, I wanted to bring them in.
I was trying to draw the team away from a problem focus towards a focus on strategic intent. I was using tools in my own toolbox, but that had become depleted. I tried to engage other consultants with little success because of a difference of business understanding and the tyranny of distance to Gippsland.
Vanessa and I had previously worked together and had a connection. Being local was a big advantage as my team are regionally based. And I found her easy to work with – she got me straight away.
We set the intent at the start, and Vanessa let me bring my skills to the strategy formation. We did a bit of planning before each session, yet there was flexibility and Vanessa had the ability to facilitate where the session needed to go. Not having a script was important to my team.
Personally, it gave me the opportunity to be part of my team and not leading the process. For my team, all of us had an equal understanding of who we are, how to work together and what we had to sign up to in order to make that happen. Another benefit was seeing the unexpected influencers in the team step forward and lead. A short-term win at the first workshop was having the hard conversations out in the open. The long-term win was seeing all of our staff supported by my leaders rolling the information learnt out to their teams.
Personally, I learnt it is much better to share the load with someone who does this professionally, not just me alone. A lot of assumptions of my team members were busted in a positive way – people exceeded expectations every step of the way. Deep down everyone wants this and wants to learn despite what they demonstrate on the exterior.
I appreciated the constant connection, and even throughout the group sessions, we could talk. The personal coaching, and the observations and feedback on how my team was doing throughout the process. There was a fine balance between listening and pulling us back on track, and throughout Vanessa held the space for this respectfully.
We’re on a springboard to jump into culture – a high performing space. My team feel supported to give things a go. And there’s a sharp focus on business, including saying no to things.