Archives

ecosurety – Team Values

TEAM VALUES – BELIEVING IN PASSIONATE PEOPLE

home_about_titlebg03

What your people say about you as a business really counts in terms of market perception.  In fact, they are potentially your greatest advocates, conveying what is great about you and what they see as the kind of people you are – your team values – to thousands of people every day.

Selling dreams

Every business understands the importance of its brand.  The image it presents to the marketplace and the dreams it sells to its target market are fundamental to its success.  Most businesses set aside a significant proportion of their budget to invest in developing and presenting this image, which inevitably changes over time.

One growing business did this, but took some additional steps as well.  Ecosurety is an environmental compliance services provider.  Formerly known as Budget Pack, it spent a large sum of money on corporate branding.  But it didn’t stop there; ecosurety looked within itself as well as externally.

“It’s a hugely exciting change,” says managing director James Potten about the rebranding.  “Becoming ecosurety helps us to tell everyone precisely who we are and all that we can do.  Why have we done this ?  Because since our launch in 2003 we have changed a great deal.  We are a dramatically different business today, with services that build on our roots in waste compliance and take us into other areas too.”

home_about_titlebg01

Chairman Steve Clark adds: “It’s a great fit with our ethos and approach, but we also work in partnership with our members and help them embrace sustainability on their own terms.  It’s essential to our business values.”

The branding consultants that James and Steve used followed best practice and involved the whole workforce in discussions about the precise meaning of these brand values.  Informed by these discussions, three headline values were expressed : Protect, Inspire, Perform.  The specific implications of each of these – for sales, marketing and customer service – was then explored and agreed with the whole team.  Also carefully defined were a number of Truths about the way ecosurety does business.  So far so good as far as the external face of the business is concerned, but the work progressed further.

Team values

“If we are to make promises to our customers, and make them stick in a meaningful way” says James Potten “why would we not do so for our own team values as well ?  That’s why we thought Investors in People would be a natural part of our strategy.”

As well as the usual consultation sessions with senior management, initial diagnostic and report, briefings at management meetings and presentations at team meetings, ecosurety asked me, as its Investors in People specialist, to provide something extra.

From the beginning of our relationship I could see how serious they are about the business benefits of being the best employer they could be.  As one employee explained : “I can genuinely say I look forward to coming into work every day” and there is a deep sense of openness and trust.  There was an enormous amount of excellent management practice but there were gaps :

  • Previously, the team values and business plan had been “created in only a semi-inclusive way”
  • Learning and development was not planned and evaluated against specific business priorities
  • Manager capabilities were not yet effectively analysed and built into the performance management system

The management team, supported by HR Manager Jackie Smith, developed and implemented solutions to address the last two issues. The extra step was then taken to make the values central to the way everyone works together.

As a trained facilitator, I was asked to run a workshop for the whole team.  Using Protect Inspire Perform as the starting point, three mixed discussion groups “satellited” around three discussion points :

  1. In our own words what do we believe is important as a place to work, considering the way we should treat each other and work together ? How can we define our ethos in terms of a shared commitment to the team values ?
  2. What specific commitments should we make to our colleagues and our manager ? What do we have a right to expect from each other ?
  3. How can managers support our team values in the way they manage ? What specific commitments should managers make to the people that work in their teams ?

I then took the flipcharts and turned them into a simple one-page document that became known as Our Belief In Our Team.  James Potten signed this document, it was published and the content of it then integrated within people policy in areas such as :

  • recruitment
  • learning and development
  • performance management
  • management training

It was a fantastic event” says Jackie Smith. “Even if the document listed things we were already doing, the passion with which everyone got involved was amazing.  And since then, nobody has had a problem with pointing out to their colleagues if their behaviour has contravened the published beliefs or team values.”

home_about_titlebg02

Since Our Belief In Our Team was issued, ecosurety has made great strides.  End-of-year results exceeded expectations, customer feedback on the rebranding has been excellent, staff retention is well above average, growth plans are ahead of forecast and Silver-level Investors in People accreditation has been achieved at first assessment.  Speaking of which, some of the award assessor’s comments are worth noting here :

“It is rare to meet such a thoughtful and reflective company”
“against a backdrop of a rapidly expanding company with challenging targets, you have managed to maintain an ethos of mutual respect and support in so many different ways”
“People felt they were actively encouraged to contribute ideas and, most importantly, that these ideas mattered and counted”
“There is a whole organisation ethos despite the re-structure into distinct teams”
“The culture that you have engendered is one of such maturity and trust that feedback both from managers to team members but also upwards is accepted and valued”

The increased employability deal

The business payback on all this goes further. On the one hand, every Investors in People employer knows the deal, and accepts that the learning and development opportunities it provides make each employee more valuable on the job market.  On the other, as the famous joke goes, “imagine if we don’t train them and they stay.”

What has happened in ecosurety’s case is that the workforce believes in and feels part of what ecosurety is aiming to achieve, not just because of the positive effect on the planet but because of how they really do care about whether the business succeeds or fails.

The passion of the team has communicated itself to the customers.  Satisfaction levels are very high and rising.  New business referrals from existing customers are up.  As they say, “there’s no better advert than a passionate employee.”  Without the need for too much in the way of artificial incentives, everyone in the team, customer-facing or not, acts as an evangelist everywhere they go.  As a result, the sky’s the limit as far as growth is concerned.

As James Potten says : “We’ve always been very busy, concerned with meeting and exceeding our customers’ needs and continuously changing and improving at the same time.  It’s been tough, but the time and investment we’ve put into our own people and the team values means we have a really solid and structured basis that underpins everything we do and gives us confidence for the future.”

If you haven’t already held discussions with your people about how your brand values apply within your team, you should consider doing so.  These sessions can involve more than it might appear, so do think about using an independent facilitator.  You can also arrange some brief workshops on basic selling techniques for non-sales staff to equip them for conversations outside work.

Let’s leave the last word to ecosurety employees : “We are the business.”

Logo

Update 23 March 2016 :  Following an intensive programme – which involved my running a series of in-house steering group meetings, managers’ workshops and whole team events – ecosurety achieves Gold !  See here https://www.ecosurety.com/ecohub/news/ecosurety-achieves-gold-standard-for-people-management/

Case Studies – successful business

successful business

Working to sustain successful business

I am at the service of any business or organisation that wants to grow and improve, sees the need for expert outside help and is prepared to invest in that help.

I have acted as business counsellor to the full spectrum of organisations.  From small businesses in distress to large national charities seeking to consolidate, I have a record of achievement to ensure your business success.

Looking back while writing these case studies, something struck me.  It was how many medium-sized firms there are which aren’t exactly struggling, they just want to stop firefighting, add some structure and thinking time, and prove to themselves and to the outside world what a successful business they are.

These are very short stories which I hope you will find as inspiring to read as I did to be a part of.

About Me – business consultant

Bristol business consultant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What sets me apart as a business consultant ?

Many people are afraid a business consultant will come in, start questioning the leadership, telling them what is good for them and asking awkward questions.  I listen to understand and adopt a fresh approach.  I have conversations with as many people as possible and wait until I have a complete picture before fearlessly challenging current practice.

I facilitate team events and deliver strategy and change consulting, business performance coaching, management and personal skills training and Investors In People advice.  I am also an expert practitioner for the Health and Wellbeing Award.

My main message is about the power of empathy and humility.  I have transformed the performance of dozens of organisations.  Acting as their business consultant, I get them to arrive at solutions to the people problems that come from growing teams.  I am fascinated by working cultures and want to make a positive difference by sharing my experience of how change can influence the way people behave.

Some clients ask me to act as Non-executive Director or Trustee.  This is so I can contribute to creating a culture of responsibility in which people are not bothering the owner manager with every small question.  People start to really care whether the organisation succeeds, and to assume accountability themselves.  This frees up Directors to do the jobs they are there for.

I am a member of the Employee Ownership Association.  My experience with organisational change  helps my clients achieve the shift in culture necessary for this to work as an exit planning option.

At school and university I specialised in languages; the main thrust of my professional development has been as facilitator and business consultant.  I have enjoyed successful spells in general management, training, quality, network development and customer service.

I am a qualified trainer and have been a licensed Investors In People specialist and national level Business Excellence Award assessor.

Business coaching

My clients range across a wide variety of sectors.  Current clients include a valve maufacturer in Wiltshire, a marine engineer in Weymouth, a charity for people with learning disabilities in Bristol and an engineering firm in Bristol.  Many of my client relationships have lasted over ten years.  I have over twenty years of experience with Investors in People and continuous improvement, using a large kitbag of tools and techniques to help my clients improve their business results.

I am Director of the employee owned trust at KB2 Consulting Civil and Structural Engineers.

Previous roles include managing major improvement programmes at NatWest, setting up the local service provider network at Business Link Somerset, General Manager of Excellence South West for two years of its infancy, business consultant at PES  and adviser to small businesses at Business West.

I have built up an extensive network of contacts for the sharing of learning and expertise.  My main background and passion is facilitation aimed at helping senior managers to gain insight for themselves and their people to achieve better business performance.

What I offer

Management skills – my range of services

management skills

Consultation visit – no charge

I will come to your place of business to get to know you, find out what’s going well and not so well and listen carefully to your ideas.  I set no time limit on this and I make no charge.  I then go away and prepare a crystal-clear proposal based on your requirements.  It will outline what I will do for you, how I think we can address any management skills issues appropriately and how much it will cost.  The proposal acts as a starter for ten in our further discussions.

Leaving A Business Legacy

I provide a lot of support to owner managers who wish to gradually exit from day-to-day involvement in their business and would like to see it continue as a healthy going concern.  An increasingly popular route is via employee ownership, whereby they sell the business to the employees on e.g. a ten-year loan (“deferred consideration”), which is very tax-efficient from both standpoints.  Where I come in is in educating the employees and future leaders in the commercial acumen and business skills they need to take the reins.  There are significant cultural changes that need to happen to make sure the transition works.  I facilitate these, and act as a Trustee to make sure the Directors in the new structure are accountable and that governance is sound.

More information is at http://employeeownership.co.uk/about-the-employee-ownership-association/

So, if succession planning or exit planning has been on your radar for a while and you would like a no-obligation chat to get things moving, I would love to hear from you.

Developing Your Organisation

Planning a change ?  See the need for a shake-up but want to make sure it works ?  Wondering what to do about your working culture ?  I have coached over 300 clients in thinking through what they need to do.  I’ve seen a few of them tumble into huge traps, and a great many others show how good they are.  I can share these experiences and this insight with you in review and action planning meetings either one-to-one, with senior management teams or with dedicated project teams.

Through carefully-planned workshops and events, I facilitate discussions to agree what the values of the tean are, and the practical behaviours to support these values.  I get key individuals to express their commitment to these.  Beacause the values come from the words used by the team itself, they carry a great deal more weight than the normal values statements seen on the walls of many corporate offices.

I have successfully completed major projects to overhaul appraisal systems and introduce 360 degree feedback systems.  I have adapted these methods to create simple, straightforward versions for smaller organisations.

With my experience of representative groups such as Works Councils, many clients have benefited from using me as independent facilitator when such groups meet either for the first time, when there’s a major change or when they are taking on a major cultural project.

Troubleshooting / Counselling

What a lot of my clients seem to appreciate particularly is my expertise when human relationships run into difficulties.  Key people not talking to each other, conflict in the workplace, jealousies or “silo thinking”, these are all problems I have taken on gently but fearlessly, and with positive outcomes.

Testing The Culture

If your business proclaims its quality, service, excellence or being the best, you really should have a way of proving that you are at least moving in the right direction.  To your clients and your employees, when thinking about how happy they are with you, reality is nothing; perception is everything.  Before planning any change, get an independent specialist to gain real insight into what they are really thinking.

There are many ways to test perceptions, chief among which are one-to-ones, focus groups and questionnaires.  We will agree in advance which combination of these is right for you and I will set up everything that is needed.  The output is a report which we use as the basis for your culture change programme – with management skills training likely to be high on the agenda.

I am licensed to use a great bit of survey software that produces attractive, high-impact reports that really help management to decide on how they will respond.  This puts the spotlight on the managers’ role in the process of follow-up improvements.

Team-building events and outdoor activities

outdoor activities

When you’re trying to communicate an important message to your team, there’s no substitute for a get-together where people can speak up, get to know each other better and share views.  Also, the importance of sharing a meal together is not to be underestimated.  Arranging and facilitating one of these events involves more than you might think, so get an expert in.

Let me show you what can be achieved in just one day !  I am partnering with a really top class outdoor activities provider, so if you’re after a team awayday with added value that makes a big difference, I would love to talk to you.

I am a big believer in the power of laughter and physical activity, so I have a wide range of games and exercises which always generate a big buzz.  I am expert at extracting the So What For Our Business from these when the time comes for the group to reflect on the point of these activities.  The result is that no one leaves thinking that the event was Just A Jolly.

Management skills training

people skills training

Being a leader; managing people.  Not an aspect of the job that some people relish, but it is a skill that can be developed.  The bespoke in-house learning events which I design, deliver and evaluate for you are aimed at creating a relaxed, non-threatening environment which acknowledges the experience and existing management skills of the participants.  They are based on real issues that need to be fixed in the workplace, and focused on improving effectiveness.

If you are to motivate your people, you need to understand them, and if you are to understand others, you need to understand yourself.  That is why I use a wide range of simple self-awareness questionnaires that act as eye-openers for managers to gain insight on :

  • Leadership styles
  • Working styles
  • Career motivations
  • Sources of authority
  • Belbin team roles
  • Learning styles
  • Emotional intelligence

… and more

Developing Your People

I never expect anyone to come to me to be trained.  Instead, I will listen carefully to what you need and design a series of bespoke learning workshops for you.  You can have this delivered in house, and can be confident that it will be enjoyable, as my main belief with training is that it must be based on active fun.  See my Training page for a list of topics.  I also do one-to-one coaching.

I maintain a library of learning resources which acts as a toolbox we can dip into whenever appropriate.

Health and Wellbeing

You can find a full explanation at http://lancecross.co.uk/business-performance/health-and-wellbeing/.  This is a framework/standard I am accredited to use to carry out an assessment of all the activities an organisation offers to promote health and wellbeing in its workforce.  The output is a detailed report comparing these activities to best practice.  It is very valuable in gaining insight so my clients can keep improving.

Investors in People – Gaining the Standard

This proven management framework is now recognised as a business ‘superbrand’.  15,300 organisations in the UK are accredited Investors in People with many more working with the Standard.  Whether you choose to go for the Award or not, I will act as your no-nonsense guide as you follow the management disciplines the Standard sets out, focusing relentlessly on valuable insights and measurable gains for your business.  I have a 100% record – as a result of my advice and guidance, every client has gone on to successful accreditation.

Investors in People – Maintaining the Standard

If you already have the award, you may be wondering what next ?  The answer is plenty.  Winning the award is an early stage of your journey, and I will help you decide what to do to keep up the momentum as your business continues to improve, and make sure your good practice doesn’t slip between award assessments.

Investors in People – Raising the Standard

Investors in People

There is so much more to Investors in People than the core Standard.  The ‘Your Choice’ parts of the extended framework can be really illuminating if you want to be tested at a more advanced, more stretching level.  This is a chance to gain further insight and grasp hold of the practical meaning of areas like developing values, working together, different approaches to training and setting meaningful objectives.  If you are interested in Silver, Gold or Platinum accreditation, I have had a lot of success with helping clients to achieve this.

Mid-project review – no charge

Rather than press on with a set programme which was first agreed months ago, I will check with you that what I am doing for you still meets your needs.  I recognise the need to keep talking, adapt to circumstances and to make sure the work (for example, on management skills) is going in the right direction for your business and having the desired effect.  I will discuss with you successes and difficulties you are experiencing and make any necessary changes to the programme.  I make no charge for this visit.