Guest Blogger: April Hicks – Owner & Executive Coach, Teams In Transition
Many of today’s successful business leaders were A+ students. They learned early on that the formula of Hard Work + The Right Behaviors = Good Grades.
Last year I was coaching a group of successful business leaders who worked for an organization in the midst of a major transition. Changes in the industry were driving a new way of doing business, and that had meant new faces in the executive suite. Between these new appointments and a restructuring of the existing organizational chart, almost all of these leaders were either working under a new boss or leading a new team …
As we entered the period for Annual Performance Evaluations, a common concern emerged from one team in particular about how their new executive leader was redefining the use of ratings like “Needs Improvement”, “Meets Standards” and “Exceeds Standards”. Leaders who had earned high marks year after year were now seeing ratings and comments that indicated that there was room for improvement. For them, top scores had become their norm and they were taking it hard.
I was struck by how similar this was to discussions I’d had with my kids over the years about September adjustments. Back to school meant new teachers, and every teacher had their own scoring rubric for success in their classroom.
At some point in our school careers, we learned this universal truth. The behaviors that earned us top grades with one teacher, didn’t necessarily translate to the same results with the next teacher. So what did we do? We reviewed their rubric and we adjusted our behaviors to deliver the results that got rewarded.
I shared this reflection in my group coaching session, and the dialogue began to shift. This ability to work hard but in a new direction, to redefine excellence, to change behaviors – they knew how to do that. They learned it in grade school, and they could apply those same skills here in the workplace.
As the weeks went by, leaders came back to the group with success stories about meetings being held to get clear on what “good” looked like to their boss. Just like in school, some were tougher graders than others, and they each had their own scoring rubric. And just like in school, those who wanted to make the grade, would adjust.
I appreciate the invitation by Adrian to share a team coaching story with the Shadowmatch USA community, and I offer up my sincerest admiration of all the leaders working to build better teams.
Executive Coach, Teams In Transition