What have these 3 performers got in common?

Yes, they are all Welsh. Yes, they are all incredibly talented and demonstrated great success. More interestingly, they were all pupils at Whitchurch High School. So, was it something in the water at Whitchurch? No, it was something else. They were all influenced by PE teacher, Steve Williams.

Mr Williams not only taught yesterday’s tough and humble Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas; he also inspired footballer Gareth Bale and rugby international Sam Warburton, who has just retired at the top of his career through injury.

“How did he inspire greatness in others?”

​We can probably all remember the teacher who inspired us to do well, and we have them to thank for our career and life choices. Unfortunately, we probably also remember the bully who undermined our confidence or worse. Interestingly, depending on your motivation the bullying teacher can also inspire. I am reminded of Weatherspoon’s founder, Tim Martin, who named his pub chain after the teacher who told him he would amount to nothing!

At work, we all have an example of the manager who we would go the extra mile for or who creates something bigger than the sum of the parts; a team that gels and performs beyond expectations. Gareth Southgate is perhaps a recent example who comes to mind.

So, why is it that an individual like Mr Williams can inspire others to greatness consistently over time?

The answer is surprisingly simple. Performance is primarily the result of the ‘climate’ (the mood or the specific environment) created by the leader. Great leaders create great places to be and give us the safety, the respect and the inspiration to excel.

Rather than wait for decades for the recognition Mr Williams is only now getting, how might you identify those inspirational leaders and winning climates in your organisation?

One simple answer is to use a tool or system that is able to identify the ‘climate’ of a team. By measuring climate, you are obtaining the lead indicator of performance and a surrogate measure of leadership. (Stringer, Litwin et al)

Mr Williams, I hope when you look in the mirror or look back on your 40 years of teaching you can smile wistfully and give yourself a pat on the back and say with pride “I made that happen”.

by Gordon Mackenzie.

Zac's Challenges:

Zac’s tech business is growing rapidly. He’s gone from being a developer with a good idea to now overseeing an ever-expanding team. Zac knows that in order for the business to grow successfully, it needs to stay true to its founding values and his staff need to feel valued and engaged. Zac wants to understand if he and his team are on the same page and he needs to do it quickly and cost effectively.

Zac's PCS Solution

Zac decides to use PCS Lite to get a quick temperature check of how his team are performing and what they think about the business. The PCS Lite report quickly surfaces the fact that his team have lost sight of the organisation’s purpose and goals. Zac realises that he needs to improve his on-boarding processes and help orientate the new team members better in the company culture and vision. 6 months later, Zac uses PCS Lite to check his new onboarding process is working; concludes that the growing team are much better aligned to his vision and are generally operating in a more positive working environment.

Annabel's Challenges:

It’s Annabel’s job to help the Partners in the firm manage their clients and ensure they’re consistently adding value. Recently, Annabel has been asked by one of the Partners to find a tool or framework that the consultants can use to benchmark new clients looking for team and leadership improvement programmes. It needs to be cost-effective, established and reputable and able to be branded with the firm’s own logo.

Annabel's PCS Solution

Annabel recommends PCS Pro to the Senior Partners as it provides an objective measurement of team and leadership climate against which the consultants can build performance improvement programmes. PCS has a good track record, academic validation, excellent training and customer service, so she’s confident that it’s the right tool for the firm’s consultants to use.

Sarah's Challenges:

Sarah has to keep across the multiple training and development needs in the organisation and do it within a tight budget. Recently, Sarah’s been asked to design a L&D programme that improves the staff retention rate and helps staff feel more engaged with the changes happening in the organisation, not least the shift to more flexible working.

Sarah's PCS Solution

Sarah uses PCS to measure how different teams across the organisation are performing and look at any patterns which suggest the need for organisation-wide, leader or team training. Sarah notices that all teams and leaders have a low climate score in the Processes segment. Sarah knows that allocating budget in this area will improve performance. She works with the Senior Management Team to review the organisation’s processes as they transition to more flexible working and designs a training programme to support staff in the transition. She’s helped staff to feel supported, acknowledged and engaged which ultimately drives performance. 

Jim's Challenges:

Jim’s client has a team that’s not performing as well other teams in the organisation. The team has a high staff turnover, sickness and the lack of cohesion is impacting the team’s wellbeing and performance. Jim needs to get to the bottom of why this is happening and design effective coaching interventions which can generate tangible results for his client.

Jim's PCS Solution

Jim uses PCS Pro to measure / benchmark how the team and leader are performing across the 6 segments critical to team performance – Goals, Roles, Processes, Adaptability, Connection and Resilience. He can immediately see the disparity in Goals, Processes and Connection between the leader’s perception and those of her team. He uses this information to build a coaching programme designed align team and leader. After 6 months, the team seems to be more settled and productive. Jim remeasures using PCS Pro – the results show the client the effectiveness of his coaching intervention.