Constantly monitoring a team’s climate vs. spot-checking or evaluating interventions

“You don’t drive a car based on a periodic evaluation of changes in speed and direction i.e. by opening your eyes every 5-minutes to see if you crashed or broke a speed limit; instead, you constantly monitor the road ahead and make appropriate micro changes in the speed and direction of the car to safely get you from A to B.”

The debate about how leaders create a team climate and the impact of team climate on productivity is academically accepted and empirically evidenced. Furthermore, the use of objective data to identify opportunities for team improvement is largely regarded as the norm, especially in large corporations. What is not appreciated as clearly amongst the HR and L&D community is the need to continuously monitor teams for signs of increasing or decreasing climate, in order to fine tune rather than make bold, late and often clumsy corrections. In this piece of thought leadership, I will contrast two common forms of data gathering and use the example of production lines to illustrate the importance of routine data collection and fine tuning.

Data gathering takes many forms but tends to fall into two broad categories: monitoring and evaluating. Monitoring is the continuous assessment based on a systematic collection of data on specific indicators. Evaluation, on the other hand, is the systematic assessment of an activity (an on-going or completed project, programme or policy), its design, implementation and results.

Every modern production line, regardless of industry, is a complex system balancing inputs and processes to meet a required level of output. Production lines have a clear understanding of what the internal system (and often external to the organisation e.g. across its supply chain) looks like; monitor continuously with objective data; pick up lead indicators of issues early; treat as risks to production; and tune (by mitigating risks) the system to optimise output. Anyone involved in production line management will recognise this description and would be surprised if other systems, even if they don’t produce a significant volume of outputs, don’t adopt a similar set of principles.

So, what for HR and L&D professionals? What can we learn from productions lines? Using the notion of climate as one of many metrics pertinent to maximising the productivity of teams of people, my assertion is that good practice should comprise the following features, in the order shown:

  1. Baseline performance across all teams in an organisation
  2. Establish a process to constantly monitor climate, even in the absence of improvement interventions. Perhaps stagger PCS measures across teams to avoid questionnaire fatigue
  3. Try to identify small trends that might indicate an organisational (systemic) change in climate.  Treat these trends as risks to investigate deeper and mitigate before they become issues
  4. Use the data to identify good leaders (those who consistently create and positive climate) and good practice
  5. Evidence high-impact and high-value interventions by measuring changes in climate pre and post intervention
  6. Use climate data for operational and strategic decision-making as you would do work-in-progress, stock levels, failure rates, production times on a production line

Remember, PCS isn’t just an evaluation tool, it’s a team performance monitoring system. To find out more about how to employ PCS at an organisational level, contact us at

Opinion piece by Chris Milliner, Director, Performance Climate System

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.