Best from the worst and potential new norms – Blog No.1

Blog No.1: How the PCS model works for dispersed teams

During normal, non-Coronavirus impaired times, the objective of Performance Climate System (PCS) is to support our clients in measuring, analysing and enhancing the operating climate in their organisation.  If ‘culture’ is a system of shared assumptions values and beliefs which govern the whole organisation, we define ‘climate’ as the local mood, feel and atmosphere within individual teams of people.  And we correlate climate with leadership, as its key input, and performance, as the primary output.  The better the leadership methods and behaviours > the better the climate > the better the performance of that team.  Whatever that team’s output may be.  It’s a relatively simple system which enables structured thinking to follow and very often yields light bulb moments.  All of which build a valuable roadmap towards future measurement of, and improvements in, leadership, climate and performance.

However, as we all painfully know, our world is currently submerged in completely abnormal times.  People are isolated.  Teams are dispersed.  Businesses and organisations are under immense, unforeseen pressure.  And everyone is having to adapt their operations, often with a view to survival, let alone premium performance, for the foreseeable (short? medium?) term.  Highly likely, the majority of us are working in unusual locations via, until now, infrequently tested communications paths, without being able to interface and relate in the ways we would normally apply.

All of which makes us wonder. How is that going for you, your people and your organisation right now?  And furthermore, how might it impact your future structures and methods once we are through the worst of this isolation period?  The PCS team thought it could be helpful to share the main framework of what the system looks at.  In doing so, we want to unwrap the rationale behind measuring climate.  And how it puts a structure around the leadership inputs which generate the climate, which itself drives team engagement and consequent performance. With teams working remotely, optimising team climate is arguably more important than ever.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll expand in more detail on the concept of Climate, each of the six main pillars of leadership methods and behaviours that PCS evaluates and lastly the component tools within the full Performance Climate System.  In brief, the main pillars PCS evaluates are:

Goals:  the vision and targets the team aims its activity towards 

Roles: right internal organisation of team members’ strengths, capabilities and responsibilities

Processes:  replicable activity that leads to sustainable and consistent performance

Adaptability:  the ability to sustainably address constant change and innovation

Connection:  the team’s approach to its network of relationships

Resilience: the team’s working practices and sustainable leadership behaviours

Even without running a full PCS analysis, amongst other likely higher priorities right now, some dedicated clear thinking around all of these pillars ought to help your short-term focus during these times of great stress.  Indeed, it should also help in setting a pathway towards optimising your organisation’s future approach to leadership, climate and performance, as we all find our feet and potentially establish new norms, as and when we emerge from all this.

Next time we’ll start digging into some deeper PCS detail, firstly looking at the concept of Climate.  

By Toby Ellison, April 2020

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.