Blog #5 – Processes

We are now well into this series of blogs about Performance Climate System (PCS) and its analysis of a concept we call organisational ‘Climate’.  In Blog #2, we defined climate in some detail. Throughout these articles we are exposing the climate value chain between leadership shaping climate, and climate driving team performance. Underpinning that sequence, PCS explores six fundamental aspects of leadership. Today we look at the last of the ‘transactional’ elements…Processes.

Processes: replicable activity that leads to sustainable and consistent performance

Examining processes is to look at the ‘How’ of team performance. Every team will have its own ways of working. What matters is that they are effective and efficient. In this newly imposed phase of geographically dislocated working, getting this right now and for the future couldn’t be more relevant. The most significant process within team effectiveness is how well the team communicates internally and externally. Performance Development is also vitally important; how is performance recognised, monitored and measured?

Back to Dr Bruce Tuckman’s “Stages of Team Development” model that I introduced last week, establishing and sustaining strong processes aligns with the Tuckman’s ‘Norming’ stage in a team’s life-cycle.

In analysing Processes, PCS breaks the domain in to three components:

Processes & Procedures: By this, we mean the standardised ways of working that enable consistent and effective task delivery. More deeply, PCS examines what processes are required to deliver optimal team performance and whether any existing processes are having the opposite effect? Again, with new methods evolving during this pandemic lockdown, the opportunity to re-calibrate processes is compelling. PCS analysis considers where processes could be improved or augmented or reviewed.  It also covers whether decision making processes could be optimised.

Communication: How information is passed within the team and to other stakeholders. The PCS evaluation looks at a team’s communication processes and the leader’s own communication methods. It questions what needs changing and how ‘good’ can be sustained.  In the highest performing teams, it challenges whether individual communication styles can be accommodated to really optimise cohesion and performance.

Performance Development:  How individual and team performance is developed, managed and improved? PCS considers: is there an effective process for developing performance; does the leader discuss it regularly with individuals; how do you define what expectations and success look like; how is both positive and negative performance managed; how to empower personal ownership of performance development; are appropriate real-time feed-back loops enabled?

Having considered all those points, if Processes are optimised, based on a solid structure of roles within a team, oriented upon a clear set of Goals, then you should be well on the way to cultivating a high climate score. You’ll consequently lead or be part of, a high performing team. If you know, or sense that is not the case, perhaps this is the time for reflection and action before 2020’s new visions become hindsight.

Toby Ellison, May 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.