Businesses often track progress and results at the end of each month. But we focus too much on the numbers, forgetting about the value behind them. Each result is a set of actions and initiatives that led to it. Behind each number is an employee who puts in effort to achieve it. If we can connect the result achieved with the actions taken to accomplish it, this may help us better understand what worked, whether it was a good thing (something that led to growth) or a bad thing (a bottleneck or challenge to overcome).
Last year, I received a promotion and a team to fulfil company goals. I was looking for a framework that would help me to keep my squad focused, involved and motivated — and I found it in coaching.
I wanted to see if the same approach I use in individual coaching sessions — techniques to help increase self-awareness, resilience and confidence in the coachee — could also be used to improve the organizational culture. Spoiler: They did.
In six months, colleagues became more aware of their input and chronic stress decreased. And we’ve been able to solve a lot of issues as a result of new ideas from employees we did not expect to speak up. All of this helps us to prevent occupational burnout and gives each team member the opportunity to be heard and feel involved.
We have now made this approach a core part of the strategic sessions at the beginning of each month. Here are the four questions you can ask monthly to help increase employee engagement and performance:
Each of us works with tons of information while going about our daily routine. But we all see it from a different perspective. Our marketing managers are more focused on sales points and offers, while copywriters are focused on putting the right words together and creating stories, and the SEO team is eyeing up competitors and looking for ways to improve our search engine reputation. If we do not synchronize the knowledge we own, we lose insight into what is happening around us. In sharing personal knowledge, we empower better business results.
As a team, we have wins and failures. Some projects give us super results, while others don’t always turn out how we hoped. It’s important to take a moment to reflect on points of pride and celebrate the wins before jumping in to dissect the failures.
In our October strategic session, my colleague pointed out a truth that I did not want to see: “When we take too many projects on, we lose ideas.” I realized we had started too many projects; exaggeration should be managed.
Consider your limitations — both as a team and an organization. Did you collaborate effectively with other departments? Can you make your processes smoother and more efficient going forward? After each monthly session, we identify some small improvements that can save time and help the squad cooperate more effectively.
This is my favorite question because we get to share our dreams and ideas. During one of our sessions, we came up with ideas on how to improve our corporate LinkedIn. Three months have passed and we doubled our visibility among our target audience of IT managers. We have started to use hashtags wisely, invite more peers to follow and post more up-to-date news.
The point is to ask each team member for their ideas. Why? To find commonalities, hidden gems and bottlenecks. Each friction point acts as a limitation; each pattern could be simplified to make success in scale.
Connecting the dots between the action taken and the result, we see what exactly works and how. This leads to personal growth for each employee involved and the team in general. It sounds like coaching — and it is.
This article was originally published in Forbes.com