By Engagement Multiplier
We know the holidays are over – old news – but, if you remember, back in December we had this holiday party of sorts.
A holiday party for everyone in the company. As in – Stefan Wissenbach flew the UK team to Chicago to party with us, and to do some team-building exercises so we could all get to know each other.
Now, Stefan doesn’t do anything related to engagement halfway.
He brought in one of the best Strategic Coach workshop leaders to spend an entire day with us, and we’d like to share a little of what she did that has made such an impact that we’re still talking about it.
Shannon Waller is a speaker, presenter, coach and expert in entrepreneurial teams – in fact, she created The Entrepreneurial Team ® program, co-authored Unique Ability ® 2.0: Discovery, as well as authored The Team Success Handbook and Multiplication By Subtraction (about letting go of wrong-fit team members). She’s also a certified Kolbe Consultant.
And the day she spent with us combined all of those things.
First exercise: Past, Present, Future
The day began at 8 am with a discussion of Engagement Multiplier’s past, present, and future. We wrote down what we were most proud of from the past 90 days, what we are the most confident about right now, and what we are excited about for the next 90 days.
We finished this exercise by writing down achievements that will make the biggest impact on our 90-day goals.
Second exercise: Kolbe Comparisons
You can learn something about your coworkers by doing trust exercises, or overcome obstacle courses together – but you can learn nearly everything about your coworkers with Kolbe scores. We went over what our Kolbe A™ scores meant and then we were each given a packet comparing our Kolbe scores with each member of the team. These are called the Kolbe’s Comparisons: A to A Report.
The beauty of Kolbe, and why we use Kolbe scores every day in our business, is that understanding how your coworkers approach problem-solving allows you to work together as efficiently as possible. Kolbe shows you how other people work, their innate behaviors, preferences, and strengths, so you can give them what they need to do their best work (and vice versa).
It also helps you to proactively anticipate where your approach might conflict with someone else’s, so you can react accordingly and collaborate effectively.
The Kolbe A to A Report is particularly useful for this because it tells you how you compare in:
- How you gather and share information
- How you sort, store and organize information
- How you deal with risk and uncertainty
- How you handle space and tangibles
Then it offers suggestions on how best to approach working together in those areas, along with potential conflicts that might arise and recommendations for how to problem-solve together.
Third exercise: Finding our strengths
“You’re already good, but this can make you great.”
– Shannon Waller, about the StrengthsFinder test
The idea behind the StrengthsFinder test is that, per Gallup research, “the most effective leaders are always investing in strengths,” as opposed to expending energy improving on weak areas. The CliftonStrengths test reveals what people naturally do best, so they can learn to use those talents to reach their highest potentials.
But it goes even deeper than that, uncovering the specific talents you rely on to build relationships, think strategically, execute plans and influence others.
Why we love this approach: “People who get to use their strengths at work are 6X more likely to be engaged.” – Gallup – The Strengths Maximizer
Another fun fact about strengths in the workplace: “67% of employees who agree that their manager focuses on their strengths are engaged at work” versus “2% when employees disagree.”
Fourth exercise: The Communication Builder
Do you hate making calls? Or is your inbox so overstuffed you can’t find what you need half the time? These are very important things to know about your coworkers – how they prefer to be contacted.
This was, perhaps, the most unexpectedly profound part of the day, when we each sat down to fill out a sheet covering our preferences for giving and receiving information. We found the activity and answers to be so useful, we got together afterward to create a “cheat sheet” for each person in the company!
Fifth exercise: Teamwork Strategies
Expanding on the communication styles, we looked at how we delegate, with Shannon Waller giving us tips and techniques for being delegated to, and when we’re delegating to others. Successful delegation is all about communication!
But it’s also about trust. You have to let go and allow your trusted team member to take on the task.
And, you have to overcome the mindset of “Oh, it’s easier if I just do it myself,” because you can’t do everything. Especially within the context of a team.
Sixth exercise: Strategic Coach’s Essential Tools
Strategic Coach is such an incredibly valuable resource for bringing everyone in a business together to focus on the most important things. We used:
- The Fast Filter – a tool that clarifies your thinking and helps boost momentum for key events, opportunities, and delegations
- The Impact Filter – a tool that helps you work through, and communicate, the purpose, importance, ideal outcome, best result, worst result, and success criteria of any given project, task, or meeting. We use it all the time.
- The Strategy Circle – a tool that helps with problem-solving and planning that has you write down potential obstacles and possible approaches for dealing with them. This is incredibly useful for small businesses where, sometimes, lack of structure can cause unforeseen difficulties.
- The Experience Transformer – We’ve talked about this before in greater detail, but this tool helps transform negative and positive experiences into lessons (and even breakthroughs). We use this all the time at EM too (and in our personal lives on occasion!).
By 5 pm that day, we were exhausted, exhilarated, and really excited to work together to make our 90-day goals happen.
Here’s what some of our team members had to say:
COMMUNICATION BUILDER EXERCISE
“I’ve already witnessed many team members using the insight we gathered from the communication exercise to good use. It’s funny; I come into work now and find an email with a list of things from Steve (Business Development Manager). This is my preference and it makes my life so much easier! If any follow-up is required, I know to pick up the phone and give him a call instead.”
Kolbe Score: 7681
“Shannon’s workshop taught me how to understand myself, my strengths, the way I innately behave, then understand those same things about another person and then, based on that information, to be strategic in my interactions. I’ve applied this to my professional and personal life every day. It taught me so much about understanding people in general, about accepting the fact that we are all so incredibly different but it doesn’t have to be an issue. I’ve taken this newfound understanding and knowledge one step further in my personal life by trying to convince my fiance to take the Kolbe A Index so that we can get our Kolbe A to A comparison!”
Kolbe Score: 3484
“A huge take-away for me was how to prioritize what you have on your plate, like the example of the rocks and the sand. It has reconfigured the way I work and how I look at projects, what needed to be done, and the steps that need to be taken. I gained so much insight, and I‘ve been able to utilize a lot of it, which has definitely improved my productively… I can’t thank Shannon enough for that!”
Kolbe Score: 9533