From all of us to all of you… we wish you a joyful and restful Holiday.
Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!
The SW&A Team
Our Top Three Challenges – 2022 Case Studies
When we’re called on to address a new situation or think outside the box and develop a new approach, we’re always up for the challenge! And when we bring curiosity and creativity together, we get great outcomes.
As we looked back at the broader application of our work this year, there were three programs that stood out with innovative thinking, accelerated learning, and great results.
Here’s a quick look and a profile of some of the development projects that seemed to resonate most this year.
CASE STUDY #1: Getting to the Heart of the Matter
Situation: More than a handful of times, we were asked to work on a refresh/reset/redesign of company values. In some instances, it was a request to bring values to life and help leaders get creative with storytelling to illustrate the values. And in other instances, it was a total overhaul or fresh start for the values themselves.
Solution: In each case, we started the project with leadership interviews to understand the current state of the values and the perspective across the senior leaders. And regardless of how we got to the table, each company was surprised at the insights we uncovered. They weren’t very favorable. Values took a hit during the pandemic, and few leaders know how to revitalize them. Or worse, they don’t agree on what revitalizing means.
We went to work to shape up a set of principles that the group could discuss and shape into their own. Then, we put processes in place to get input from employees and captured what resonated and what didn’t. Finally, the process led us to a communication strategy that brought new energy and creativity to how leaders illustrate values and involve employees in living them.
Impact: Whether it was a new or renewed group of values, we saw interest and alignment take shape within each organization. And the unexpected outcome was that the project seemed to energize leadership teams and solve for some of the concerns around bringing clarity and connection back into the culture. And for a few groups, it was a great way to get teams back into their office a little more, too.
Situation: As all companies struggled to fill leadership gaps created during the great resignation, an immediate ask was to help managers show up as leaders …. quickly. And it got us thinking about the tools we give new leaders through coaching as they onboard to bigger roles. We gathered the insights to be sure we understood the gaps, and we built a program to simplify the tools to an “emergency kit” that built confidence quickly. The goal was to equip a new leader with insights that allowed them to settle in and consider new ways of building trust and alignment with a more complex team.
Solution: With multiple programs under our belt, we discovered commonalities that ran deeper than we originally thought with the new generation of leaders. All said the learning didn’t come fast enough, and they were relieved to have a “starting point” for evaluating a team, inspiring a group and thinking through decision-making.
Impact: Our work with these groups lifted confidence in a single day by introducing proven tools. But each workshop also linked new leaders to each other. We kept small groups engaged in coaching circles to share ideas and problems with a coach and a few peers. And while our work wrapped up, all of the coaching circles we activated are still intact and proving to be a great way for new leaders to grow together.
Situation: There’s been a lot of focus on the job market, from a shortage of candidates to a plethora of opportunities. But no one has said a lot about the impact all that activity and movement has had on the hiring managers themselves. And once we discovered it, we knew we could help. Interviewing is a task most managers take on a few times a year. They rarely describe themselves as great at it, but they can find the candidates they’re looking for through some trial-and-error interviews. When you speed up the rate of turnover and the number of candidates, that approach doesn’t work. Today, managers interview frequently and need a consistent way of getting to the experiences and foundational skills sooner.
Solution: So, we built a workshop that helps managers think about what they want to know, and we developed the tools that help them observe and compare one candidate with another. We introduced an interview format that covers the foundational behaviors and drills down to previous experiences. It helps a team align on a common approach and work through how to evaluate candidates more effectively.
Impact: And what was the result? Well, better interviews for starters! The instinctive and “seat of the pants” approach with candidates became more structured and measurable as a tool. And even the tougher concepts, like gauging culture fit, can take shape as teams talk them out.
So, with four weeks to go, we’re energized by bringing curiosity and creativity together to solve the development priorities we heard about this year. And we’re already intrigued by what’s ahead as early planning suggests that 2023 holds new challenges with skill gaps and communication challenges. We can’t wait to partner with you to explore it.