The outside sales team was suffering its own digression. Having experienced three sales managers in two years, they were left to develop their own plans and monitor their own actions. For most of them, this led to apathy. They were not making any sales calls, and may were staying home. Their behaviors were not hidden but flaunted by the sales team themselves causing much dissention with the organization.
Having learned of coaching through a training seminar, the General Manager (GM) decided to employ a business coach to help her align the business culture with what her vision for the company was. The goals were identified as: 1) Re-alignment of the company’s culture to reflect its core values; 2) Improve the effectiveness of the outside sale’s team; 3) Establish coaching as the style of management for leaders within the organization.
The beginning steps to formulating a coaching approach was to work only with the GM. Ongoing interviews were conducted with her to obtain a better understanding of where she was coming from and where she wanted to go. She possessed limited self-awareness relating to how she had created the current culture and placed blame on the employees stating that they were not good employees. She believed that it was the wrong doing of the employees that had created the current culture; not her dictatorial methods.
An employee survey was developed and administered as a tool for understanding their beliefs. Once completed, the information was categorized into manageable buckets. Each bucket represented and element requiring change. Coaching methods utilized with the GM focused on identifying each element, prioritizing it according to the goals she had outlined, and uncovering the impact each had or may have on the organization.
The goal of each coaching session with the GM was the incremental awareness of her role in the existing culture and her role in moving into her desired culture.
Interviews were conducted with employees to gain knowledge and experience in an effort to create a positive growth oriented company culture. Throughout the interviews, the common underlying issues were fear and a lack of trust in the new GM. Fear and intimidation tactics had already been utilized by the GM and the leadership team had been encouraged to follow suit as an attempt to increase productivity. Employees had also been given ultimatums to which they could develop better attitudes at work or be replaced by one of the many unemployed in the area.
The surveys and interviews revealed the employees felt to be of no value to the company as an individual and that any contributions they may make could easily be done by someone else. No acknowledgement was provided or recognition that the job had even been done. The ability to perform a task in their own way had also been taken away from them. New company policies made every detail of every task a specific process. Failure to follow a policy gave the company leverage to enact employee discipline.
Employees felt no pride or security in the work they performed and had no sense of satisfaction. There was no atmosphere of challenge or growth. Numerous employees indicated that they were seeking other employment or that they felt trapped in their current situation.
Interviews with leaders revealed a lack of respect for employees. Many perceived the employees as unmotivated, uncommitted to the company and easily replaceable. The GM shared these perceptions. The owner confided that in reality, she trusted no one. She felt as though everyone was out to betray her. Coaching began to actions for developing trust in herself, her team and her employees. This was paramount if her goals for her company were to be realized.
Past attempts to improve the culture, employee loyalty and leadership skills included onsite consultants focusing primarily on the performance of the outside sales team. Paid attendance to off -site seminars was provided to the management team. These programs and consultants provided much insight and workable applications; however, the sales staff and managers were unable to implement change. They did not have and were not given the power to make the changes. Despite the desire for change and provision of training, the GM would not allow anyone to act on this learning.