Workable Employees Working Together

 

In the scale-up stage, it is all about the people.

 

“I care about my leaders,” he told me. “I want to support them in any way I can.”

Moraitakis wanted his team to remain happy and fulfilled with their work as the company grew. He wanted them to expand their skills so that they could all get the company to the next level together. When one of his VPs asked for coaching support, he listened.

The challenge

Moraitakis believed in his team’s potential, and he wanted coaching to amplify it. The company’s success led to exponential growth. Many Workable leaders moved from individual contributors to managers to VPs within a few short years. They had excellent technical expertise, and they now needed to build their confidence as leaders as well. Workable needed their people to grow faster than the company.

“The transition from a full-time software engineer to a manager of multiple teams was no easy task. People management is not another programming language. It requires a multitude of skills and techniques and, above all, time and effort,” said one of the Workable VPs.

As the company grew, collaboration and communication across timezones became increasingly complex. A recent re-org had brought a new structure in product and engineering, and the new leaders needed to gel as a high-performing team. Workable had huge ambitions, and they needed everyone to be rowing in the same direction.

The plan

We developed a 3-prong one-year coaching plan for 17 of the leaders of the company:

  1. Executive Coaching. We matched every leader with their own external executive coach, someone they could confide in and trust. The coaches would not coach two leaders who had a reporting relationship to avoid conflict of interest. Each coachee had the ultimate say in their coaching agenda. The topics covered leadership skills, influencing peers, and strategy among others.
  2. Team Coaching. We had a quarterly 8-hour team coaching session with the newly formed product and engineering leadership team. We worked on the new team’s vision, purpose, culture, accountability, feedback, and roles and responsibilities. When Covid-19 hit, we moved the team coaching to the virtual space.

The results?

How to use coaching to grow your company sustainably

If you would also like to use coaching while scaling your company here are some tips:

  • Collaborate with a trusted coaching partner. Look for coaching qualifications, either a postgraduate degree in coaching or an ICF or EMCC accreditation. Ask for a track record of success and an understanding of high-growth environments. Partner with someone who has the scale to provide a team of coaches. They will be doing the vetting for you, and you can have a selection of coaches to choose from. By collaborating with a company that has many coaches, you can also ask them to raise any anonymized systemic themes that come up in coaching to you. It can be useful to get a pulse of key issues across your organization.
  • Measure the results. Coaching is an investment of time and money, and you need to make sure it is working for you and your company. With Workable, we measured the results in three ways: coaching satisfaction surveys, key team-health metrics, and comparing the 360-degree feedback survey results from before and after the coaching. You can use additional metrics such as the results of your employee engagement survey, retention rates, and of course the company’s financial results.
  • Create a coaching culture. Eventually, you will want to create a coaching culture across the company. Every manager and peer should be able to act as a coach when needed.

Final thoughts

“Strategy is 5 percent thinking, 95 percent execution. Strategy execution is 5 percent technical, 95 percent people-related.” Quy Huy, INSEAD Strategy Professor

Inthe startup phase of your business, it is all about finding a product-market fit. As you grow, your people, teams, leadership, and culture become increasingly important. The companies that fail to sustain their growth often do so due to people-related issues.

CFO asks CEO: “What if we invest in our people and they leave?
CEO: What if we don’t invest in our people and they stay?”

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