Impetus-PEF is a venture philanthropy fund with 50 employees that provides unrestricted financial support and pro-bono consultancy to high potential non-profits working in the employment and education sectors.
A recent merger and change of senior leadership meant that the organisation had experienced substantial shifts in strategy and team. Although their highly competent team had navigated this change well, an organisational survey exposed some weaknesses that were important to address. In particular, the survey exposed a reluctance to offer constructive feedback despite a range of mechanisms that had been encouraged, including anonymous surveys.
This issue was compromising trust and, in turn, the efficiency of the team. The Senior Leadership Team were keen to address the gaps they had identified. A few members of the Impetus-PEF team had attended Resurgo Consulting’s ‘Coaching for Leadership’ Programme and felt confident that the application of some of the tools they had learned across Impetus-PEF could substantially influence a shift in the culture.
Having spent half a day working with team members across the tiers of Impetus-PEF team to identify the core issues, Resurgo Consulting designed a four-session programme called ‘Developing a Feedback Culture’. Every member of the Impetus-PEF team participated in the programme in groups of twelve, drawn from across departments and tiers in the organisation.
The content of the programme was designed to equip the team with the language and skills needed to:
• Develop coaching skills to improve the quality of conversations,
• Understand themselves and others through the use of the C-Me colour-profiling tool,
• Deliver both encouraging and challenging feedback and
• Engage in the ‘crucial’ conversations that they were struggling to have, without creating unnecessarily emotional conflict.
The team were challenged to practise their new skills live in the session and to deploy them between sessions in their working relationships so that they could report back in the following sessions. Six months later the whole team met again in their groups to review how they had (and hadn’t!) applied their learning and to resolve problems that had emerged in that application.
Since completing the programme in 2017, Impetus-PEF has seen a marked improvement in both communication and employee engagement. The team have reported an improvement in team dynamic and peer relationships and they use the language, skills and tools, including the colour-profiling tool, from the programme on a daily basis. Many of the team also talk openly about how they appreciate the personal development that the investment in the programme represents.The ‘Developing a Feedback Culture’ programme has become a core element of the induction process for Impetus-PEF, with all new staff participating.