Jane received a BS in Electrical engineering and an MBA from Stanford University in 2003. Upon graduation, she joined Company X and was considered by her firm as the expert at customizing SAP and other enterprise software to meet the reporting and other unique client requirements. In 2010 she was promoted to IT Client Leader and her new responsibilities included leading a team of IT professionals that install new enterprise software systems for the company’s clients.
Despite Jane’s technical expertise with enterprise software systems, she struggled with managing her new team from the very beginning. In fact the Human Resource team had become “involved” in 2 separate incidents stemming from Jane’s poor communication and relationship skills. One well-respected systems engineer attributed part of her reason for leaving Company X was due to Jane’s “leadership style.”
Jane was working 70 hours or more per week as she redid and modified major portions of her team’s work. She took pride in and openly complained about the errors she was finding and unfortunately felt she deserved credit for doing so. As her team increasingly missed critical deadlines, she decided to fix the situation by making all the decisions related to deliverables and their timelines.
Her manager “John” received over 2 documented complaints from some of her team’s best employees who felt marginalized by Jane’s leadership style. More and more often John found himself jumping into Jane’s projects as deadlines were missed and clients grew increasingly unhappy.
By December of 2012, John was considering moving Jane back to an individual contributor or releasing her altogether. He discussed the pros and cons of doing so with his boss, the VP for Client Solutions. Fortunately the VP had personally attended a Performex program back in 1993. She knew Jane and wanted her succeed. She suggested John send Jane to a Performex® Summit Excellence Program.
Despite John’s explanation that the company was sending Jane to a prestigious program for her and company’s benefit, she was hesitant to attend. After some coaxing she agreed to participate in the program and registered for the January session online. She filled in her own 360 degree multi-rater assessment, a FIRO “B” self-assessment and identified the other individuals who would evaluate her skills and challenges by completing her 360.
Arriving at the first day of the workshop, Jane was especially apprehensive about the feedback she knew she would receive from her direct reports, John, clients and other people she interacted with on a daily basis. While she knew there was some considerable displeasure with her work style Jane was convinced her technical expertise made up for her interpersonal challenges.
After a few hours at the workshop, Jane was surprised to find the other 9 attendees that had similar backgrounds to hers and held similar positions and levels. They were all high potential – high performers attending the program to become better leaders.
Based upon the 360 feedback Jane found it difficult to deny she needed to improve. Even her self-assessment indicated she needed to significantly improve her interpersonal and delegation skills. For the 360 survey questions – “Listening with Concentration,” “Delegating Work and Decision Making,” and “Respecting Other Points of View” she received scores of 1.8, 1.9 and 1.7 respectively all within the “Ineffective range.” Furthermore, out of 18 respondents only a single individual scored her above 2 in any of the 3 categories. Her total Communications score was 2.1 – at the very edge of “Ineffective” and “Fair.” Upon reflection of the results, Jane stated she found it extremely difficult to give up the technical work fearing her team would not perform to her standards. She knew her critiques of her team’s work were very direct and at times bordered on insulting – but she considered “sugar coating the truth” a waste of her scarce time.
Luckily the workshop gave her a determination and sense of relief that there were answers to the problems she seemed unable to solve on her own.
According to her workshop evaluation, Jane found her fellow participants were “extremely supportive” and workshop facilitators were “all in.” She reported the team consulting session helped her to own the issues and focus on improvement. She specifically commented, “The tools provided in the workshop provided me many deep insights regarding how to tackle the problem with easy to comprehend and directly applicable solutions.” Jane left the workshop tired, but optimistic – she was committed to action.
About 5 weeks after the workshop a Performex Master Coach facilitated a Summary Report meeting between Jane and John. According to his notes from the meeting – “Jane did an excellent job detailing the insights she made during the workshop and John fully endorsed her 2 developmental plans created during the workshop.” John’s direct quote from the meeting was, “For the first time I believe Jane accepts she has a major problem and is finally committed to change.”
Jane responded to the individual coaching sessions exceptionally well. She completed all major assignments on time and was highly engaged during the dialogs with her assigned coach.
During the second workshop everyone could see a steep change in Jane’s behavior. After several more coaching sessions the program concluded with a second 360 resurvey.
The results of Jane’s 360 resurvey were remarkable. Her “Listening with Concentration” score improved from 1.8 to 3.8. Her “Delegating Work and Decision Making” score improved from 1.9 to 4.3 and her “Respecting Other Points of View” improved from 1.7 to 3.6. All these improvement were statistically significant and in the high average to effective range. What’s more, John’s comments detailed an extraordinary change. “Jane has not only overcome her weaknesses but has actually changed them to strengths. Her people like working for her and their results are substantially better in terms of client satisfaction and deadlines made.”
Jane’s own comment summarizes it best – “I learned more about managing people and leadership from the Summit program than I did getting an MBA from a top school!”
Jane’s experience is not unique; 86% of Summit Excellence Program participants agree or strongly agree with statement that Performex “had a profound change in my life and career” and “was the most impactful leadership development program” they ever attended.
Juan managed a large group of over 600 engineers for a major automobile manufacturer. 2 Directors and 7 Managers reported directly to him and the group included mechanical, electrical, and systems engineers. Juan was considered by his firm an essential asset, exceptional engineer, and a potential senior leader of the company.
Despite being very well liked and respected by his staff and peers, Juan’s soft spoken and introverted personality made it difficult for him to project a leadership presence. In addition, he found it difficult to coach and develop his staff.
Juan attended a Summit Excellence Program in 2012. To his credit, he quickly embraced the feedback and techniques from the workshop and was among the session’s most engaged participants. He discovered his listening skills, and the sincerity and warmth he projected were in fact superior relationship building skills. From the facilitators he learned how to tap into his strengths to help him coach people even when he feared their reaction might be negative. As he saw how the Performex coaching process impacted his skills, he grew even more committed and confident about coaching his own people.
Using Performex’s proprietary “Mosaic TechniqueTM” he formed a strong mental image of what “Leadership Presence” was and from it created a goal that would not only be authentic but also allow him to project more confidence and enthusiasm.
During the coaching portion of the program, Juan was exceptionally engaged and his end of program 360 multi-rater results showed him with 80% of his scores in the outstanding range. Juan was promoted to Vice President of Engineering in late 2013. All these results are testament to his growth as a technical leader.
Juan’s end of program comments: “The last 12 months have been the most rewarding, enjoyable and beneficial of my life. Thank you Performex for helping me become a much better leader!”