Executive Summary

 
During a challenging Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation, Kairos worked alongside a Finance department’s leaders for six months, to help them become a higher-trust, higher-performance team.

Challenge

 
The Finance workstream within the ERP project was bogging down. Ashley Vukovits, Interactive Intelligence’s VP of Finance, thought that her team of six direct reports would benefit from breaking down silos, having tougher conversations, and taking greater initiative to solve more strategic problems.

Traci Shaw, the Director of Global Accounting, summarized the problem, “When the process started the group rarely talked to each other unless out of necessity. We knew each other only from working together and never thought to collectively discuss the entire Finance team and what we could do for the entire group.”

Our Solution

 
Ashley engaged Chip and Alyssa from Kairos to assist the team in achieving the higher level of performance needed to successfully complete the ERP implementation.

The engagement started with a Birkman® personality assessment for each of the 7 members of the leadership team. In the group debrief of results, participants learned how they and their colleagues are uniquely wired. They used this knowledge to better leverage the differences within their team rather than misperceiving them as annoyances.

Kairos conducted non-confidential interviews with each team member to learn their perspectives on team strengths and growth opportunities. We shared trends with the team and recommended strategic leverage points that we believed would respond well to some pressure for change.

We then engaged in a Focused Feedback process. Addressing individual performance feedback was re-characterized as “team business,” rather than hidden or handled one-on-one. The team started thinking of feedback as a gift, not a necessary evil.

Team members practiced new approaches for giving, receiving, and tracking feedback. The team generated BOX Charts for each team member, which identified the desired behaviors, expected outcomes, and necessary shifts in thinking required to generate sustainable transformation. Individuals created the first draft of their BOX Charts, and their colleagues then added valuable input. The team established regular accountability patterns by tracking performance in the BOX Charts.

Finally, we built Relationship Spiderwebs throughout the engagement to map the level of trust between members of the team. This provided a more quantitative picture for the team on how relationships were evolving and which ones needed the most attention to facilitate greater collaboration within the team.

Results

 
Through this process, the team’s trust levels increased as they learned how to leverage each individual’s unique strengths. They fostered an environment of authentic support and accountability because they were transparent about the growth areas revealed in their individual BOX Charts. Average trust scores from the Relationship Spiderweb increased from 3.96 (on a scale of 1 to 5) to 4.76.

At the onset of this engagement, this team rarely spoke up in dissent during Ashley’s staff meetings. By the end, each team member freely shared their concerns and perspectives in group meetings. Ashley’s six direct reports actually began independently scheduling a monthly strategy meeting (without Ashley) to stay aligned and focused.

As a result of the gains made, this team engaged Kairos to help them develop similar Sharper Iron skills with their own direct reports. Also, a few months after the engagement, Ashley was promoted to become the CFO of Interactive Intelligence.