How a Senior Finance Executive Discovered the Hidden Keys to Capacity and Capability and Unlocked Executive Performance
As a coach, I often marvel at the disparity between thinking and reality.
On one hand, we are able to intellectualise the notion that Executives are constantly being challenged to work to higher and higher levels of performance no different to athletes pushing record barriers, yet on the other hand (and the reality is), we rarely look inward within ourselves to find the source that will unlock it.
The Emotional Culture Deck (ECD) was initially designed to enable leaders to consciously craft their workplace culture. Since this time, it has evolved to have numerous uses and is quickly becoming one of the fastest (and most economical) ways to create change at work.
Recently, I had the opportunity to coach a Senior Finance Executive in the wine business whilst she navigated the pressures of individual, team, and company disruptions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
With Adelaide being Australia’s Wine Country and everybody locked within the safety of their homes, I presumed prior to sitting down with her that the wine industry would be booming. But I quickly learned that my client’s company also distributed to the hospitality industry. So like dominos, their company was ‘in it’ like so many others.
Leading through a Crisis
As the head of a large finance team, my client was feeling the effects of increased work demands on reduced time, disconnection due to working from home, and living to the financial burden of the business and individuals.
Her team was one of the few teams in the company that has an increased workload. They were dealing with demand changes in the way they monitor company cash flow, reviewing the prices of the products so they correspond with customer volumes, conducting future modelling, and scenario planning on how to survive and pivot.
But they were tasked to do all of this on reduced hours to try and save money.
We were meeting at a high pressure time where performance was key.
The Emotional Culture Deck: A Guide to Looking Within
So she decided we’d use The Emotional Culture Deck to discover how she wanted to feel at work during this time as the priority. We also used the Know Yourself handbook to unfold more about herself and how to get the most out of herself.
The deck of cards is backed by Barsade and O’Neill’s 20-year Harvard research, extensively tested by Elephants & Riders, and trusted by over 25,000 people in 32 countries.
During this unique coaching exercise, we looked inwards. Using our cards, my client stepped through our employee-specific process (we also have a tailored approach for leaders) to identify what feelings were key to her success at work and which feelings were holding her back. To my client’s surprise (and ease), we were able to learn that the hidden reserves of capacity and capability were there all along.
What was promising to see unfold and highlight during this coaching session was a greater self-awareness of her strengths and her reflections of how this would be useful to team members more junior in their career.
By utilising our 1:1 coaching session, she concluded that it provided her with:
- An improved awareness and clarity as an experienced Executive. This will help her promote the right environment for her junior team members to excel. Specifically, she now knows what feelings (and behaviours she displays) help or hinder the team.
- A big “ooh bummer” moment. If only this coaching session had taken place years earlier in her career, she concluded that there would have been a lot of saved time, fast-tracking, and opting out when her previous workplaces were incongruent with what she needed in order to be successful.
- A reminder that her performance relies on what she instinctively knows she must feel and not feel in order to be successful and satisfied at work. Staying in alignment to her own truth (head, heart, and gut) is pertinent to performance.
From the Inside Out
Whether you’re an executive or employee, those who tune into their own feelings, with the aid of the ECD tool, experience the ability to unlock hidden keys to their capacity and capability and sources of strength, promote or role model conditions for themselves and their team members, and move the needle for the business.
At Number 8 Consulting, we design and run individual coaching sessions using the ECD tool. We believe that investing time and money to uncover what feelings help you sink or swim is key to creating change.
One person at a time.
For this reason, we have partnered with Riders&Elephants to bring our clients the Emotional Culture Deck, a card game designed to help provide leaders with an insanely simple card-based tool for structured face-to-face conversations about workplace culture, feelings, and employee experience.
- Download a free PDF version of the deck here.
- Download the Emotional Workshop Plan for free here. (I can facilitate this workshop for you and your teams if you want a helping hand.)
- Complete The Emotional Culture Online Masterclass course here.
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