William E Hamilton@Iman Fiqrie
LCDR, USN ret; MBA, B.S., A.A. ACB, CL
Lecturer and Certifed Professional in Learning Peformance (CPLP)
Coaching, cultural beliefs and achieving business outcomes
In one of my last articles, I eluded to the impact that coaching can have on achieving business outcomes– e.g., how frontline, middle and senior management and subsequently employees as well can learn coaching and be successful; e.g., with cultural beliefs and change management programs, follow-up “Booster Learning Events” that enhances previous learning, and eventually achieve success of both the individual and business according to some defined standards. So how does an organization use coaching, cultural beliefs and achieving business outcomes? Well traditionally, most of us see coaching as something that’s done only in sports. However, if you think about it, a coach is really tasked with getting the best performance out of individuals, teams and winning championships! The same parallel can be drawn for coaching in organizations.
Achieving business outcomes
The proposition here is that there is a high probability that an organization will achieve its stated goals (i.e., learning, market, and business goals) if their learning strategy is synchronized with their desired (reasoned) business results– “achieving business outcomes and winning the championship”. A coach can help ensure the peak performance of the organization and winning team. The more exposure this author has to read, webinars, conferences, and best practice– the more it becomes possible to see, even more so, the innovative and creative space that makes this kind of achievement possible.
Achieving business outcomes through cultural beliefs
Cultural Beliefs (CB) programs typically work on an organization attaining increased accountability and change management for the purpose of achieving business outcomes, I also propose that gamification of change management initiatives– “The Cultural Beliefs Game,” can help embed the needed tools and practices learned during such workshops. Coaches incorporate games (e.g., mini scrimmages, offense against defense and ball handling drills) all the time as a way of implementing or realizing further aspirations of success. An organization can use coaches in achieving business outcomes in much the same way.
Playing games can help in achieving business outcomes
There are a lot of reasons why playing games is useful in acquiring much-needed skills and behaviors to help in achieving business outcomes. For example, many of us enjoy playing games already, take some of the all time favorites like “Asteroids” or “Grand Theft Auto”–people enjoy playing them because they contain certain elements; (1) they have a great story, (2) have a meaningful goal or higher purpose, (3) have a core dynamic, e.g., be funny or engaging, (4) the mechanics of the game, e.g., are relatively easy and/or puts the player in control, (5) they are interactive, and (6) have good clear feedback; all the great games do anyway. Face it, a good story can make us all feel good. If it’s fun, people will want to play it again and again. People can also get attached to the characters, the challenge, and emotional attachment and drama. But how does this help us learn or achieve our business outcomes? Many of the items mentioned in the elements of a great game helps to motivate us to achieve unquantifiable outcomes, opportunities, and successes– i.e., achieving business outcomes. As in games, if we create amble “spaced repetitive opportunities” to practice and learn– we can assimilate previous learned interactivity and engagement– we learn to win. It doesn’t matter if the rules are explicit or implicit– stated or not
Games in Cultural Beliefs Workshops helps in achieving business outcomes
In some CB workshops, there’s a game called “The Push-Pull Game,” in which the facilitators describe and demonstrate one of the game activities of the workshop. In it, participants stand facing one another, with one leg in front and one leg behind– the front leg next to your opponents inside leg. They then grab each other’s arms around the inside forearm and are told that the objective of the game is to win– however, in demonstrating it– it is never shown that way, in the facilitator’s demo, one of them appears to overpower the other (staged of course). They have about one minute to play the game, win and at the end of the game count points to see who won. Some people end up with 0-0 points, some 10-10 and other 20-20 and so on. Very rarely does someone outright lose the game, i.e, play the game to really win for oneself. It’s as if there’s an unwritten rule (implicit rule) to cooperate so they all win. This could also imply that we all have a natural innate inclination to want to win and succeed, even if it means cooperating! This is very powerful in achieving business outcomes. Then why do we let ourselves fail in business and at our job?
Harnessing the real power of gaming in achieving business outcomes
If we could harness the essence of the games we all know and love to play and re-invent them in such a way that incorporates the learning objectives and business outcomes that we so desire and need in life and at work– synchronize them, we can have real power and success in achieving business outcomes. For example, incorporate shared values, accountability, CB Tools (focused recognition, focused storytelling, steps to accountability, best practices, formal and informal methods of managing the organization, etc.) and more into games. We would not only enjoy playing them but actually benefit from them by achieving learning, market and business outcomes.
Games can be constructed where there are teams from different departments; colors; or teams based on local, regional or global themes. The teams could be seasonal, have a training season, an actual board game for practice sessions, or deploy such a game for your global company. There could be rewards, certificates, Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards and dinners.
In conclusion, the focus should be on achieving business outcomes
Often times, coaches report that players are too focused on the scoreboard (business results) during games and forget to “play the game” and miss bold and decisive opportunities to engage and seize the strategic initiative needed to turn the game around in their favor– to win! Achieving business outcomes, experiencing real power and cultural change will take more than just “soul searching” and talk, but finding that passion, purpose and inner voice that each us has individually, but that together creates a winning culture, opportunity, and business that is a reflection of real work and commitment, not just games, that individuals and organizations must put forth. Only then can it achieve its desired business outcomes!