I had just finished a tough series of mediated conversations with a large co-founder team in the San Francisco Bay area. A coming together happened, agreements for sustainable change were made. Most of the change they promised each other was around behaviors, and they asked me to stay involved to make sure what they promised each other actually happened.
This was not unusual in our work - doing follow-up sessions, phone calls, check-ins, and staying on top of team agreements until implementation is complete. Experience has taught us that the mediation is oftentimes the easy part, compared to the actual work of implementing all the agreements the newly-mediated team has agreed upon. To learn what can happen at this fragile stage, take a look at this article.
Check-ins and data points
What was unusual about this particular situation was that this team was mostly made up of data scientists, and they wanted both personal check-ins and regular data points to monitor how they were doing. I agreed, and set out to build a pulse survey that would show them how they were doing - to be launched in three days. Yikes!
There were a few parameters I had to cover to make this work:
Data set and topics needed to be customized to this team.
The report view that the team members would see needed to average the responses so answers remained confidential and the team saw itself as a system rather than a group of individuals.
That same report needed to show progress (or lack thereof) over time.
The output needed to be easy to understand by the team.
Pulse survey had to take less than 2 minutes for individuals to take.
And, I needed to be able to see individual responses without anyone else having access.
In my tech geek happy place….
I admit, I love to solve these kinds of puzzles and get tech geeky. After some searching, I landed on two cloud-based systems for the tech part which, when joined together, created a great starting system with both solid pulse taking and awesome reporting.
From there I modified the agreements they had made into statements by which they would rate their progress in the pulse surveys. We edited them as a team until everyone agreed these statements were worth measuring. On a weekly basis, surveys were deployed and reports were sent to everyone.
What I quickly discovered with this new tool was that taking their pulse in this way yielded super valuable information for me to use to re-intervene early. It also created conversation starters for the team to be able to discuss how they were doing and how they needed to iterate to make progress. It was fantastic.
At first all was rosy and progress was being made. Pulse reports and sync-up calls were showing good stuff happening. Then, about a month in, I noticed on the reporting that the team average around “talking through difficult conversations promptly” was headed down slightly; and one person in particular was really having a bad time, scoring their feelings near the bottom of the barrel.
I connected with this person right away, and discovered they were completely frustrated and couldn’t bring that feeling, and the reasons for it, to the team. A little 1:1 coaching and an additional team meeting opened up a new path around difficult conversations. Ultimately, this process allowed the team to change the behaviors they’d identified in mediation, one person to leave the organization, and the business to thrive.
Eventually this team reached a point of normalizing the changes they had agreed to, and a new, better norm took hold. After four months of pulse surveys, we stopped collecting data, and I stepped away from the regular work with the team.
P.S. You’ve heard the saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention?” As with many great tools, Resologics’ Implemetrics™ was born from this real-world need, which we continue to use successfully with our teams.
If you’d like to know more about mediation or the Implementrics™ Tool, feel free to schedule a conversation with us here.