By Sue Minichiello
With a constant eye on taking steps to improve job performance, client satisfaction and organizational success, AffinEco Managing Partners Michael Diamond and Paul Senecal have made a commitment to invest in the company’s internal talent. They brought in experts from The Handel Group, a corporate consulting and private coaching company headquartered in Ridgefield, Connecticut, to lead a corporate coaching program.
The program began about two-and-a-half years ago with Handel Group Partner and Corporate Division President Shir Nir and Corporate Division Vice President Will Craig providing individual coaching to Diamond and Senecal. Craig was then enlisted to provide coaching to AffinEco teams, which consist of operations VPs and other senior level managers plus their respective area managers. Once a month, Craig meets with the teams as a whole and one-on-one with team members.
According to Craig, the process has a sequence that begins with looking at the big picture and asking: what could personnel be excited about producing; what are the big goals; and how can the company pursue its next “cutting edge”?
Once this overriding vision is established, the next question is what are the changes that need to be made to achieve the “dream”? These include addressing:
- time management
- collaboration, relationship-building and conflict resolution
- investment in developing team and individual inspiration
“We operate from the basic beliefs that the most important thing to any company is its people, that people are happiest at work when they feel inspired, and that happy people equal positive results,” Craig said. “Only when everyone at a company is tapping his or her fullest potential can the targeted results be achieved. My job is to build a bridge from the vision to pragmatic accountability.”
The ultimate objective is to develop exceptional leadership skills, solve issues and create a culture of integrity and accountability among individuals and within the company. This means looking inward to identify and evaluate any obstacles to effectiveness.
“On an individual basis, there’s a theme that runs through our work,” said Craig. “When there are complaints and issues, each person has to ask and truthfully answer, ‘What’s my part in this?’ So my one-on-one work involves addressing and analyzing individual personality traits, beliefs about others within the company and theories about how the world works.”
Craig says the mission of the team meetings is three-fold:
- client generation, retention and satisfaction
- company profitability
- creating and maintaining a happy and motivated staff
According to Craig, each AffinEco team has devised its own focus, like improved and accurate communications. And, on a monthly basis, they revisit how they’re doing as a team and how each person is doing individually to address their goals. The idea is to recognize progress and to determine where improvements still need to be made.
And it’s working. Just ask Jorge Jimenez, Vice President of Operations for United Services, a division of AffinEco.
“The coaching has helped me to look at the big picture in a different way. It’s also taught me to delegate more and to try to better organize and help the rest of my teammates,” said Jimenez. “And it has reinforced to always look for the solution of a situation—we don’t call them problems, but situations—and move forward.”
All of AffinEco’s VPs and Area Mangers report to Chief Operating Officer Aramis Cordal, who says he sees the impact of the coaching company-wide. “Our staff are working more collaboratively across all levels since we started the coaching program. Plus, people seem happier, more motivated and more invested,” he said. “We’re convinced that the program will continue to pay off, especially by helping us to encourage and support teamwork and develop talent internally for management. And better management means better customer satisfaction.”
(image courtesy of blog.envisialearning.com)