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Client

The leader of a large engineering organization at a Fortune 500 company looking to improve the effectiveness and cohesion of a siloed leadership team

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What We Did

Created and facilitated a peer feedback process, guided debrief conversations, and designed a team offsite to open dialogue and share ideas for improvement

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Outcome

Opened lines of communication, improved peer relationships, and built self-awareness; team members committed to changing behaviors in order to improve team performance

Peer Feedback Process and Offsite Builds Trust, Self-Awareness, and Renewed Commitment from Leadership Team

SITUATION

The leader of a large engineering organization at a Fortune 500 company noticed his leadership team was struggling to work as a cohesive team. They were operating in silos, unaware of how their actions impacted one another and their employees, and communicating ineffectively. The leader was looking for strategies for strengthening trust between team members, increasing self-awareness, and improving overall team effectiveness.

WHAT WE DID

Blue Beyond created a strategy and plan to open lines of communication and build the trust and self-awareness needed to get the team on the right path. By designing a peer feedback process and team offsite, each leader had an opportunity to share and receive honest feedback to and from their peers in a safe setting. With the strong support and partnership of the team leader, and alignment with HR Business Partners (HRBPs) on plans and expectations, we:

  • Conducted individual interviews with team members (seven Engineering VPs, one Engineering Director, and one Chief-of-Staff) as well as HRBPs to collect feedback
  • Compiled feedback, identified themes, and created custom Peer Feedback Reports for each team member, and a Team Feedback Report that focused on overall team dynamics
  • Presented high-level findings to the Org Team Leader and HRBPs; and held guided debrief conversations with each team member to discuss how their peers perceived the strengths and challenges of their work style, including how they show up and lead in the organization, and the impact their leadership style has on other employees
  • Facilitated additional conversations between each team member, Org Team Leader, and HRBP so each team member could share key insights from the feedback report and discuss next steps for ongoing development
  • Designed a one-day offsite to bring the whole leadership team together to share and discuss feedback, identify priority areas for improvement, and determine an action plan to improve team dynamics

Keys to Success

  • Created safe space for leaders to be open and honest with feedback
  • Presented feedback as verbatim quotes from peers, highlighting common themes that allowed leaders to recognize patterns in behavior
  • Provided leaders with tips and tools to help them reflect and make the most of the feedback from their peers so that they could value the feedback rather than “evaluate” it

Rather than traditional 360s, these custom feedback reports focused on how each team member was perceived by their peers in order to hone-in on issues impacting team effectiveness.

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OUTCOME

“This exercise was very helpful and your guidance and the way you shared it with me made me think a lot and did in fact convince me that I have to work on softening the sharp edges and work better with my peers. Especially listening and explaining my reasoning.” — Leadership Team Member

Feedback from the Org Team Leader, HRBPs and leadership team members was very positive. After each debrief conversation, the leaders all said they appreciated the opportunity to hear the feedback and believed it was a useful exercise. Because the peer feedback was direct and unfiltered, they felt it was more impactful than traditional 360s.

Several of the leaders had noticeable “a-ha” moments during their debrief meeting. They learned to be open to valuing feedback from their peers, rather than evaluating it. This self-awareness allowed them each to recognize the need to make changes to improve their behavior. Everyone on the team owned at least one piece of feedback they received and committed to making changes to improve.

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