How do you unite three global groups into one cohesive team and set them up for success?
FINDING A SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION to that question ranked at the top of Darci Kleindl’s task list when she accepted the role as general manager of sales enablement and sales excellence for the Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) organisation within the Dynamics division. Kleindl entered a unique and challenging business situation with her new position. Three weeks into her role, the Dynamics business leapt from being Microsoft’s eighth largest business to being the core of Microsoft strategy. With a global team of customer support managers, all of whom work with diverse clientele, and a team of leaders who drive worldwide standards for sales basics and internal and external readiness, Kleindl needed a way to understand her team while redefining their purpose and place in the company.
“When we started talking about what
our values are, we started connecting
with each other at a different level.”
— Dilip Popet, EMEA Enterprise, CSM Director
INVESTING IN IMPACT
As a business leader, Kleindl’s natural instinct drove her to seek out the best solution to this workplace challenge that faced her, rather than settle for a temporary fix. She was determined to create a comprehensive leadership and team development program for her team, completely enriching her work culture with trust, collaboration, and accountability. Kleindl sought the expertise of her trusted advisor Bruce Leamon, President of the Leamon Group and a Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Authorised Partner. Together, they created the Organisational Capital Programme, a multi-year program that focuses on developing leadership, coaching skills, emotional intelligence, and a culture of teamwork. “I wanted to give my colleagues an end-to-end picture of who they are, from their own understanding as well as from other people’s perspective–to learn that maybe you have a dominant personality style and to understand how that relates to your emotional intelligence or to your leadership skills,” Kleindl says. She wanted to provide her team with an opportunity that would influence their personal and professional growth. “My hope was that no matter where they go, no matter what they do, this is who they are, and individually we can work through things they want to develop,” says Kleindl. Leamon recommended The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™ to be the foundation for the Organisational Capital Programme. The Five Behaviors™ program is a unique learning experience based on Patrick Lencioni’s New York Times best-selling leadership fable The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. The assessment and accompanying facilitated programme help intact teams understand how they score on the pillars of The Five Behaviors model: trust, conflict, commitment, accountability, and results, and how they can improve on these behaviours to become a productive, high-functioning team. “It was critical for us to adopt a common language and framework that fit with other models and existing initiatives. The Five Behaviors provides a comprehensive assessment of the team’s current state while providing crisp guidance toward next steps,” Leamon explains.
THE EVOLUTION OF TEAMWORK
To kick off the Organisational Capital Program, Kleindl arranged for her global teams from the US, EMEA, and Asia to gather together in person for a two-day offsite for The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team workshop. Leamon facilitated the offsite and began by establishing vulnerability-based trust, the foundation of The Five Behaviors model. Taking the workplace assessment prior to the programme helped set the team’s understanding of personality, which equipped them with a common language to use throughout their Five Behaviors experience. By establishing vulnerability based trust, they connected over stories about their personal challenges and accomplishments and felt safe to have important conversations about developing teamwork. “There was suddenly a feeling that you were a part of a bigger entity here and you weren’t just an individual,” said participant Dilip Popet, EMEA Enterprise, CSM Director. “When we started talking about what our values are, we started connecting with each other at a different level.”
They dove deep into The Five Behaviors and identified areas of improvement, particularly in conflict and commitment, and defined actionable next steps. When establishing their common core values, they participated in healthy conflict and as a result experienced a huge payoff: all forty participants completely came to an agreement.
As the team progressed, Kleindl began to notice a physical shift in the team’s energy level and engagement. “I would say it went from a little resistance to excitement, to surprise, to really full engagement, and ultimately at the end, fun. They actually had some fun.” Everyone was an active participant and took accountability to be present. In just two days, the MBS group established team camaraderie that would help keep them grounded and connected when they returned to the workplace.
AN ONGOING TRANSFORMATION
To be a high-performing team in the competitive tech industry is not an easy feat, but with The Five Behaviors set as their foundation, Kleindl’s agile MBS group has the common language and tools to continuously strengthen their teamwork. The team’s progress on accountability allowed them to understand their roles and expectations on an individual level as well as company-wide, which has increased their productivity and visibility as an organisation. Silos faded as people began to embrace the goals and priorities they had established at their offsite. They began to experience a positive shift in their daily work routine and relationships throughout Microsoft. “I truly enjoy what I’m doing. The programme enables me to do the best work I can possibly do in the organisation,” says Popet. “I definitely feel more at home in this team. Our environment truly cares about people and empowers me to reach out more, to bring out more from within myself and to the contribution I make.” The Five Behaviors prepared the team to address emotional intelligence, coaching, and leadership development as they moved forward in the Organisational Capital Programme. “The Five Behaviors actually gave me something that was actionable and that the team could see as actionable, more at a collective level but also at an individual level,” says Kleindl. “I got emails from people saying, ‘No one has ever invested in me in this way. It’s fantastic!’” With The Five Behaviors integrated into their work culture, the MBS team can continuously develop their teamwork, the ultimate competitive advantage.