Con-x-ion is Australia’s largest airport transfer company, which has grown through organic growth and 11 acquisitions over the last 10 years and has served more than 10,000,000 customers. This year they adopted the REACH Ecosystem and their CEO decided to use some of the REACH tools for their annual Executive Leadership Team off-site, planning day.
“We do Quarterly catchups and an annual planning day off-site with our 9-person executive team. I generally facilitate it, and historically I spend the time on what we’re going to do and the objectives for the company over the coming 12-months,” explained Stuart Stratton, CEO of Con-x-ion.
“After becoming familiar with REACH, I thought I would change the focus this year and use the REACH tools to create better lines of communication and a better understanding of each other in the Senior Leadership Team”.
“I was really happy with the outcomes and takeaways, and the team gave the day a 9/10 (and they’re pretty honest when they don’t like my sessions), so I thought the experience was great all round,” said Mr Stratton.
“We asked all the leaders to complete the 10-minute survey, prior to the event, and pre-prepared their reports and our team dynamics visualiser (a visual depiction of where the team members are placed based on the survey results).
To kick off the session we did a great icebreaker to get the communication and sharing going where everyone shares something about themselves that no one else on the team would know. Then we debriefed the leadership reports to get everyone clear on what the different styles and tendencies meant. Everyone was agreeable to the description the report gave of them, and we all got some of those ‘ah ha’ moments about ourselves and each other,” said Stratton.
While the general team dynamics were important, where the day had real impact and produced real takeaways for the business moving forward, were:
1. We have a major opportunity for strengths-based management and strengths-based task allocation in the Senior Leadership Team.
People realised they were all falling into the common trap of assuming that everyone didn’t like the same tasks that they don’t like, so we were all accepting tasks out of professional commitment that didn’t energize us or play to our strengths.
The discussions that unfolded, guided by the REACH framework, led us to realise that we all like and don’t like different things, and we tend to do the things we like more enthusiastically, proactively and thoroughly than those we don’t; it’s just human nature.
However, we all fell into the same trap of assuming that, because we dislike something, everyone else must feel the same way.
For example, many of the team members don’t like writing detailed policy and business process documentation, so we all assumed that none of us do. However, as we went through our discussion, we learnt that there are a couple of us on the team who really enjoy that stuff, and if those tasks were picked up by them, they would be completed more quickly, more proactively and most likely to a higher standard.
This was a fantastic opportunity to help all of us to spend more time focussing on the things we enjoy and gave all of us the best opportunity to contribute more to the organisation.
2. We have an unbalanced senior leadership team, so without care we’ll get sub-optimal outcomes.
“We reviewed out Team Visualiser and recognised that we need to keep aware that if we don’t proactively stretch, or don’t purposefully delegate to our teams and external contractors, we’ll get less than optimal outcomes.
We identified that we are heavy in coaches and counsellors in the senior leadership team, but we only have 2 drivers and 0 advisors.
We’ve identified that we need to be mindful that our skewed approach will leave a lot of things not considered, or not considered well enough, so we need to ensure we involve our team members with different natural approaches, and ensure we solicit input from our external contractors to balance our approach. We have also made a commitment to delegate purposefully, and to actively listen to the views of other people, so our organisation gets well considered and well-balanced input.
I am proud and pleased that we have such a people-oriented leadership team, however the organisation and our customers need to ensure that we approach today and tomorrow with balance and diverse thinking.”
“After the session we have most certainly become much closer and have a better understanding of each other with more compassion, and I can see a significant shift toward what I would call real teamwork. I can see an immediate shift toward a high performing team playing to our strengths with respect and understanding of ourselves and each other.
It’s a great practical outcome that I anticipate will have bottom line impact.” said Mr. Stratton.