It Works: Stories From The Book

Diagnose problems on the couch in 25 minutes

During a team development session where we looked at a 360-degree diagnostic, a senior leadership team scored very low on trustworthiness. The feedback was that they were unavailable and lacked transparency.

They decided to introduce an informal 25-minute meeting every morning from 8.30 to 8.55, which they called the ‘on the couch’ meeting. They didn’t announce it to the world, and they didn’t make it compulsory for all execs to attend, but at 8.30 every morning, whoever was there would convene around the couch in the kitchen area for a coffee and catch-up.

While this might seem like a loose process, they were clear on how they would run these informal meetings. They would start with a quick check-in with each other on what they were working on and what help they might need, and encouraged anyone who was in the kitchen to come and listen, say hello or ask questions.

This quickly became known to the whole organisation and people used this as an informal way to observe the exec team together, get answers from the horse’s mouth and build relationships directly with them. Diagnostic scores 12 months later were drastically different, and many people commented on how the ‘on the couch’ meetings improved organisational communication and culture.

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It Works!

While I was working in Shanghai, a manager who led a global team shared their strategy for being more personable and building relationships with distance teams. When the team first came together, she... More
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