Kaya Consulting

Sometimes, to expedite the organisational effectiveness journey, you need to change direction. | Kaya Consulting

Sometimes, to expedite the organisational effectiveness journey, you need to change direction.

While we have a clearly defined five-step methodology at Kaya, it’s far from rigid. There are no set-in-stone-solutions when it comes to improving organisational effectiveness. Every organisation is different – different individuals and team dynamics, different stories and objectives. What’s more, as the organisational effectiveness journey unfolds, a change of course is often required, as has been the case for one of our client’s nickel refineries in Australia.

How the Deliberation Phase improves outcomes
Following some previous work with the team at our client’s large nickel refinery operation, where we helped to improve reliability and productivity through a cultural change program, we were invited to come back and help the Production and Maintenance teams at the plant.

Aware that something was amiss within the teams, our client asked us to provide individual effectiveness coaching, with a view to improving the effectiveness of both functions and, in turn, the plant’s productivity. So, we deployed two of our consultants who, using a series of existing assessments as a starting point for intervention, began work with the individuals within the teams.

The effectiveness journey took a new direction
During the Discovery Phase, it rapidly became clear to our consultants that, while coaching would certainly be beneficial, it was team effectiveness coaching – rather than individual coaching – that should be the primary focus. The Production and Maintenance teams were operating in isolation and sometimes even at loggerheads. We therefore recommended a change of tack.

Developing an alternative strategy, we implemented a solution designed specifically for the situation, whereby our consultants sat in on regular Production and Maintenance meetings. This approach enabled our team to note behaviours as they happened and then provide immediate feedback, intervening to address underlying issues as they arose with three types of enablement solutions:

  • Task enablers;
  • Psycho-social enablers; and
  • Leadership and culture enablers.

Three types of enablers delivered in three ways
The inherent flexibility in our methodology means we’re able to continually reassess a situation and alter the solution for maximum benefit as the organisational effectiveness journey unfolds. In this case, we’ve been able to deliver a three-pronged approach to effectiveness coaching:

  • Team effectiveness coaching. During meetings, by intervening there and then for maximum impact and relevance, we’ve directly addressed a host of issues. Sometimes the intervention might address trust issues, using the Trust Model as a tool. Other times the issue might emanate from personality characteristics, or require a focus on leveraging team strengths, or simply defining and assigning tasks more effectively.
  • Individual effectiveness coaching. By observing behaviours in meeting situations and then conducting individual coaching immediately after, we’ve enabled team members on both teams to improve their skills and capabilities. Again, by doing so straight away (what we call ‘Just in time’ coaching), the intervention is more relevant and impactful.
  • ‘Between team alignment’ coaching. The third type of coaching we’ve provided focuses on improving cooperation and collaboration between the teams, overcoming the ‘them and us’, mentality. That might mean having conversations on both sides to highlight opportunities. It could mean making practical recommendations, or suggesting improvements to communication systems. In fact, it can involve any number of interventions, from clarifying roles and responsibilities, to defining work flow and processes.

Delivering value, even in the toughest of times
The impact of our strategy on our client’s operation has been as broad as it is deep. While we’re unable to cite production figures, even the anecdotal feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

One recent example of improvement came during a site shutdown. In the past, Production would stand down and leave the site during a shutdown, leaving Maintenance on their own; however, Production now choose to stay on site and support the Maintenance team through the process – a strong demonstration of the ‘one team’ approach we set out to achieve.

The value of our holistic approach to improving organisational effectiveness is clear to our client – so much so that they continue to engage us for on-site coaching. That’s after three years of ongoing support. This is all the more telling given that the refinery has been put under increasing pressure in recent times, largely due to external market factors. Such is the value of flexibility and deliberation in systematically and sustainably enhancing morale, collaboration and ultimately productivity.

Learn more about the five-point methodology we’ve developed to analyse and improve organisational effectiveness. Read more of the real-world stories that demonstrate the value of organisational psychology. Alternatively, let’s talk about your unique workplace and organisational effectiveness challenges.

Jan Sipsma is an organisational psychologist and founding partner of Kaya. With over 20 years of international experience as an organisational effectiveness consultant, he specialises in strategic planning, organisational architecture and design, change management, capability and performance enhancement and the identification and development of leadership. He has a Masters of Commerce (Industrial Psychology) cum laude and is a registered member of the Australian Psychological Society.