Pinewood Technologies, a South African company which implements and supports car dealership management IT systems, was operating very well to start with. It did not have serious problems. Its people were motivated and engaged, and results were good. The Grow to Care intervention which is the subject of this case study was never intended as a “fix”. It was simply the next step in Pinewood’s relentless pursuit of improvement – to be even better than before.
Legitimate Leadership enables a shift in intent from “taking” to “giving” in both those in leadership roles and non-managers. The Care and Growth process enables a shift from getting results out of people to caring for and enabling ordinary people. The Grow to Care process facilitates a change from going to work to earn a living to going to work to going above and beyond in service to the customer.
Pinewood Management was already committed to the Legitimate Leadership principles. There was a belief that if these principles were helpful for them, then imagine what it could be like if everyone in the organisation was committed to GIVING also? They wanted the principles to be applied at the front line of the organisation. Ultimately, it was the desire to better enable employees on the front line that led to the Pinewood Grow to Care intervention, specifically designed to promote the shift from TAKING to GIVING for direct contributors.
GIVING EVERYONE A CHANCE TO BE THEIR BEST: THE 1-DAY GROW TO CARE INTRODUCTION
The 1-day Grow to Care Introduction workshop is designed to introduce participants to the concepts of GIVING and TAKING. What is the difference? Why does it matter? What is the implication for me professionally and personally?
At Pinewood, participation at the introduction workshop was enthusiastic, but it was obvious that the concepts sat more easily with some than others. It was a significant help that many in the room could positively relate the workshop content to their personal experience of Pinewood Management. At the end of the day, the shift from taking to giving is really about employees reclaiming their sense of personal strength, and their capacity to make an excellent contribution at work. A common realisation amongst participants in this introductory day was that “coming to work to give is about focusing on what we can control, and that puts us in a position of strength”.
A key, and emotional, part of the introductory day for Pinewood employees was their discussion of people in their lives who they saw as heroes. A significant theme that emerged (as it always does) was that the people we view as heroes are viewed as such because of what they have GIVEN or contributed to others and society, not because of what they have TAKEN or accumulated.
The introductory day also had the effect of galvanising people as a team with a purpose – the realisation that we are all human, we all share the experiences and challenges of life, and at Pinewood we share a common goal – enabling our customers.
CHOICE, CONNECTEDNESS AND CLARITY: THE APPLICATION WORKSHOPS
The purpose of the application Grow to Care workshops is to give people the tools and techniques required to implement the principles covered in the 1-day introduction. The focus of the workshops is on three core criteria:
CHOICE: To practically equip participants to make the choice to prioritise GIVING rather than TAKING
CONNECTEDNESS: To help participants understand how they are connected to the bigger picture of the organisation – each participant’s individual “WHY”, and
CLARITY: To help participants gain clarity with respect to their current and future contribution.
Each application workshop comprises a half-day content workshop and a half-day review, to allow people to discuss and reflect on insights gained and also to ensure that application actually happens.
MAKING THE SHIFT FROM TAKING TO GIVING: APPLICATION WORKSHOP 1
In this workshop, participants are given the insights and tools to make empowering choices. Participants explore the difference between being a victim and a master and what is required for the former to mature from that weak state to a more powerful position. They are encouraged to explore their personal growth journey by reflecting on, noticing and shifting what they are currently paying attention to when they come to work. They are introduced to the Gripe to Goal process which helps participants to take accountability for any situation they are in. Being one’s best simply requires that one consistently makes choices which prioritise GIVING over TAKING.
Before this workshop, not everyone had taken time to consider what makes people excellent. Insights were generated by participants reflecting on themselves and how, with which intent, they were showing-up at work and in their lives. What are the essential differences between exceptional contributors and poor contributors? The differences extend far beyond the quality of tasks or output.
This workshop can be confronting, dislodging and disruptive. People are confronted with the real picture of themselves.
Some comments from participants:
FINDING MY PURPOSE AT WORK: APPLICATION WORKSHOP 2
Finding My Purpose at Work is about giving people the insights and tools to help them understand how they are connected to the bigger purpose of the organisation. Why does each part of the organisation exist? What value does my department add to the customer? Why does my contribution matter?
According to comments, what shifted was that participants started to understand the reason or WHY behind their own roles, their department and the organisation – not how or what they did, but why they did it. What was their role in the organisation? And for the whole organisation, why was it there? Ultimately, “to serve the customer excellently” was the conclusion – the most important WHY of all. If the business gets that right, and that is reflected in the intent of employees, then a significant determinant of the success of the business is secured.
The participants explored and clarified what the benevolent intent was at each level of the individual role, the function and the organisation. Everyone was asked to establish a clear line of sight between his or her role and the purpose of the organisation, thus forming a basis for excellence in contribution. This led to a feeling of connectedness between teams in the organisation, they started to understand each other better, and what the GIVE or contribution was for each team or function.
Some comments from participants:
OWNING AND ENABLING MY CONTRIBUTION AT WORK: APPLICATION WORKSHOP 3
In this workshop, participants are presented with techniques and tools to gain clarity in what their contribution is – a fundamental precondition to taking ownership and accountability. Participants develop an understanding of the difference between contribution and results and why a focus on contribution is the best way to achieve results.
During this workshop participants explored the means, ability and accountability issues that constrain them from meeting or exceeding the standard. In turn, this enables them to take responsibility for soliciting what they need from their manager to contribute their best. At Pinewood we also explored how individuals could support their manager in providing CARE and GROWTH to their people.
The workshop challenged management to have rigorous one-on-one meetings with employees, to clarify each individual’s contributions, and for everyone to be aligned as a team. It also challenged employees to take ownership and accountability.
Some comments from participants:
GIVING TO MY TEAM: APPLICATION WORKSHOP 4
In this workshop, all the previous topics come together so that people understand how to apply the concepts of CHOICE, CONNECTEDNESS and CLARITY in the context of a team.
This workshop addresses the core criteria and requirements for establishing, building and maintaining powerful teams. Participants gain clarity on what they need to give or contribute towards the team’s causes and objectives. They also learn about team member qualities that cultivate collaborative rather than competitive team interactions.
The workshop had a significant impact on the teams and on how people connected with one another. A spirit of both courage and generosity started to develop in the teams. For trust to develop in an organisation, people have to get to know each other. They have to engage with the intent to give – which sometimes requires being generous and other times requires being courageous. Giving appropriately, in this way, asks people to suspend their own interests for the interests of the team and the organisation.
Some comments from participants:
The intention of the Pinewood Grow to Care intervention was to enable direct contributors at the front line of the business to be even better – both in terms of their own personal strength, and consequently in delivering excellence to customers and colleagues.
The quote below from a senior manager at Pinewood gives a clear sense that these objectives were achieved, and that Pinewood as an organisation has also benefitted.
“Grow to Care has enabled our staff to grow closer to each other, while also thinking outside the box on how they can support their teams, managers and the company. Our staff had 5 sessions with Stefaan, but I will always remember the first session where a lot of our staff came out of the session very emotional. I thought I made the biggest mistake, however my staff came to me thanking me for getting Stefaan out because they’ve never felt this close to their direct and other teams. We could immediately see the difference in interactions and the positive impact on how our staff approached each other. Grow to Care challenges our staff to be a better, stronger and more powerful team”.
Perhaps the best summary was provided by one of the participants midway through the intervention: “(Grow to Care) brought teams and employees closer together. It allowed us to speak out and either to vent or complement where we feel it’s appropriate. It assured each of us that we are one team, and really brought all staff closer. We now rethink the “why” we come to work for, our intent to work. It made us relook and rethink how we can be better and improve ourselves and our intent in life.”
An essential part of the Grow to Care process is the Generous and Courageous Giving Assessment.
We did this survey to provide insights into additional areas of development. This subjective assessment with the participants revealed the importance of both generous and courageous giving. Pinewood staff are clearly committed to their organisation and also to their customers. They also realized that courageous giving and holding each other accountable is where work was needed.