In our most recent Engagement blogs, we’ve outlined the challenge and opportunity to improve engagement of employees within organizations. We’ve highlighted the common organizational engagement solutions and their limited success. We’ve also outlined the People Acuity approach, how it differs from traditional approaches and the results it generates. Let us now share a case in point. This is an example of an organization that took the principles of People Acuity, applied them to their company, leaders and employees, and the increased engagement they created (amongst other great results).
The story begins at C&M Ford in Hallock, Minnesota. C&M Ford is a full service dealership led by owner Paul Blomquist.
Paul knew he had a good team working for him. Sales were reasonable and the dealership was mostly a pleasant place to work. But after a meeting with a group of People Acuity Strategists and evaluating his organization, he began to wonder if there could be more: more collaboration between divisions and among individuals, and more engagement for staff. In the end, he had learned that attending to these foundations would also lead to more satisfaction for customers and to increased sales, service and overall growth.
Paul turned to People Acuity for help and he received it. In the hands-on, participatory experiences, his staff learned about interdependence, energizing through strengths, and engaging through purpose. Blomquist also gained from the experience. He knew that he had taken on too much of the leadership of C&M, and that his over-responsibility was disempowering others and preventing their growth. He wanted to identify more leaders in his organization and to trust them with responsibilities. This would enrich the lives of everyone and would help assure continuity at C & M through leadership changes.
Success Profile: C & M Ford, Hallock, Minnesota1
After their first year using a People Acuity/ Strengths Strategy approach, the team created these impressive results:
- Sales: Tripled at one store, up 20 percent at another.
- Employee Engagement: Increased by 14 percent.
- Customer Satisfaction: Increased to 96 percent.
- Ford Company Status: Moved to top 5 percent of similar-sized dealerships.
Time Share/Team Share
One of the challenges for C & M was that staff members tended to work as individuals rather than as teams. The prevailing feeling was that if you wanted to save time, you did it yourself. While the jobs did get done, the human cost was in energy and burnout. Josh Whitlock, Finance and Insurance Manager said that People Acuity allowed him to experience the growth of trust with his co-workers. This led to a new understanding about the way he approached his work: he found that seeing his own potential and the potential of others more accurately actually improved his use of time—and that when he relied on others, both the energy and the performance of the entire organization improved. His engagement and that of those around him increased.
The C & M leadership team evolved dramatically through the Discovery process. As staff learned to trust each other more, they became more open to each other’s ideas. This allowed them to align roles based on strengths, and to lean into each other when they felt vulnerable or weak. And it significantly contributed to their ability to find solutions to some of their most difficult challenges, including time allocation, perpetual relationship challenges, and collaborative project management. As individuals working next to each other became engaged in sophisticated team work, the sense of C & M as a community increased. “We always cared about each other,” said Mona Dietrich, Business Manager, “but this experience deepened our ability to work together in new and different ways.” She learned the many ways that people backed her up, both in her work and in her relationships with them.
That sense of community and cooperation internally has significantly impacted the external customer experience, which, says Whitlock, begins when customers are treated like family, whether they are new customers or old-timers. “Anyone walking in the door is greeted and welcomed; everyone is respected as a neighbor.” The harmonious working relationships internally have freed up the staff’s energy and attention to creating a stronger experience for the customers who come through the door.
Quantifiable Bottom-line Results
People Acuity is not a quick-fix/one-workshop program, but it is a process of creating steady, lasting transformation which leads to sustainable results. The message is simple, clear and concrete: staff learn about their own and other’s strengths and weaknesses, and are given the tools to handle the realities of both. The direction for change does not come from People Acuity, but from within the organization, and is thus closely connected to the insights and goals of individuals and of the business. In addition, changes are experienced and quantified along the way, leading to integrated and sustained discovery that is both successful and long-term. After working with People Acuity, C&M sales tripled at one store and rose by 20 percent at the other. Overall, employee engagement grew by 14 percent and customer satisfaction numbers grew to 96 percent, placing C&M in the top five percent of similar-sized Ford dealerships.
Blomquist is, of course, happy with these bottom-line results, but he has also realized that “success is sometimes defined by how engaged people are in the process.” He knows that figuring out a situation together brings a team closer together. Individuals become more engaged and it shows.
1 – from a case study written by Susan Hauser, PhD
For more detail and additional results at C&M Ford, download the full case study at http://peopleacuity.wpengine.com/organization-development-path/ Scroll to the bottom of the page and request the full case study. You can also request our Sunrise Banks Case Study from the same page.
For a free consultation with one of our strategists to discuss creating these great results in your organization, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: this blog was edited by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs, the People Acuity thought leader team.