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Best-Self Management
5 Min Read

Podcast Recap: Leading Organizational Transformation

David Hassell
David Hassell, CEO of 15Five

In recent years, we’ve seen the employee engagement / performance management software market explode. Along the way, we’ve come to realize that success takes more than just providing people with the software tools they need. It’s education and training that makes the difference, and a deep commitment to organizational transformation.

Meaningful transformation only comes when deep and difficult work happens. So today, we’re talking with two of our employees who are helping other organizations train their managers to be far more effective:

Check out all the podcast episodes including the outstanding interview with HR industry analyst, Josh Bersin. Listen now!

15Five’s Vice President of Transform Coaching, Emily Diaz, and Senior Vice President of Customer Transformation, Jon Greenawalt, have decades of experience training teams in core professional competencies and guiding leaders to build successful organizations.

Organizational Transformation: The Future of People & Performance Management

What’s next in the world of organizational performance incorporates intuitive software, with transformational manager education and coaching. With this trifecta, employees and managers form new habits and skills that lead to high-performing and healthy organizations. Beyond managing performance, leaders can transform their teams in a way that results in lasting positive change.

Professional services are usually about helping companies succeed with a (software) product. These do provide help with how people use the software to improve their work and possibly even to contribute more. But that’s largely a transactional process. With 15Five Transform, managers and leaders are taken through a process where they permanently change their mindset and behaviors in order to thrive. 

This is often hard work. It begins with a desire to grow and from there, a thorough examination of old practices and mindsets. Hard truths will be confronted. People will stretch beyond the familiar. But in the end, when people realize that work can be a source of satisfaction and personal growth, they’ll build a better business environment.


The following is a transcribed and edited portion of the Best-Self Management Podcast Episode 26, Facilitating Transformation For Every Manager At Your Company w/ Emily Diaz & Jon Greenawalt.

David: So Manager Effectiveness… I’d love to just spend a few minutes talking about what that means. What are the things you’ve got to teach managers to be highly effective? And what are some of the counterintuitive things? I think it goes into what you were saying is that asking these questions, eliciting somebody’s passion, understanding that intersection of passion, strengths, and their Zone of Genius.

These are not the things taught in traditional management schools, which actually don’t really exist, frankly. And that’s why we created 15Five Transform. I’m curious from your guys’ perspective, what are some of the highest leverage things that you teach that you feel make a huge impact for a manager being highly effective in leading an extraordinary team?

Shane: And can you teach a little bit of that right now?

Emily: We have a tendency to think of these skills as soft skills. There’s this term in the business world and you want to hire people that are good at certain soft skills. And I was somebody who was just saying that the number four in demand, soft skills right now are creativity, persuasion, collaboration, and adaptability.

And what I think is interesting about this is that soft skills are really relational skills. And the old frame of management is one where a manager is a supervisor. They’re meant to extract outcomes and ensure that people are in compliance.

Now that doesn’t work today because in the workforce these days, there’s a lot of knowledge work. A lot of innovation, creativity, persuasion, and adaptability are a part of business. And the old manager doesn’t know how to tap into that. The new manager is a relational master. And when I discuss relational mastery, I’m not advocating that managers are just really friendly and get along fantastically with their employees. If it were that simple, all you would need to do is learn how to be a good buddy.

But there’s this balance. There’s a spectrum where you need to learn how to relate to your people in a way that still puts the responsibility of their own growth with them.

So this includes having regular conversations about progress, but also regular conversation about professional development and wellbeing. It’s this balance between creating an environment of trust so that I feel like I can come to you as a team member and share something that is really getting in my way.

And then also not trying to solve problems for your people. A lot of times the managers will get into this trap of feeling like they have to have all the answers. That’s actually antithetical to growth because if you want somebody to grow and develop as a team member, you need to encourage them to solve their own problems.

So Shane to your question around “How do you do this?”…

Teach managers, how to coach. Coaching is about creating the right space and asking the right questions. I think that we do this really well as a company. And what we’re seeing in the trainings that we’re leading around “Manager as Coach”, is that this is a light bulb that goes off when managers who maybe have never done this role in their lives, realize that they don’t have to have all the answers.

They don’t have to be experts, but there is a freedom in that, that encourages employees to rise up and take more ownership and accountability. And so those are the things that we really want to focus on and train for and get people to embody.

Photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash