Leaders, your real job is to help your people be better!

Jun 19, 2019 | By Daniel Spitty

Building a high performance and Happy:) culture, this was the title of the slide deck presented by Isaac Mann, Director of Engineering at HappyCo, at his company's retreat in the USA in November last year. And I love it!

The reason is it perfectly describes the epiphany I personally experienced last year as a leader of my team. Some describe it as the 'Aha' moment, but more on that later...

Isaac is based in Adelaide, Australia and is often seen jet-setting across the Pacific to HappyCo's other headquarters based in San Francisco. He leads a diverse, dynamic and globally distributed team of 12, delivering best in class property inspection solutions that is stacking up some really impressive metrics, like over 3.5M inspections and 122M photos taken, and a growing customer base which now includes AirBnB.

Behind the scenes, he has an equally impressive passion and drive for his team to succeed. What struck me most was the formulas (of course, he is an Engineer by trade!) he used to measure two very topical and popular people themes relating to the workplace; Happiness and Satisfaction.

Happiness = reality - expectations
Satisfaction = impact + personal growth + remuneration + workLIFE balance

Both of these formulas were born from both his internal drive and from the broader perspective of 'how do we help people succeed in their role?' and 'what causes people to leave?'

This was great knowledge to start with, but as Isaac would attest, it was only knowledge. He needed to transfer and apply this to the practical, busy, unrelenting and evolving world of reality to put it to the test and to translate this to results. His steps to implement were based on 3 key principles he wanted to uphold as a leader:

  • Be proactive, provide clarity and maintain personal relationships
  • Evidence based approach
  • A framework and a product to make it easy
My job is to make my people more able to do their job better!

Together with the team at Everperform, we carefully crafted the suitable 'evidence based' measurements which would support the data needed for Isaac to know whether the team were satisfied and happy well ahead of any 'surprises.' We were all too happy to provide the framework and product to make it easy, and the results told the story themselves.

We had a 33% increase in our team's view that we are working on the most important tasks. This is a lead indicator to both satisfaction and happiness.
In the same time period, we had an 86% increase in our key Team KPI; productivity.

So back to my epiphany, Isaac's journey has been one that made me reflect on my own leadership style and success. What was working for him that I could learn from and improve? And then it hit me square in the face; the need for leadership and management to be a delicate balance of hard and soft metrics, balancing your focus between inputs and outputs of your team, and measuring both leading and lagging indicators and the relationship between them. There is a lot in that, but the main piece that was missing for me was the balance between the hard and soft metrics. As Isaac's Satisfaction formula includes, impact was missing from many of my conversations with my people. It made me ask myself, do my team really know how they are performing, and the impact they are making to the team, the company, and our customers?

Well, in this case, Isaac made it easy for the team to see it!

And the beauty is, that this is just the start for Isaac and his team, his plan is now to use Everperform to help measure personal ownership, team influence and capabilities as well as creating meaningful and evidence based development goals to enable better coaching conversations. And we can't wait to watch his team's success as a result!

Read more about Isaac, including him with his favourite instrument 'the whiteboard' in this article.