We started working with K2 in 2008. At the time, one of my colleagues and I were managing groups of a couple of hundred each, but were wondering why we weren’t getting better results. We resolved to do something about it, and it just so happened that K2 were working with AXA at the time; it was almost a happy coincidence.
The first thing they helped us with was solving our own problems. They didn’t tell us what to do, or pretend to know about our business – they brought really good insights about the dynamics of performance in teams using analogies that brought it to life. They were very good at challenging us, and not afraid to ask really tough questions.
The most overwhelming component was our focus. In business, you can become very output focused and use that as the starting point, rather than thinking about the input. But if you have the right input, the results will look after themselves. We learnt to give more autonomy to the staff, and let them determine how to do what they needed to, as opposed to telling them what to do on a daily basis, and we got some really good insight into where we performed especially well. They proved to us that we were really obsessed with some of the areas in the business, and those areas were where we did a really good job, and they taught us how to channel that into improving performance in individuals and teams.
Typically in business, you focus on where you’re weak. They encouraged us to look at our strengths, and think about how we could improve on them; how we could best utilise our strengths to be great, rather than focusing on the areas where we weren’t so good. People get energised and excited by the successes they can see, and the way we’ve done it has given it sustainability. A lot of the things we did are still embedded – we still use the tools and techniques.
Without exception, all the coaches are absolutely fabulous. They don’t pretend to know how to run our business – or even try – they’re just here to help you work out what you’re going to do.