How Sicora Consulting Pivoted in 2020
The last year has required patience, agility, and resiliency in levels many of us haven’t encountered before. Our lives and businesses were turned upside-down, and the world was plagued with unknowns. But if there was one positive result, it’s that the global community collectively had the opportunity to reflect and adjust. If your business is anything like ours, you may be finding that some of the changes you’ve had to make are valuable and worth maintaining as we all re-right the ship.
At Sicora Consulting (SCI), we used the last year to redirect as needed to better align with our purpose. We followed some of our own frameworks that we work through with clients to guide us through, and we learned a lot about making intentional space for continuous improvement. An organization does not need a “crucible moment” (a transformative experience that forces you to grow in order to remain relevant) to change what isn’t working. It just needs to make the time to reflect and choose a strategic direction anchored in purpose. Knowing who you are as an organization, what you stand for, and what you can do or learn to do can help navigate any rough waters ahead.
Navigating Rough Waters
Like many organizations, SCI began 2020 by looking at our business strategy and planning for the year. We were excited to expand our organization and grow our Crew, increasing our bandwidth to work with our clients through their organization development needs. We anticipated some growing pains as we transitioned from a small business featuring Dr. Sicora to a global consultancy that has expanded the reach of our Crew. What we didn’t anticipate was a global health crisis that would shut down businesses around the world for weeks or even months.
Organizations everywhere were in “survival mode,” and SCI was no exception. We found ways to work remotely and offered virtual facilitations when we could, but the whole world was shifting and pausing.
We took the opportunity to focus on internal needs that often get pushed to the backburner. Through March and April, we refreshed our brand, updated our website, and invested in marketing, and we waited for the world to return to normal.
Then in May, the death of George Floyd rocked our hometown of Minneapolis and reverberated through the country and world. It was not the time for us to be pushing out extensive marketing campaigns when the country was having much more important conversations. We knew it was time to take a step back and reflect on our personal and organizational values and purpose.
Leading with Purpose
Having the breathing space that resulted from Covid-19 gave us time to write our book on the organizational helm, as we had long planned to do. However, we saw in the civil unrest that unfolded in the summer of 2020 that the power of purpose needed attention. We knew that with everything happening in the world – seemingly all at once – individuals needed to consider their own purpose and development. Thus, we began with Grab the Helm, which illustrates the individual helm. We explored the powerful role of purpose in our individual lives and how that sense of purpose and shared passion translated to our Crew as a whole and our organization. In a sense, we ran our own pilot program for the Grab the Helm cohorts we offer, working together through the eight spokes of the individual helm and gaining a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other. (As a side note, we have since began our second book on the organizational helm and a book aimed at guiding high school students through an exploration of their sense of purpose. Stay tuned!)
One practice we began that we continue a year later is to take more time to check in on each other as people. During our Crew meetings, we begin by asking how everyone’s weekend was or week is going, how they’re feeling, and what they’re looking forward to, leaning on support, care, and developing a stronger sense of belonging. In short, we focus on the connection that we already know is so valuable to organizational effectiveness and that is so valuable to each of us as humans.
We also took the 4 Colors of Insights assessment to better understand our own and each other’s motivating factors and how we work in both good circumstances and under stress. Discussing our leading color energies and how we best interact with others and the world allowed us to better connect with each other on a personal level.
On an organizational level, through this period of discovery we confirmed our organizational values: trust, engagement, and impact. We also solidified our brand purpose:
Sicora Consulting exists to help people take command of their purpose, career, leadership, organization, life.
With a renewed sense of purpose, we were able to determine that our strategy was still sound, but we needed to adjust our capabilities to help our clients. This meant finding effective ways to virtually facilitate programs so we could still foster connection and communication. We invested in the tools necessary to allow for whiteboarding, breakout sessions, and inclusive discussion to bring teams together even while they were physically apart. We continue to adjust our capabilities to serve organizations returning to the workplace or opting for hybrid models indefinitely with our Navigating Team Effectiveness program.
Finally, we continue to keep a pulse on the 8 Factors of Engagement within our own organization. If the Helm is the steady wheel, the 8 Factors of Engagement is a foundational piece. We understand the value of a fully engaged employee base, and we know our Crew is stronger when we’re all invested and working together toward our shared purpose. The 8 Factors of Engagement, combined with our organizational values, provide the weighted keel that keeps our ship upright.
We are excited to help our clients take command of their own organizations, especially now that we have gone through the process for ourselves. The time we took to reflect and shift influenced our strategic direction.
Charting a Course
Setting a business strategy is an important way to focus your offerings and deliver value, but we believe it is much more than that. Your strategy is a set of choices and trade-offs about where your organization will invest, compete, and win – over a specific timeframe – in order to achieve your mission and vision. Understanding your purpose helps you make those decisions, especially during turbulent times. When the world around you tries to knock you off-course, your purpose can guide you to make decisions that align with where your organization wants to be.
This is why the strategic planning process within the Leading from the Helm model is truly invaluable. It’s the discussion and debate involving all of the different perspectives within your leadership team and organization as a whole that steers you in the ideal direction for your business. Without making time for the difficult discussions, and without understanding the strengths, weaknesses, passions, and purposes of those within your organization, you miss perspectives that can impact the execution of your strategy and overall employee engagement.
Further, maintaining a purposeful culture of trust that is strategically aligned to the goals of the organization provides clarity on which adjustments your organization needs to make to create a more cohesive, results-oriented culture. We know that a culture built on trust fosters productivity, engagement, and alignment with strategy promotes business results.
We used the time we were given by external factors to work through who we are and who we want to be, as well as to build trust within our organization, but you can create that space with intention. You can make the time to reflect as an organization and decide whether you need to adjust your strategy or capabilities to better align with your shared purpose.
We’re here to help you through that process. Contact us for a free pulse on how your team views the effectiveness of your organizational Helm.