GTP20: To grow resilience, create a line of sight

CIPD Birmingham/Valuing You

This blog post has been produced for the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce as part of the 2020 Growth Through People campaign.

Growth Through People is the Chamber’s annual campaign aiming to help local firms boost productivity and grow through improved leadership and people management skills. In 2020 this involves 8 free workshops taking place between 2nd March and 27th March, culminating in a full-day Growth Through People conference on 2nd April. In addition, throughout the campaign the Chambers will be publishing thought leadership podcasts, videos and blog content such as this.

Thanks to our Headline Sponsors – Prime Accountants Group, Aston University, Curium Solutions and CIPD - all workshops are free to attend. Interested readers can find out more and register to attend Growth Through People workshops here, and the Growth Through People conference here.

Why resilience?

Resilience describes the ability of an individual or a business to recover quickly from difficulties.

(It does not mean that a business or individual doesn’t experience difficulties or distress.)

In times of seismic change, the greatest learning can be gained.  With the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in sight, the Internet of Things (IoT) introducing breath taking advancement 24/7, Digitisation where data collection, analysis, application (and resale) is key, with Brexit ahead and the global impact of Coronavirus unknown  ……… now is the time to understand what is happening both inside and outside your business and to be sure that each and every person in your business knows how to respond in times of certainty.

Before reading any further:

Stand up in an area where you can move freely, without danger. Cover your eyes. Turn around slowly 3 to 4 times. Without opening your eyes, point to the nearest car park. 

Open your eyes. How disoriented do you feel? How accurate is your finger pointing? 

Without clear direction and understanding of what is expected of them, your people will keep working on what they think is the right thing to do at work each and every day. Without clear expectations of them, they don’t know what success looks like for them or for the business, they rarely experience a sense of achievement.

Their resilience is low. 

The business resilience is low.

Clarity of purpose

A vision statement, a clear sense of business purpose that is shared with, and understaood by your people is key to your Line of Sight. Combined with a powerful brand that is underpinned by core values, everyone who interacts with your business has clear expectations about your product and services.

Congratulations, you are developing the first phase of your Line of Sight.  Now define the strategic goals, the business strategy and a plan to achieve both.

Develop a dash board, a simple and effective way, using red, amber, green to regularly share business results. 

Tip: Don’t keep the dash board results secret or you may as well blindfold your staff when they arrive at work!! Be sure to communicate business results widely, at least monthly. Recognise individual and collective success.  Share mitigating actions for the next month and quarter to provide focus and clarity for all to prioritise. 

Individual and business resilience:

Gaining commitment and accountability from Executives, Managers and throughout the business requires investment in face to face communication and involvement. 

The Line of Sight depicts how this can be achieved – see picture above.

Looking from left to right, every member of staff should understand what is expected of them at work. Every person should be able to identify how their individual objectives contribute to the achievement of their team and Department objectives and ultimately the business vision/ purpose, strategic goals and customer experience. 

Looking from right to left, this is best achieved by starting with a workshop at Executive level to populate the dash board.  Workshops then flow through the reporting line, Senior Managers working with their Executives, then Managers working with their Senior Manager followed by team workshops. 

The aim of these workshops is to share and develop commitment to the vision, the dash board and to identify how collectively and individually everyone in the business contributes to business success.

Resilience through regular 1to1 progress reviews:

Every person within the business now understands what is expected of them and has agreed clear objectives with their line manager, based on their role, their expertise, their capabilities, their career aspirations, their behaviours and how they contribute.

Tip: Objectives must be both What (actions) and How (behaviour and attitude).  It is behaviours, aligned to the values and culture, that can have the most significant impact on productivity, individual and business wide resilience and performance. A development plan is agreed based on skills, career progression and behavioural changes identified.

Tip: This is not an (bi) annual activity! Every manager, no matter how busy they are, should be having a 1to1 with each team member at least once a month. Why is it that managers are often too busy to invest their time in their people, but always have time to fix things when they go wrong?

Each manager needs to invest in their most important asset to better understand: how is their home life; how are they progressing; recognise their achievements, remove barriers to progress; identify and agree development; explore and agree focus for next month; flex, adapt, stop existing objectives or introduce a new objective.  The manager should also seek feedback about their own role and style and share the best practice identified in these reviews.

Tip: Be sure to write up the feedback given and received plus actions agreed. Refer to these when starting your next progress meeting.

SMART objective setting:

Objectives and goals should be developed and agreed, using the SMART acronym.  Each objective should be able to answer the following:

Specific – what specifically is expected of me/us?

Measurable – describe what success looks like?

Achievable – do we/I have the appropriate skills and expertise?

Relevant – how does this help us achieve our vision and goals?

Timely – when does it need to be achieved by?

Here is an example: Define and develop a plan to imbed the business culture required to achieve our vision. This should achieve a 15% increase in employee engagement and customer satisfaction within 20 months.

Keen to explore further?  Then please do contact us at

Fiona is a an active committee member for the local CIPD Birmingham Branch. She is the Founder of the Greater Birmingham Engage for Success Network. Her passion, belief and expertise is in culture change - inspiring, energising and embedding personal & business wide transformation, for the benefit of all.

How valuing YOU can add value to your bottom line:

  • Executive Team Productivity: 49% improvement, based on Patrick Lencioni’s definition of a Cohesive Team.  Focusing on Five Behaviours created the catalyst to progress business wide culture change that is now being planned.
  • HR Department Productivity: using valuingYOU change model, Explore, Energise, Transform, Embed, response increased by 70% (from 4.7 – 8.0) when asked “we have the culture in HR to role model and succeed to deliver Strategy”.

Fiona Anderson 
CIPD Birmingham/Valuing You