evaluated the results of the initial training program in coaching, we were disappointed. Some people 'got it' and some people didn't. Some people treated the training as “nice to know.” They could clearly see that others needed the training, but they did not always see why they needed it. The transfer of coaching skills into the expected way of conducting day-to-day business was very much hit-or-miss. We concluded that there were a number of other spokes in the wheel that we needed to put into place first before coaching would catch on and “take.”
Dr. Myszkowski: What were some of these other spokes?
First the senior management team needed to buy into the need and drive the coaching. We met with them individually and as a group and discovered that there was not a lot of talent management occurring in a systematic way. People were more focused on their short term outcome numbers than what we were doing to develop our people over time. If it was not happening at that level, why would we expect it to be happening anywhere else? The leadership team quickly recognized this and decided that development and talent management was a critical success factor for our growth —and it needed to start with them. Our mission and values statement states that we are a learning organization and a caring organization.
When Paul O'Neil came to Atlantis as the President/ Managing Director of Kerzner International Bahamas, he recognized the need to aggressively develop our people. Paul knew that Atlantis University would be one of the major vehicles we could use to bring about strategic alignment among the senior leadership team as well as train managers in behaviors that would create the culture of learning he so desired.
We also tied accountability to improving our employee (ESI) and guest satisfaction surveys index results (GSI) and other performance indicators. Where low scores or gaps were identified, managers now needed to have action plans in place and show progress in implementing them as well as show measurable improvement in their personal and departmental performance. We incentivized specific improvements - tied it to performance and their pay.
We designed and implemented a 360° feedback survey process for all of our managers and supervisors. The results typically showed that they had developmental needs as managers. Combined with the ESI and GSI results, the need for continued development for many of these managers was now undeniable.
We also revised our leadership competency model and our performance planning and appraisal system to include a requirement for coaching. If you don't measure and reward behavior, it will not change.
And perhaps the other key spoke in the wheel was an emerging process where we began to identify our talent pool - people we thought had the potential to grow, develop, and advance within Atlantis, and eventually Kerzner International itself. We started to identify our star employees and began to formally connect them with designated “Mentors.' Now, with Phase III almost complete, we are beginning to identify our 'A' players. We intend to begin with 12 to 20 employees - starting with Atlantis in the Bahamas. This would be a fast-track approach to developing a small group of our very best talent. Their development would include involvement in stretch projects and assignments and maybe even relocating to other Kezner properties, internationally, to get exposure to all facets of the business. This will be a very visible program so others will want to aspire to become part of it.
Dr. Myszkowski: Where did 'effective coaching' fit in as these spokes were assembled and implemented?