In late May 2012, I had the opportunity to work with the CEO and President, Kevin Nagel, and the staff and management at Keyano College. Using KESA’s “Leading Above the Line” process, we reviewed Keyano’s Comprehensive Institutional Plan and established their commitment to keeping things above the line. There we used KESA’s performance management tools and processes to provide performance coaching for raising the accountability bar.

The two-day session utilized a variety of activities intended to bring the College staff, faculty, and management together to confirm key directions, organizational changes, and to build a greater sense of community.

I was supported by Ron Woodward, Head Coach, Clock Builder Consulting. His observation of the strategic planning session was insightful: “By engaging people in a variety of modes i.e. intellectually, emotionally and physically, they had the opportunity to reflect on how they can be both personally and collectively accountable for the success of Keyano College”.

Simple Performance Management Tools and Processes for Raising the Accountability Bar:

Use Relevant Metaphors to Provide Performance Coaching

The use of metaphors helps people connect to session themes and ultimately enlists their support for moving forward. For Keyano’s planning session, we used the metaphor of a canoe in calm waters to represent the past, and a white-water raft to represent the transportation of the future.

The raft illustrates that the change the College is undertaking will be, at times, tumultuous and confusing. With shared effort, i.e. all the paddles in the water, Keano will successfully navigate through the rapids of change.

Talk about Where the Organization is Headed and What It’s About to Raise Accountability Bar

People are willing to be accountable when they have a sense of where they’re going and why it’s important. The planning session provided numerous opportunities to both listen and respond to key institutional directions, changes in organizational roles and structure, as well as future intentions.

A key moment in the planning session occurred when a College staff explained the meaning of the word “Keyano” which is Cree for “Yours, Mine and Ours” and then expanded on the deeper meaning of collaboration, trust, and support. This explanation was key to what it means to work at Keyano College.

Invite Dialogue as a Performance Management Coaching Tool and Process to Make the Team Aware of Accountability

The two-day session was designed around deliberate efforts to invite participant interaction and dialogue related to Keano’s directions, goals, and outcomes. The dialogue was extended to other activities: A viewing of a TEDx video on change and culture was followed by questions that invited participants to reflect on the relevance of the information to Keyano College.

Make the Performance Coaching Process More Enjoyable with Team Building Games

Fun is a critical part of building shared accountability. The second part of the day was dedicated to a mix of fun team building events. These events allowed new relationships to develop as groups were formed from a variety of areas across the College.

As one participant put it, “I learned more about the College and its staff in the last 24 hours than in the previous 2 years!” Arising out of team activities were new levels of trust, which enhanced the mutual accountability required for high levels of organizational performance.

All the members of Keyano College needed to accept that building an “Above the Line” culture is an incremental process. While it was introduced a year ago, the theme was expanded upon at this session and will continue to require a firm resolve to see it through to its full integration in the culture of the organization.

How do you ensure your team is performing “Above the Line” during times of significant change? What performance management tools and processes will you enjoy in performance coaching to raise your teams’ accountability bar?