Tag Archives: meeting

Ecopolicy game – Coaching at performance review meetings

Ecopolicy game

Ecopolicy game

In June we did the Ecopolicy game as an exercise for coaching at performance review meetings (or also: steering meetings).

The game was done in two phases and the goal was:

  1. To lead or attend a performance review meeting and have a similar experience like the management of your organization has each week, month, quarter, …
  2. To coach an attendee of the performance review meeting and practice your coaching skills.

Game contents

You and your team are the leaders of Cybernetia, a cyber state that needs a government to survive. Politics, production, environmental stress, quality of life, education and population are the measured sectors of human life and are expressed in KPIs. In the game these KPIs are all interlinked in such a way by mathematical relations that each decision results in a chain of effects and repercussions just like in real life.

Lead or attend a performance review meeting

In a 20 minute long performance review meeting the ambassador decides together with his 5 ministers on the policy of Cybernetia. Some and certainly not all KPIs are under the influence of the government.

You get 5 attempts of 20 minutes to lead your nation, Cybernetia. In one session, the goal is to take at least 12 decisions in up/down grading the KPIs which you can influence.

If the quality of life for your population is getting worse, your population will question your policy. When it escalates, the population does a coup d’etat and you loose.

What did I learn as board member?

In the first round I was the ambassador of Cybernetia and together with the board, we determined the policy.

  • A performance review meeting can be very stressful! The first round went almost completely to trying to understand the tool.
  • When all board members are coached individually you see strange behavior and changes in behavior between the board meetings.
  • Because you are also coached individually, the board sees your behavior changes and reacts on it.
  • Group dynamics are always happening. I repeat: group dynamics are always happening! Even if the team work moments are very short, the group will go through the forming, storming, norming and performing stages. Be aware of it.
  • After each performance review meeting there is a recap session. Use it as ambassador to give feedback on people behavior. But don’t wait to the recap session if the behavior is not acceptable during the PRM.
  • Use your dashboard. Look at the facts. When emotions take over, our rationality stays behind.
  • It is not needed as team leader to know all the details.
  • It is not needed as team leader to facilitate the discussion. If somebody else is better, let him do it.
  • It is needed as team leader to take decisions based on uncertain elements.

What did I learn as coach?

In the second round I was the coach of a minister of Cybernetia. I watched my coachees behavior, the group interaction and the process.

  • Write down facts and observations, not interpretations. Interpretations are assumptions that you have the right answer.
  • Coaching on behavior and facts is a hard job. You need to be observing and writing at top speed to get everything right.
  • Giving feedback is not always easy. You coachee can go in resistance. Use a much facts as possible. Pick your battles.
  • Try to ask questions during feedback talks. Challenge, but try to understand. Why did he do that? Did it have the wanted result? What could have gone better?
  • If your coachee doesn’t do anything, he still doing something! Don’t fall in sleep when your coachee remains below the radar. Why is he doing so? What does his body language see? How is the group interaction?
  • Observe the process of decision making.
  • After the coaching talk, make a summary. What is the most important thing he learned? What will he do different next time?

More information on the game



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The inventor


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The time and place to coach

How would you coach your coachee during a performance review meeting?
I was taught to observe the PRM, take factual notes, record the interaction and participation.
With this feedback, and effect it had on me, i plan a feedback talk with the coachee after the meeting.

This approach has following advantages:

  • I have the time to overview the notes I made and compose the feedback talk (read: pick my battles).
  • There is more time to give feedback.
  • My coachee has the time to reflect on the meeting himself.
  • I can give the feedback in a personal coaching moment instead of in front of all participants.
  • I will never be in the position were I put the coachee for a block, which has advantges for both of us.

This time however, my coachee insisted that I would give feedback during the meeting and also interrupt the process when I found it was running not at it’s best.
So suddenly my mandate changed from coach to process intervener and I was about to be pushed out of my comfort zone.

The coach during the game

Immediate feedback during the game

Immediate feedback during the game

We use the analogy of the coach at a soccer game a lot, so let’s take a look at it.
The coach here doesn’t wait with giving feedback. He’s all involved during the game: coaching, intervening, supporting, …
Imagine the effect of coaching only after the facts: it would be far less effective.

But there stays use for coaching after the game too and that’s what we also see with soccer. The players and coach look at the video images of last match and see what went well and what could go better. They use this information to improve upon themselves to play a better match next time.

I guess there’s no silver bullet here too.
You can combine both types of coaching: during and after the game.

Make sure you get the mandate for coaching during the game.
The referee might kick you out.

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Lead your team to success with daily huddles

Daily huddles, scrums or stand-ups are means of short interval control meetings. The goal is to line up with the team and set short term focus.

Typically following questions are asked:

  1. What did you do yesterday?
  2. What will you do today?
  3. Are there any impediments in your way? 

When introducing daily huddles in teams we see the team running through the honeymoon curve in most cases. In the beginning there is some resistance and team members are reluctant to share. When the team gets more used to it they start to see the advantages and in a later phase the team is actually requesting to do them.

I was watching the movie “Any Given Sunday” last week, so let’s compare it with an American football (rugby) team. The football team, the Miami Sharks, has short and long term goals and a strategy for achieving them. The short term goal is to win to match. The long term goal is to get to (and win) the Super Bowl.


Set short term strategy

Let’s look at the short term for now: winning the match. To know if the team is on track for winning the match, a scoreboard is used. The scoreboard is available for display for whole the team, including the coach, the manager and the spectators. There is no doubt about the score: it’s there and it’s real. (For more about team score boards, see “From team planboard to team scoreboard”)

Before the game, the coach (Al Pacino) calls the team together, discusses the game strategy and gives a motivational speech. This way, every single member of the team knows its place and the technique to apply at the field. The motivational speech acts as team pep talk.

The discussion about the game strategy can be compared with a weekly team meeting.

Attune short term strategy to new information

During the game, the team uses a certain strategy, tactics, to get to the short term goal (winning the match). The team strategy discussed before the game can change during the game. The short term goal remains, but the “how” is attuned to game and opponent specifics.

Here we can see these huddles in real live: before a new offense, the coach lines up with a representative high up in the tower which has an overview on the field. Further, the coach discusses with his quarterback  (Jamie Foxx) the plan for the next offence. The quarterback then gets the team together and explains the next steps.

Because the team trusts their quarterback, they commit to the action plan and go for it. When in doubt, they have only seconds to discuss, agree and commit again. There is no time for long talks or unproductive discussions.

This is the essence of the huddles:

  • Keep the end (target/goal) in mind.
  • Attune short term strategy with day to day updates.
  • Hold only short discussions and discuss the essence.
  • Set focus: trust, discuss, agree and commit.
  • Go for it!

The offence huddles can be compared with a daily team huddle.

Attune long term strategy after short term results and evaluation

After the match, the team and coach do a retrospective and watch the match again and again. What worked well? What could go better? Which should be the focus

With this information they can attune their long term strategy for getting to the Super Bowl.

The after game retrospective can be compared with release evaluations and strategic planning meetings.

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