In 2002 Matteo Harvard experienced a life changing event. He suffered horrific injuries in a car crash. He was left partially disabled and severely traumatised. After months of surgery and a year of rehabilitation he thought he was well enough to return to his job as an architect with a small firm. His return to work proved both mentally and physically challenging. Moving about required a walking stick. He found the office hours exhausting and the work he used to love felt draining and stressful. His ability to perform complex cognitive tasks and to focus were severely diminished, his mind continually fluttering between the demands of work, the crash, and his wife Cristina and young daughter Bella.
With support from family and friends he discovered several different opportunities to recover his energy levels, regain his love for designing schools, hospitals, and high-rise buildings and to achieve higher levels of focus, especially on complex cognitive tasks.
It took time and discipline but he was able to become his best self and as a result he was able to do his best work, winning awards and the admiration of his colleagues.
Ten years later and the architectural practice had grown significantly. As it grew so the once tight knit community that had always considered itself a family was showing signs of distress. The culture had become toxic, productivity had fallen, innovation and creativity were sporadic, absenteeism had increased, and, apart from the occasional awards that Matteo won, the firm’s trophy cabinet was bare. Customers were leaving in droves and profits were in the red. The future looked grim.
Eventually, in despair, the owners of the business turned to Matteo.
‘What’s your secret?’ they asked. ‘You are the most productive, innovative, creative, focused and healthy person in our business. You do your best work for us, your customers love you and what you do, and always come back for more. How can we help our people to be more like you?’
‘I may not be the best,’ Matteo said to his bosses, ‘but I can be my best. Several years ago, I discovered some opportunities that helped me to be my best self so that I could do my best work.’
When Matteo shared his secrets with the company owners they were sceptical. But Matteo was convinced.
‘I can help my colleagues become their best selves so that they can do their best work,’ he said.
‘And then our customers will love everyone’s work as much as they love your work?’ his bosses asked.
Matteo nodded. ‘Let me be the champion in our business of those opportunities I discovered. I have most of the skills but I would need to develop some new skills. Then I will be able to go and help others in our business to become their best selves so they can do their best work.’
‘Once I have helped some people I will gather their stories and data so that I can spread the news of their success and persuade others to take up the opportunities that they feel will work for their unique circumstances.’
His bosses agreed to the pilot project. Matteo found five volunteers for his initial programme. Within three weeks all his volunteers were already reporting that they had become healthier, more focussed, more creative, more productive, more innovative, better able to deal with stress, better able to work with and communicate with colleagues and customers. They also reported that they were feeling more confident about the business and its leaders. They felt that they were on a journey to becoming better people at work, home and in their communities and that the quality of their work was improving.
Over time, as Matteo gathered more and more success stories and data, he persuaded more and more people to embrace the opportunities he felt so passionate about. As more people joined Matteo on a journey to being their best selves, so the business’s culture become more purposeful, communication and teamwork blossomed, productivity took off, innovation and creativity soared, absenteeism declined, and the trophy cabinet started to sparkle and shine. New clients were gained and existing clients retained. The business returned to profit.
Matteo was made a partner. And wore a tie to work. Just for one day.
Matteo was not aware of it but what he had developed would become known as the ‘Framework of Champions©’.
Matteo’s simple process has also been used in many businesses like Google, Blackrock and SAP as a way to help their people to be their best. And those employees and their organisations are celebrating the results. And those businesses have had such great success that they are now helping to improve their supply chains and win greater customer successes by helping the employees of their customers and suppliers to be their best.
Many successful businesses have found that people want to be their best selves, so they can do their best work. And those businesses are using processes like the Framework of Champions© to help their people achieve incredible personal, customer and business success. As a result, more people in their organisations are their best selves, able to do their best work, enjoying a better employee experience and a great place to work.
For example, SAP, the German software and cloud giant has boasted a 200% return on investment, and a rise in employee engagement and a fall in absenteeism. Employee stress, well-being and “change agility” improved by about 10% in just four weeks. All this from just one simple opportunity.
BlackRock claims that helping people to be their best selves, just through one simple opportunity produced the following:
91% believe it positively adds to the culture
88% would recommend it to a colleague
66% experience less stress or are better able to manage stress
63% are better able to manage themselves at work
60% experienced increased focus, mental resilience, and better decision-making
52% better manage relationships with peers at work
46% experience increased innovation and creativity
Korn Ferry found that businesses that embraced another simple opportunity enjoyed annual growth rates nearly 300% higher than the annual rate in their competitive sector. 300%!
The Framework of Champions© is a simple process. Its value lies in that it is:
1. Easy to use
2. Easy to replicate
3. Ensures that important capabilities are nurtured and sustained in house
7. Is low cost, with a high return on investment
The Framework of Champions©:
1. Opportunity Discovery
The organisation discovers Opportunities to help employees be their best.
When an Opportunity is discovered it is time to help the organisation’s leadership understand how the Opportunity will help employees be their best, so they can do their best work. Leadership should understand how this Opportunity will lead to significantly improved employee and business success, an improved ability to attract and retain quality employees and a workplace where everyone will thrive.
2. Champion Discovery
The organisation discovers a person to Champion the Opportunity to be a better self to others employees. It may be that an employee discovers an opportunity, has the required skills and volunteers to be the Champion. The organisation needs to have a system or culture, or both, that encourages people to put forward Opportunities and to volunteer to be Champions.
3. Champion Development
The Champion should set out the purpose and expected changes as a result of the Opportunity and have this agreed by the leaders of the organisation.
The Champion should set out the support, skills and training required for success. This will include how much time the Champion needs to dedicate to the Opportunity.
The Champion should create a program that meets the organisation’s specific needs and fits the organisation’s culture.
4. Let your Champion Go
Give the Champion the freedom to get on with the job. Autonomy is important for the Champion. Feedback is important for the organisation.
Test the opportunity with a small group of people and scale as required.
5. Refresh the Fascination
Constantly find and tell the stories that will fascinate others and keep the opportunity alive and growing. Gather and share research that demonstrates how the Opportunity can help people to be their best, so they can do their best work. Measure improvements in the employee experience, culture, productivity, quality, customer success and other valuable markers. Although the Champion plays a crucial role in sharing the details of the Opportunity’s success it is vital that the organisation’s leadership tells stories and encourages uptake of the benefits of the Opportunity.
Since his success Matteo has been engaged in helping some of his firm’s customers to enjoy the benefits of the Framework of Champions©. This has led to even greater customer success. One of Matteo’s colleagues and an early adopter of Matteo’s opportunities, Sebastien, has volunteered to help a local community organisation to benefit from the Framework of Champions© opportunities he found so valuable.
To this day Matteo still walks with the aid of a walking stick but he walks tall.
A version of this article previously appeared on iharmonizer.com where you can find a free guide to implementing the system Matteo used to help his business to better ways and better days. You can download Matteo’s free 22 page guide “How to help employees be their best, so they can do their best work” here.
The story of Matteo is based on real events. Names and details have been altered to protect privacy.
1 and 2 Esther Max (CC BY 4.0)
3 and 4 Pixabay
5 Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash
6 Alex on Unsplash
7 Max Ostrozhinskiy on Unsplash