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  • Case Study 4: Creating Community to Better Support the Community
Case Study 4: Creating Community to Better Support the Community

Michelle Rios, executive and organizational development coach, entered the scene at Centro Cultural during immense growing pains. Centro Cultural is a non-profit organization committed to supporting underserved communities. The organization had been through major leadership change and was in sore need of a morale boost, team development as well as clarity on organizational goals, reports Maria Caballero-Rubio, executive director. 

“We were so pleased Michelle was able to offer our team facilitation support at our staff retreat, where I hoped to build our strength as a team, really get clear on what we wanted as an organization and where we were headed in the years to come,” said Maria. 

The retreat began with one-on-one reviews of each individual’s Everything DiSC® Management profile. This program helps identify individual behavioral style and how it affects workplace relationships. After the team members got a clear view of their own styles, Michelle taught them how to better connect and work with the other leadership team members, and then how their personality assets supported the organization and its goals. 

Maria’s team left the retreat feeling closer, clear about how they could successfully communicate and clear about the organization’s mission, vision and direction.

From Retreat to Retainer

Maria was impressed and agreed to engage Michelle on an ongoing basis, to provide further and sustained improvement. She hired Michelle for a one-year retainer to provide valuable feedback through individual coaching and team development.

Michelle coached individual leaders in the organization and Maria noted even after one session she could see a difference in the leaders. 

“Michelle has a great way of listening, observing and then customizing her approach. There was never anything prescriptive, which set me at ease, knowing she really cared enough to provide such personal solutions,” said Maria. 

Nice is a four-letter word

A major source of opportunity was the ability to have productive conflict. Centro Cultural team members were “nice”. As a non-profit organization that helps people when they’re in need, the employees at Centro Cultural were not used to provoking conflict. They didn’t want to call out bad behavior for fear of hurting the person with the bad behavior. As a result, the team had stagnated to fake harmony and poor communication tactics. In the end, this was driving a lot of the negative feelings between team members and reducing the success of the organization.

“Michelle approached this issue with level objectivity, providing feedback in a way that always made us feel safe and supported, yet challenged,” said Maria. Michelle guided Maria to discover that avoiding conflict not only didn’t serve the organization, but also didn’t provide opportunity to the individual to grow through the challenge. “Being nice turned out to be not nice at all!” To get a better understanding on the best communication practices, Maria agreed to participate with her team in The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive TeamTM. The program, based on Patrick Lencioni’s bestselling book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, guides the individual leaders to evaluate their own performance on the five behaviors; learn about themselves and each other with the help of Everything DiSC®; and learn to use their new understanding to forge a strong, cohesive team.

Equal Distribution of Contribution

“The training transformed our organization,” said Maria. “We started the process ready for a growth opportunity, and we were not disappointed.” The change process wasn’t easy. The team went through the discomfort of breaking old patterns of leadership which dictated leaders must know all the answers all the time, and shoulder all the responsibility. In the new way of thinking, presented by Michelle, responsibility is shared and duties are delegated to team members who are appropriately equipped to manage the task, leveraging information they’d learned from the Everything DiSC® behavioral assessments. They also agreed to keep each other accountable, which Maria felt was maybe the hardest transformation of all for her team. “Michelle was a steady advocate for leaning into the discomfort of causing productive conflict. With practice and commitment, we’ve become better at these conversations.”

Michelle went on to coach the graduates of the 5 Behaviors of a Cohesive Team through training their direct reports using the program. After the learning modules were completed, the organization’s employees are now equipped with healthy tactics to have open, honest and productive conversation to drive momentum on projects and the organization’s overall success. Leaders are prepared with positive leadership behaviors and team members feel supported and are happier and feel good about their work.

Customization with Heart

“Michelle is equipped with so many tools with which she customizes her approach. Her heart was clearly engaged as she supported us through this huge transformation. I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome,” said Maria.

Update:  One year later.  The DiSC team profile and the Five Behaviors tools are a regular part of staff meeting discussions and new employee onboarding! 

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