In an interview with Manage HR magazine, Juli Geske Peer, President and Founder of Peer Performance Solutions, explains how PPS helps to improve performance.
What are some of the challenges your clients face, and how do you go about mitigating them?
We often see executives or organizations struggling with cultural elements getting in the way of their success. This can often surface after leadership changes, reorganizations, mergers or other big shifts in the company, but ultimately they often stem from ambiguous leadership, ineffective relationships or communication, or poor accountability practices.
This is where we excel and can help. A typical engagement begins with an audit or assessment. We interview stakeholders both within and surrounding the organization. This can be team members, executives and other leaders, customers, board members, etc. We seek to learn what is working and not working with various points of engagement. We may review policies and procedures to see where practices could be improved. Once our assessment is completed, we then report back to the client its strengths and weaknesses, along with recommendations on how to shore up problem areas. We have built and utilize a number of strategic models to help clients understand how to implement our recommendations for the best results.
Could you elaborate on the services you provide?
I’ve mentioned the operational assessments or audits, and that is one key service area. We are able to provide external observations where internal players may be experiencing group think or may not be understanding the depth of what’s happening for staff or customers. We bring our many years of work experience into play and our recommendations are sometimes based on best practices from other industries, as well. This external perspective is often key to an organization getting unstuck and moving forward in a more positive fashion.
We also conduct facilitation with boards or executive teams, through retreats, to dig into difficult topics or conduct strategic planning. For example, we helped with one executive team address interpersonal issues causing conflict and we helped a board group craft a plan for how it would work together with the organization on a critical initiative. With others, we’ve facilitated strategic planning discussions.
Another key service area is providing group or individual coaching. Areas of specialty are executive, emotional intelligence, and conflict coaching, as well as coaching new leaders when their supervisor doesn’t have the time to provide a hands-on approach to get them started.
Please elaborate on your overall approach to servicing clients? Do you have any specific methodologies you use?
Our approach to client service is customized to each client’s unique needs, while providing a high-touch service and working to over-deliver. We have many consistently returning customers and have worked primarily with those and their referrals, so our mode of operating seems to be working well for clients.
With regard to methodologies, we have created a number of models we use in working on the most
common problem areas. For instance, we developed a model dubbed the Accountability Factor Model, because we often see accountability as a problem area within organizations. We use our models both in how we work with clients, and in advising how clients how to work more effectively internally. The Accountability Factor Model is divided into three primary phases— identification, conviction, and traction (with an offshoot for dissolution, when needed). Under identification, we figure out what the desired end-goal is, where things stand, and the gap, which helps in planning the solution. In conviction, we work to encourage, build trust, influence, and motivate. Traction entails embedding structure to make sure the needed action is happening along the right path. By employing the very practices we suggest our clients use, they can see how they work to accomplish desired outcomes.
PPS has experience improving operations to increase satisfaction with all stakeholders. We are recognized as turnaround leaders who enhance team culture and performance, allowing clients to meet or exceed goals
What would you describe as a successful client engagement story?
We worked with a statewide non-profit organization that has multiple sites and conducted an operational assessment across its organization. To gain a deeper understanding of their difficulties, we began by interviewing staff across the various sites, ranging from leaders to individual contributors, as well as some of their customers and partners. We learned most locations had issues with service, racial dynamics, and leadership.
PPS and a partner organization specializing in D&I worked together to facilitate internal culture-building sessions to address the racial dynamics. PPS conducted leadership and service training with its broad management team, as well as hired me personally to act as an interim part-time leader at its most problematic site. I led that location for a few months to address the cultural and performance problems that were present. Additionally, PPS provided coaching for some individual leaders.
By addressing their challenge areas with a multi-faceted approach, outcomes saw improved employee, customer and partner satisfaction, as well as a more favorable culture across the organization.
In the wake of the pandemic, how were you able to align yourself to better cater to your clients?
I’ve heard many business owners struggling during the pandemic, due to shut-downs and the types of businesses they had, and I empathize with their pain. I feel very grateful that the work PPS has been doing has only expanded in importance, so realized growth during this time. With the idea of the “great resignation” we continue to find ways to help organizations minimize this impact.
What does the future hold for your organization?
We will continue to serve organizations that approach us with unique needs to address. But as we move into 2022 and beyond, PPS will also provide more public workshops to offer options to a broader individual audience, particularly around leadership development. We are also establishing the basis for greater international business through building partnerships across the globe.