Change and Transformation
“The Beacon Group’s program proved to be a transformational experience for our staff, and has created a new, more open culture of creativity and collaboration that has given The Globe and Mail a marked and measurable competitive advantage.”
— Phillip Crawley
“The Beacon Group was able to handle our 360 reviews across 9 offices in a manner that brought significant value to our partners, the firm and ultimately our clients.”
— Judson Whiteside
“The human capital programs provided by The Beacon Group are best in class.”
— Tye Burt
“The Beacon Group approaches very serious and difficult topics in an accessible and insightful way.”
— Eric Siegel
“The Beacon Group’s thought provoking curriculum utilizes best practice tools and interactive media for evaluation, assessment and overall learning. It has helped us raise the bar on our calibre of talent.”
— Ernst Lieb
“The Beacon Group delivered cutting edge perspectives on many human capital topics that were tailored and customized to our company in a way that we could not have obtained at more generic, cookie-cutter advising shops.”
— Doug Lord
“The Beacon Group acted as a strategic partner and was instrumental in helping us raise the bar on candid dialogue and team performance.”
— Robert Courteau
“We engaged The Beacon Group when we needed to bring two cultures together after our first major international acquisition: the evidence of their success lies in both the subsequent growth in our business and our presence in more than twelve countries on five continents.”
— Rupert Duchesne
“The Beacon Group excels in facilitating open & candid dialogue that has fostered superior team performance.”
— Mary Ellen Carlyle
“Top-level thought leadership, combined with practical, cost-effective solutions—that’s the real value the Beacon Group team brings to bear on Foresters talent challenges.”
— Suanne Nielsen
“Doug Williamson and his team were of invaluable assistance in helping our organization navigate through a completely new strategic planning process and emerge with a three year plan resoundingly endorsed by our Board. Doug’s global perspectives and ability to drive consensus was an integral part of our success.”
— Don Forgeron
“The Global HR & Communications senior team engaged the Beacon Group in shepherding us through a unique strategic planning process that involved an outside-in view of our current and future workforce and how this aligns to our business strategy. Thanks to Doug and his team it was a thought provoking process that sharpened our strategic thinking and, in the end, made our strategy stronger.”
— Sylvia Chrominska
“The Beacon Group’s customized and personalized approach fit our needs perfectly. From the initial self-discovery phase all the way to recommending solutions, the work they have done has been consistently world-class. They combine strong analytics with a wealth of real world experience. They are focused, targeted and are experts at taking theoretic concepts and making them real. We look forward to working with Doug and his team as we continue to elevate our business and improve our internal performance.”
— Don Romano
In the hyperactive and challenging world in which we all live, it is becoming harder and harder for business leaders to find time to read, reflect and gain insight from the many valuable sources at our disposal.
In "Provocative Propositions", The Beacon Group attempts to fill that void by offering our opinion, often rather pointed, on a wide array of issues we believe are relevant to leading a modern organization.
The articles are catalogued into 12 categories so you can quickly and easily find a topic of particular interest. We then offer three easy steps under the heading "In Our Opinion" to help business leaders take action on the key themes.
Simply click on the category and read away.
Teams of Experts
Two hours north of the hustle and bustle of the big city, a team of young executives gathered for a two-day offsite meeting at a four-star resort set in the lush woods and the tranquil setting next to a lake.
They are the best and the brightest.
The first day of their meeting was a tremendous success. They spent time working on team dynamics, they established their decision making process, and finished off with some light-hearted teambuilding exercises. Much good wine was consumed along with a first class meal. A few people even shot pool to enhance the bonding experience.
Itís the second day that is the problem.
It turns out they have no real idea why they are there.
They have no real idea how this relates to their day jobs.
They have no real idea of what they are to work on.
The fact is - for years, organizational teams have focused on one thing - the dynamics of the team. The emphasis of their activity has been on developing the team, not on understanding how the team can benefit the organization.
The result is - a tremendous amount of time and energy have been wasted on the inward focus and mechanics of teamwork. The focus has been on making the team fit to tackle any challenge. The reality is, however, that most teams have focused so much time on themselves that they have lost their sense of perspective.
The outcome is - organizations everywhere work hard at assembling teams that are sub-optimal and destined for failure and, ultimately, these teams under-deliver on what would otherwise be outstanding ideas.
The solution is - to develop an organization that thrives not on teams, but on X-teams. In other words, teams are set up based on rigorous mandates, and ultimately focus their time and energy on delivering on their mandate.
No more X-cuses
Gone are the days of experiential, falling out of a tree, kayaking down the river, team building sessions. The fish are spoiled, the cheese is rotten and, oh yes, we are actually here to get something accomplished.
The traditional view of teamwork is no longer. No longer can organizations justify spending the time, energy and money on elaborate offsite meetings where the only outcome is the intangible glow of feeling they have created a better team.
Building an X-team involves a tremendous amount of effort. While a typical team usually has a static membership and a mandate that never really changes, an X-team differs in 3 distinct areas as authors Deborah Ancona and Henrik Bresman oiutline in their book "X-Teams".
Now, donít think for a second that X-teams donít spend any time at all on team process or donít believe that chemistry, trust and collaboration are not important ingredients. In fact, authors Ancona and Henrik outline three X-team principles: X-ternal Focus, Flexible Phases, and X-treme Execution. The foundation of X-treme execution is team dynamics and process. In order for an X-team to be truly effective, they must master the concepts that drive execution.
For example, X-team members must foster a "safe" environment wherein team members are able to fully utilize their creative energy without fear of being judged by other team members. Also, X-team members ensure an efficient process by fully understanding each others' areas of expertise and then putting the right person on the right part of the task. Lastly, X-teams spend time on team reflection. This "internal audit" allows the team an opportunity to highlight areas of the process that were beneficial to the outcome, and those that impeded the outcome. That way, problems can be avoided in future tasks, and the team develops a cycle of success.
In Our Opinion
The Beacon Groupís Keys to Developing X-Teams
Tear Down the Walls - Organizations looking to develop X-teams must develop an organizational layout, and a culture that promotes the process of "gathering". X-teams are self-motivating, therefore, if you give employees ways to "bump" into each other, the teams will spring up around you, on their own,
Leave Them Alone - Leaders must understand the X-team is more effective when it is left to develop its own agenda and mandate. If anything, ensure that the organizational needs and future goals are understood at all times, and the team will find ways to deliver on these challenges.
Get Them Outside - Once the teams are established, open the front door. Meeting rooms should only be occupied at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day. As X-teams succeed by focusing externally, their process begin with understanding what information they have to gather and then shift to having team members going offsite to meet with experts and other sources of knowledge. Lastly, the team members must re-group to teach each other what they've learned.
Celebrate Success - Leaders of employees who are part of X-teams must practice what author Jim Collins calls "Level 5 Leadership" - a combination of humility and fierce resolve. They should ensure that the organization knows what pace is expected in order to reach its goals, but as goals are achieved, the emphasis should shift to praising those who helped reach the goals, as X-teams.