President and CEO of Atomic-6, an advanced manufacturing firm that makes composite parts for the aerospace and defense industry, Trevor Smith was running a growing, successful company but was not confident in how to communicate with, or direct, engineers. In order to continue to scale, Trevor knew he had to implement an impactful management system and establish meaningful lines of communication with his team. He also wanted to effectively evaluate and hire new talent, but did not have a solid system for doing that.
Beth Miller, executive coach and founder of Executive Velocity, had previously coached one of the company’s investors and came highly recommended, so Trevor turned to her for help.
Laying the Foundation for Sustainable Hiring
Trevor had never managed a team. He was the idea guy and facilitator, but needed guidance as a manager. He recognized each of his team members had radically different communication preferences and did not know how to adjust and interact well with them. He did not yet know what success looked like in this area of management.
According to Trevor, “The first thing Beth did was to sit down with me and identify four core values for the company. Together, we came up with: Make the Impossible Possible, Own the Outcome, Integrity Is Everything, and Together We’re Better.”
Using these values as a blueprint, Trevor learned to evaluate each potential new hire and determine if they reflected these values. With the system of values in place, he now has a roadmap to making quality hiring decisions. Knowing who was a good fit for the company ensured he knew how to define each team member’s success and gave them common language to rally around.
Paving the Way for Good Communication
Among the foundational strategies Beth implemented, she had Trevor give every team member a Business DNA questionnaire. Trevor said, “This questionnaire reveals each individual’s skill set, communication style, and ‘love language’ for how they interact and want to accept encouragement.” Through the Business DNA test, Trevor could learn how to praise each employee and show them gratitude.
Beth also helped Trevor completely build a high-accountability team meeting structure. Weekly team meetings are used to conduct organized weekly check-ins where team members can hold one another accountable for tasks, as well as show empathy or support when individuals run into snags. The meetings are also a useful tool to help a team meet and set goals, keeping things running as smoothly as possible.
After helping Trevor implement the team meeting structure, Beth attended the first two or three meetings to moderate. She then trained an employee on how to run the meeting and now she checks in quarterly with the team to ensure their success.
Significant Company-Wide Results within Two Weeks
After just two weeks of incorporating the new strategies, the entire team noticed significant changes. They were excited about how much easier communication flowed. Morale and motivation among the team greatly improved.
Trevor appreciates Beth’s responsiveness and routine coaching sessions. “We evaluate how the company is approaching prospective customers, if we need to tweak the objective and message, review goals for next year, identify next key hires and skill sets to hire for, and identify hiring roadmaps based on the values,” Trevor shared.
Takeaways and Results: Breakthroughs in Communication and Operations Efficiency
Overall, Trevor was thrilled that he was empowered with tools to communicate with and motivate engineers. “You may need to be blunt because they’re blunt. Helping identify different styles of communication made a big improvement,” he explained.
With their internal meetings, the team discusses the root cause of issues and assigns to-do tasks to individuals to work toward resolution. During each meeting they discuss what was accomplished or what still needs to be addressed. They congratulate each other or troubleshoot as needed. “With this general guide for productivity, we can move forward more efficiently and improve time management, thanks to Beth’s strategy and guidance,” said Trevor.
The positive changes were more evident in a particular example with a dissatisfied employee. The employee appeared to not want to work for the company any longer. Trevor consulted Beth and who encouraged him to identify the root cause. For example, was there a personal reason they were disgruntled of which Trevor wasn’t aware? Beth and Trevor sat down with the employee and talked through the root issue.
After six months, the Atomic-6 team went from two to six employees and are now in the process of hiring three more. “We’re growing quickly because of Beth,” said Trevor. “I create less friction for my employees when communication is clear and there’s a predictable process.”
Always on the lookout for more peers to send Beth’s way, Trevor is an enthusiastic ambassador for Executive Velocity. “I’ve known Beth for years, but after working with her one-on-one, she exceeded all expectations.”