“Why does it have to be this way!?” I shouted in frustration.
I was smacking up against a brick wall that had hindered my progress for over 20 years.
I’m a numbers guy. I live by measuring the difference between what is and what should be, and then changing what is to make it more like what it should be (and then measuring again) to find success.
I can’t imagine doing it any other way.
Business people are generally concerned about knowing if business processes are working, how well they are working, and what they need to do to improve them.
We ask: “What are the numbers this week?”
And: “What can we do to make it better?”
Why can’t we do this with soft skills development programs?
Was it impossible to measure the pile of messy personal bias we call a relationship?
It seemed the entire leadership development industry was just a bunch of fluff and squishiness without the accountability that all over functions enjoyed.
My friends had told me this. I invited them to apply for positions on my learning and development team and they said since there wasn’t a measurable impact, forget it.
Surely there was some way to measure the impact of our leadership development programs.
Not just an annual or semi-annual number.
Can you imagine that in other departments?
CEO: “CFO, how much cash do we have in the bank?”
CFO: “Oh, I’ll let you know in 6 months when we tie our numbers at the end of the fiscal year.”
Of course not!
We need a constant measurement in order to maintain and grow the business.
It seemed so ridiculous that our program participants couldn’t know how they were doing at applying what they were supposedly “learning.”
Were they making any progress at all?
Did our programs have any value in the real world?
It seemed no one could answer this question:
“Am I a better leader this week than I was last week?”
The answer came one day while I was making a purchase on Amazon.
I was looking at several products in a category, comparing price and…
A measurement of quality!
Yes, there it was.
On a 5-star scale.
And the comments in those reviews “how it could be better.”
So simple, and yet so beautifully subjective.
Culture, social skills, emotional intelligence… leadership.
Relationships are the building blocks of leadership and culture.
We can measure relationships with a 5-star scale, and the average of the high impact relationships is the measure of leadership on a team or culture in an organization.
There we go! Now we were getting somewhere!
I decided to experiment with this in the programs I designed.
We started asking questions with 5-star scales. Many questions.
We asked over a thousand people various sequences of questions before, during, and after my coaching programs.
Finally, we found one question: The Ultimate Relationship Question:
“On a 5-star scale, how would you rate our relationship?”
And soon it’s sidekick emerged:
“What can I do to make it better?”
We tested these two questions on dozens of guinea pigs.
People were terrified of The Ultimate Relationship Question!
So we built a 60-second training around it, including:
How to introduce the question.
How to ask the question each week.
How to respond to “advice” given by one’s counterpart.
It was with this simple question, and all the subjective psychological baggage that hangs on it, that we began helping people measure and manage their work relationships.
Because even though humans are soft and squishy, relationships are things… that can be measured with hard numbers.
And that’s how it all began.
A solution to my frustrating, 20 year old problem.
But it’s bigger than that.
You see, every organization faces this same challenge.
For most people relationships are invisible, and ambiguous.
Even when we think the relationship is great, it may not be as great from the other person’s perspective.
How can we tell, and and how can we know if we have changed anything?
Work relationships between teammates.
Work relationships across teams.
With The Ultimate Relationship Question as the backbone, we developed an approach that makes it ultra simple to measure and manage expectations, even down to daily experiences on the job.
We call it: The 5-Star Approach.
With this approach organizations, leaders, and professionals can finally know:
“What is the quality of my work relationship with my boss?”
“What is the quality of my work relationships on my team?
“How strong are the key relationships in our organization?”
And: “Am I a better leader this week than I was last week?”
No lengthy surveys.
No complex processes.
No two-day retreats or trainings.
Just a simple approach to transforming work relationships (and sometimes home relationships).
And, what about the results?
What are the numbers?
- Our average increase in relationship scores is 1.3 points on the 5-star scale (a 32.5% increase).
- More than 90% of relationships see a significant improvement in four coaching sessions (30 minutes per week for four weeks)
What do we do now?
Our goal is to catalyze 1 million 5-Star Relationships.
Start measuring and managing your work relationships today.
Transform work relationships from Good to Great!
Transform your leadership from Good to Great!
Transform your culture from Good to Great!
Tyler Small holds a Masters Degree in Instructional Psychology from Brigham Young University. He has coached hundreds of leaders across the country and designed learning experiences for hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. He has worked for three major universities, Fortune 500 companies, and startups. His specialty is helping people develop leadership skills.
Despite all this, he considers his role as a husband and father to be his most important work. Tyler loves spending quality time with his better half, Alicia, and their five children, especially in the mountains of Utah.