Who are you and what were you hoping to achieve with the Heatmap?’
We’re Good Business – a transformative strategy, behaviour change and sustainability consultancy. We help organisations of all sizes make the future a better place to be.
We know as a business that relationships are important to us and drive much of our work, but it’s not always easy when we’ve got our heads down on projects to carve out the time to focus on this in a meaningful way. We were excited to use the Relationships Heatmap tool to help us focus on relationships, and give us space and scaffolding to structure our thinking.
What did you learn from using the Heatmap?
1. We have strong relationships as a team
We’ve got a lot of areas of strength when it comes to relationships as a team. Individuals scored themselves highly for their levels of motivation for building strong relationships – and for their skills and confidence. Collectively we also scored Good Business highly, for example we felt that good relationships are ‘the norm’ and that people view Good Business as warm, welcoming and trustworthy.
“When we work with clients, they tell us that what they like about us is we’re very honest, we’re very human – we’re not corporate. We retain a lot of clients, and I think this reflects our approach to building relationships.”
2. We realised that we could pay more attention to relationships
Using the Heatmap and reflecting on it made us recognise that whilst many of us are natural relationship-builders, it’s not something that we actively spend much time thinking about.
“Developing good relationships across the business has become almost second nature, so when I think about things like planning, measurement and strategy, I just don’t think of that as a thing I would do. But when it comes to building and maintaining strong relationships with clients, having a strategy and thinking about how you go about doing that is actually really important.”
3. We had some insights about new and junior team members
The Heatmap also helped us identify different approaches and experiences of building relationships across our team, and helped us surface the importance of junior members growing relationships with clients.
“It’s energising for me as a junior consultant to be given autonomy and encouragement to grow my own relationships with clients – and it makes my day-to-day work more enjoyable!”
We noticed the impact that COVID had on our Relationships Heatmap in various ways; some newer team members hadn’t had a chance to work from our office yet and see various relationships at play, so the session helped them learn more about how others view relationships.. And we noticed that not having a physical space in the last year had actually led us to being more intentional about how we go about forming relationships with new joiners.
“We’ve had more of a plan for building relationships for new joiners during Covid than we did when we were in person.”
How are you putting your learning into action?
We came up with some tangible areas for action to warm up our cool spots when it comes to relationships.
- Review and adapt our project-kick off questions to include more in-depth questions about relationships.
At project kick-off, rather than simply asking, “Who are the key project contacts?”, we’re going to map out and explore the relationships in more detail, especially when we have long standing existing relationships with a client that it may be useful for others to know about.
“Being more conscious of our relationships from the start and ongoing through the project would help us be better at holding them, and prompt everyone to take more of a share in keeping up those relationships.”
- Pair every member of a client team with a Good Business team member to steward the relationship.
This will help us to grow deeper, more meaningful relationships with people across client teams, not just for the duration of the project, but in the long-run too. It will also support our junior team members to feel a greater sense of autonomy when it comes to taking the time to build strong relationships. We’d like to set a ‘soft-target’ to reach out to the relationships we’re stewarding every four months or so, whether that’s with an article that might interest them or just to say happy birthday!
- Internal monthly relationship check-ins, across project teams
We’re going to prototype the idea of bringing together small groups of our team together for ‘relationship check-ins’ – a dedicated space where we can reflect on our relationships, share good practice, and exchange ideas for how to approach challenges peer-to-peer. We hope this will have a double benefit of making our relationships with clients stronger, as well as helping to build new relationships across the business.
Finally, the session prompted us to take some simple, immediate actions, including connecting with all of our clients on LinkedIn and putting coffees in the diary with team members we don’t collaborate with on a regular basis.
We host interactive workshops for organisations looking to dig into their collective heatmaps. If you’re interested in finding out more, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
In our work on kindness and flourishing towns, we’ve thought a lot about how we create the conditions for relationships in communities. We were interested to use the Heatmap to see how it works and what we could learn about our relationships with a much broader network of people and organisations.
Having collaborated with The Relationships Project to create the Heatmap tool, we were excited to try out the Heatmap tool ourselves, and see whether there are any levers we could pull on further to strengthen our approach to relationships.