Leaders Know the World of Work is Changing (Part 3)

Like the many businesses right now, Group Dynamic is also changing. Yesterday, the current Group Dynamic staff met to talk about what the business will look like in 2022. Specifically, we discussed what we need to keep and what we need to change.

For many years, the old model of Group Dynamic staffing included:

  • Alan did most of the work directly with clients.
  • An assistant, the Business Development Specialist (Ashleigh, then DeAnne), handled a lot of the communication and behind-the-scenes work. This position had previously been part-time; however, in 2021, the position became full-time.
  • Some elements were outsourced to trusted vendors, some of whom are close friends.

In the last two years, we have experienced two disruptions.

These two disruptions caused Group Dynamic to upend and revise our old staffing model of Alan and one assistant. Like most disruptions, these caused significant changes I didn’t want to make. Also like a lot of disruptions, they made us re-think our company values and staffing roles. As a result, Group Dynamic has gotten stronger.

Disruption #1 – The pandemic. Group Dynamic was not alone in this worldwide disruption. The first change we made was to retool our business to accommodate virtual training. The way we’ve always done things mantra went out the window. For 12 straight months, I did only virtual training. When I returned to in-person training, I realized some ways we had tightened up the curriculum for remote learning benefitted the classroom setting too.

Disruption #2 – Our full-time specialist, Kelly, upon whom I had come to heavily rely, needed to take medical leave. At first, her leave seemed short-term, but it ended up being a few months. She’s back now, part-time, and doing well. However, in those intervening months, we hired two more people and asked one previous employee to work part-time.

So, what did we learn?

In a sense, we learned things we already knew. But we got to experience them first-hand and close-up.

  • People work harder when they do the work they enjoy most. As I hired our new employees, one at a time, I focused on the specific tasks that matched each person’s strengths. Even when they worked only 5-15 hours per week, they yielded high productivity.
  • People are happier when their work doesn’t rule their lives. With one exception (me), the people working for Group Dynamic have a lot more work/life balance than those working 40 hours per week.

Now, we’ve only been using this model for a couple months, and we’ve been experimenting, but we’ve taken what we’ve learned and solidified our new model.

  • Instead of one full-time specialist, we have four part-time people doing various aspects of the job. This allows for people to take necessary time off without it being problematic for the business. Multiple people also allows for cross-training of necessary tasks.
  • Two employees are business development specialists, one of whom is more client-facing and the other works mostly behind the scenes.
  • A third person is an executive assistant who handles all the logistics, scheduling, and business ordering.
  • The final person is a communications consultant. She’s the one who has made this post intelligible for your ease of reading.

Our team’s work week.

Each of these humans works anywhere from two to thirty hours per week. DeAnne, our communications consultant, has moved on to another role outside of Group Dynamic and is the only person in the two-to-four hours per week range.

The other three employees have these two stipulations:

  • Get the work done, and spend at least ten hours per week doing it.
  • Work no more than thirty hours per week.

Some hours will take place during scheduled “office hours;” the rest of their hours will be at their discretion.

While the particulars seem looser than they are, we’ve learned over the last couple of months that two of our people will average fifteen hours per week and one person will have thirty.

Another thing we learned is that when three people who are working on what they enjoy most for a combined total of 60 hours per week, the output exceeds two full-time employees.

Time will tell, of course, but it seems like we’ve built a model our team likes, which should keep retention high.

What else did we do yesterday?

  • Announced a 15% pay increase effective January 1, 2022.
  • Explored individual roles and responsibilities, including mine, to move Group Dynamic toward a model of 80%/20% when it comes to duties–80% work we love and 20% work we tolerate. Every job has duties which are tolerable, but we want to actively work to keep the proportion low.
  • Gave everyone input into our strategic plan for 2022.
  • Committed to personal development goals. Everyone wants to be better, and it’s my commitment to my employees to give them the resources to learn and grow.
  • We also ate our favorite foods.

Who is the Group Dynamic team?

DeAnne Negley (deanne@groupdynamic.net) – Communication Consultant – Book marketing, blogging, and internal communication. Works 2-4 hours per week.

Cindy Leaders (cindy@groupdynamic.net) – Executive Assistant – Scheduling sessions and meetings; compiling session logistics; assigning assessment codes; and ordering materials. Works 10-15 hours per week.

Kelly Clancy (kelly@groupdynamic.net) – Business Development Specialist and Director of Fun – Conference applications; client communication; program development, assistance, and production; company promotion and marketing; internal team development. Works 10-15 hours per week.

Rachel Braafhart (rachel@groupdynamic.net) – Director of Operations – Internal operations and processes; IT; social media marketing; finances and invoicing; and sub-account coordination, communication, and training. Works 30 hours per week.

Alan Feirer (alan@groupdynamic.net) – Trainer/Business Consultant – Trainer, consultant, facilitator, and program development. Works full-time.

The Group Dynamic team is excited about the upcoming year and our new staffing roles. We are even more excited to serve our clients in what we believe will be a more beneficial capacity.

Thank you, Gravitate CoWorking for the amazing workspace.

2 Responses

  1. Jayson Gerth
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing a glimpse into your strategic planning. This kind of honesty and transparency is as refreshing as it is instructive. Thank you for continuing to model the way! (And glad to see DeAnne is back on the team!!)

  2. Alan
    | Reply

    Thanks, Jayson! DeAnne will scale way back when she starts her new career in earnest, but right now she’s training the rest of the team for a few weeks, then will be exclusively in the blog/book realm.

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