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Performance management encompasses everything from the performance of individuals and departments to the whole organisation. Participants will discover how linking personal goals to those held by the organisation increases motivation and engagement, as well as productivity and profitability.

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Bruce Tuckman's Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing Team Development Model

Article Overview:
In this article, Carol Wilson briefly examines a team development model that was created in 1965 and which remains relevant today.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Carol Wilson briefly examines a team development model that was created in 1965 and which remains relevant today.

Opening Words:
There has never been a time of greater conflict between members of newly formed teams than in today’s world of cyclonic corporate change, where relationships are made and changed through global mergers, demergers, portfolio careers, cost cutting redundancies and a widespread lack of ability in organisations to nurture and retain their home grown talent.

For some 40 years, Bruce Tuckman’s classic model has been delivering comfort and new perspectives to managers either charged with running a team, or trying to function within one, assuring the players that they are not alone and that the discomfort of conflict is a normal part of the journey towards an effective and enjoyable unit.

Suitable Reading For:
Anyone interested in understanding how team dynamics work and change and why teams perform in different ways at different times in their life cycle.

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Coaching Feedback for Managers

Article Overview:
In this article, Carol Wilson looks at four key areas of feedback: Positive feedback, negative feedback, receiving feedback and coaching feedback.

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Article Overview:
In this article, Carol Wilson looks at four key areas of feedback: Positive feedback, negative feedback, receiving feedback and coaching feedback.

Opening Words:
Feedback is often regarded as the most difficult part of a manager’s job. However, in a coaching culture, negative feedback is experienced in a positive way; as an opportunity for making new discoveries rather than blame.

Positive feedback is an energy raiser for the giver as well as the receiver. However, it must be authentic and genuine or it will be dismissed as worthless.

People often say that they only hear feedback when something is wrong. However, it costs nothing to tell people when they have done well, or give a simple thank you. Both will make the recipient feel more valuable and raise their confidence. Self-belief is vital for success, and praise, when it is deserved, builds confidence and motivation to achieve more.

It is great to give positive feedback in public; it gives people a real boost to be singled out and admired for what they have achieved. There are also two possible areas for caution here:

Useful Reading For:
Managers, including first time managers, and anyone who wants to develop their ability to give, or receive, constructive feedback.

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Customer Service - Ten Quality Statements

Article Overview:
This article from Martin Haworth looks at the importance of measuring where you are as an organisation, and the importance of asking meaningful questions that look beneath the service of customer service.

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Article Overview:
This article from Martin Haworth looks at the importance of measuring where you are as an organisation, and the importance of asking meaningful questions that look beneath the service of customer service.

Opening Words:
It might sound quick and simple to say how well your business does in satisfying its customers. Hearing such as:

"We're increasing our turnover by 14% year to date"

"Our customer complaints are now less than 4% of our transactions"

...might sound like music to your ears, but that's just the time you need to be very careful.

A regular measurement of where you are as an organisation, not depending on some of the easy-to-fake figures, might just make the difference in how well you are doing now, and into the future.

Useful Reading For:
Managers involved in measuring customer service.

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Developing Facilitation Skills

Article Overview:
Debra Pittam's article looks at how you can develop your facilitation skills.

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Article Overview:
Debra Pittam's article looks at how you can develop your facilitation skills.

Opening Words:
What is Facilitation?
Facilitation is the process of enabling and guiding a group of people to collaboratively determine and/or achieve their goals through the skills, attributes, methods and processes provided by the facilitator and those within the group. Facilitation ensures that groups benefit from what they both share and the diversity that they each bring to the group.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers.

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Don't Make Me Go Back to the Gym

Article Overview:
In this article, Rod Webb wonders why he's not motivated to return to the gym after Christmas this year, and considers the lessons here for organisations and managers. The article outlines key thoughts and ideas about motivating people at work and managing change.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Rod Webb wonders why he's not motivated to return to the gym after Christmas this year, and considers the lessons here for organisations and managers. The article outlines key thoughts and ideas about motivating people at work and managing change.

Opening Words:
I had one of those moments this morning, which seem to come with increasing frequency once you reach your forties. The image in the bathroom mirror just seemed to be a little more out of shape than normal – the sagging more noticeable, the posture a little worse. On really bad days I see my father in the mirror. Nothing against my father, you understand, but when he was my age (and I wasn’t) I thought he looked old, whilst I of course know that I’m still very much in my youth.

Anyway, this unfortunate revelation got me thinking and wondering whether once again I should try and lose some of the post Christmas excess via lots of exercise at the gym.

I’ve tried the gym before – many, many times, without any discernible difference being achieved in the few weeks my commitment lasted before the excruciating boredom became unbearable and I was driven back to the sofa - and chocolate.

Useful Reading For:
Managers and team leaders who need to motivate others.

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Firm Management or Bullying?

Article Overview:
This article from Sheila Williams looks at the differences between firm management and bullying and considers why behaviour might be interpreted differently in different organisations.

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Article Overview:
This article from Sheila Williams looks at the differences between firm management and bullying and considers why behaviour might be interpreted differently in different organisations.

Opening Words:
What are the differences between firm management and bullying?

ACAS characterise bullying as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.

Bullying is assessed as behaviour that is unacceptable by reasonable, normal standards and is disadvantageous or unwelcome to the individual. However, what is reasonable and normal for one may be unacceptable to others and, as Hamlet observed, ‘therein lies the rub’. It is hard to get agreement on objective measures of what constitutes bullying behaviour. Nowhere is this more apparent than when managers are dealing with staff under-performance.

Linda is a manager who came from a ‘command and control’ culture into an organisation with a radically different approach. She is ambitious, dynamic and has, as she puts it, ‘a short fuse’. Her style of management led to a formal complaint of bullying by one of her team. Other team members gave witness to this during the internal investigation that followed. The investigation team concluded that she had used inappropriate and bullying behaviour; in particular losing her temper with the individual on a number of occasions and belittling them in public.

Useful Reading For:
Line managers and supervisors.

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Frying Pan, Fire or Neither?

Article Overview:
Martin Haworth explains how getting someone else out of their 'frying pan' can get you into a 'fire' and explores a better way of helping your team members when they are struggling.

About

Article Overview:
Martin Haworth explains how getting someone else out of their 'frying pan' can get you into a 'fire' and explores a better way of helping your team members when they are struggling.

Opening Words:
How tempting is it to fix things? You know, you are passing by one of your teams’ cubicles and they are doing something you know all about. So you give a hand...

And then it's fixed, and you feel a rosy glow all about how you've 'helped'. But who is this about, you or them?

You see, it can be so frustrating, for someone already frustrated, when some smart-ass boss comes along to show their superiority. In fact, after it's fixed, all they get is a general feeling of inadequacy. And more frustration.

Useful Reading For:
Everyone, especially managers, team leaders and experienced staff.

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Good Practice in Appraisals

Article Overview:
All managers know that staff appraisals are an essential part of ‘performance management’. But Organisational Development Consultant, Jeremy Thorn, suggests that ‘performance enhancement’ might be a far more rewarding focus.

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Article Overview:
All managers know that staff appraisals are an essential part of ‘performance management’. But Organisational Development Consultant, Jeremy Thorn, suggests that ‘performance enhancement’ might be a far more rewarding focus.

Opening Words:
In some organisations, appraisals are widely reported to be dreaded, by both managers and subordinates. Managers often dislike conducting them, especially those who have not been trained, perhaps because they see appraisal interviews as a possibly embarrassing formality, which take up too much precious time. And across the desk, staff often say they find appraisals daunting, often threatening and, sometimes, even de-motivating. Done badly, the appraisal process can indeed frustrate and damage staff relations, especially if seen as a one-off ‘end of term report’ – or even worse, a ‘character assassination’!  

Done well, however, an appraisal can be genuinely productive and enjoyable, for both the appraiser and the appraised. Indeed, in many organisations, I hear complaints by staff very much more often that their appraisals have not been carried out by their busy line managers on time, rather than that they have happened at all.

How does any organisation ever achieve such a positive outlook?

Useful Reading For:

All managers and anyone wanting to improve the way the appraisal system is used in their organisation.

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How Am I Doing?

Article Overview:
This is an excellent article from Ian Clarke - the first of three on feedback - that considers the need to think about how you are going to ask for, and gain meaningful feedback.

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Article Overview:
This is an excellent article from Ian Clarke - the first of three on feedback - that considers the need to think about how you are going to ask for, and gain meaningful feedback.

Opening Words:
This is the first of three articles about working with feedback. The second article is entitled “If Feedback is so valuable why do we keep it to ourselves?”. The third article is entitled “Who do you think you are?”.

The following story illustrates that getting useful feedback needs a little more thought than just asking, “How am I doing?”

It was the first working day of the new month and Matt Turner realised it was his monthly review meeting with his boss, Jenny Machin, that afternoon. Matt prided himself on being well prepared for these meetings so he checked his figures for the previous month, his year to date achievements, his plans for the coming month, his staff issues and achievements and his forecast for the remainder of the year.

Useful Reading For:
Managers in particular, but anyone who wants to develop their ability to obtain valuable and meaningful feedback from others, or anyone wishing to develop a culture of feedback and coaching.

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How Can I Boost Initiative In My Team?

Article Overview:
In this article Jennifer looks at some suggestions for getting people to take responsibility for themselves and show initiative.

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Article Overview:
In this article Jennifer looks at some suggestions for getting people to take responsibility for themselves and show initiative.

Opening Words:
Do you ever get asked for your advice, opinion or assistance? In fact, do you seem to spend most of your time responding to people’s queries and telling them what they should be doing? And do you feel that you are repeatedly asked the same questions by the same people?

It’s frustrating, isn’t it? You have a job to do, a team to manage, results to achieve and deadlines to meet. You could do without these distractions because that’s what they feel like. Why can’t people just use their initiative and get on with the job?

Useful Reading For:
Managers and in particular first time managers.

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Human Capital Management Predicts Stock Prices

Article Overview:
This article suggests that the way we manage people has a clear knock on effect on an organisation’s ability to outperform its competition and provides evidence to support this argument.

About

Article Overview:
This article suggests that the way we manage people has a clear knock on effect on an organisation’s ability to outperform its competition and provides evidence to support this argument.

Opening Words:
In 2001 and 2003, under the auspices of our sister company (Bassi Investments, a registered investment advisory firm), we launched two different investment portfolios based on our research finding that, as a group, firms that invest a significant amount in training and developing their employees subsequently outperform the market. In Table 1 (on the next page), we refer to these portfolios as Portfolios A and B.

Useful Reading For:
Training professionals, line manager and senior decision makers within in any organisation.

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If Feedback Is So Valuable, Why Do We Keep It To Ourselves?

Article Overview:
The second in three articles from Ian Clarke about feedback. This one looks at our willingness to give feedback when requested.

About

Article Overview:
The second in three articles from Ian Clarke about feedback. This one looks at our willingness to give feedback when requested.

Opening Words:
The last article discussed the value of asking for feedback and how we can help and encourage our colleagues to give us feedback. The other side of the coin, of course, is “How willing and how effective are we at giving feedback when asked?”.

We can often find it much more difficult to give feedback than receive it. We can even find it difficult to give praise. I’m told the three greatest causes of stress are overwork, boredom and not feeling valued. (Take a look at your last employee survey to see if you and your colleagues feel valued, recognised and well rewarded). As you read this can you think of any recent instances when you wanted to give some feedback to somebody but decided not to? Can you remember why you decided not to?

Useful Reading For:
Managers in particular, but anyone interested in developing their own ability to give and receive meaningful feedback or anyone wishing to develop a culture of feedback and coaching.

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Inside Quality Service

Article Overview
In this article, Diane Bailey looks at the importance of Internal Customer Care and looks at the benefits of an internal service culture to the organisation, its employees and its customers.

About

Article Overview
In this article, Diane Bailey looks at the importance of Internal Customer Care and looks at the benefits of an internal service culture to the organisation, its employees and its customers.

Opening Words:
In the late 1980s, management specialist John Humble worked in conjunction with Management Centre Europe on a survey of how managers in Europe viewed the 'service' ethic. In his introduction to the report, Humble stressed that ‘service', in fact, was not something which referred only to external customers. 'Service' is something which is also relevant to colleagues within the organisation – the internal customers. The detail of the service will obviously differ, the report suggested, but the need is the same.

Of the senior managers who took part in the survey (1055, biased towards larger, more forward-thinking companies), 78% saw improving quality and service as the way to competitive success; 85% felt that providing a superior service was one of their key responsibilities.

Where British Managers differ from Europe perhaps is that, in general, much less work has been done in the UK to improve the level of service and care offered to the 'internal' customer, i.e., the people who work within an organisation in other departments or sections, or in branches and units geographically dispersed from the centre...

Useful Reading For:
Anyone attending training related to internal customer care or involved in creating a service culture within an organisation.

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Organisational Maturity

Article Overview:
In this article, Paul Ackerley discusses the need to work more efficiently and effectively in the current global climate.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Paul Ackerley discusses the need to work more efficiently and effectively in the current global climate.

Opening Words:
At the time of writing (April 2011), a major topic of conversation here in the UK, particularly for those working in the public sector are the cuts being implemented as a result of last year’s Spending Review. There is understandably much concern and trepidation around due to the potential impact of the spending cuts.

As you will have seen from the news, many public sector organisations started to make cuts in spending and people resources even before the results of the Spending Review were known, in anticipation of the reduction in finances. Many private sector organisations had been going through a similar process for some months, or indeed, years already.

Useful Reading For:
Managers

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Performance Coaching and Training in the Workplace

Article Overview:
This article from carol Wilson looks at:

1) What is coaching?
2) What coaching does.
3) What coaching managers do.
4) Where did coaching come from?
5) What is a coaching culture?

About

Article Overview:
This article from carol Wilson looks at:

1) What is coaching?
2) What coaching does.
3) What coaching managers do.
4) Where did coaching come from?
5) What is a coaching culture?

Opening Words:
A sea of confusion surrounds the term ‘coaching’ in business today. The expression has not even made its way into dictionaries yet, where ‘coach’ is defined simply as ‘tutor’ and yet there is nothing new about the practice other than its name. Socrates was the earliest identified exponent, when he wrote:

“I cannot teach anybody anything – I can only make them think.”

This quote relates to the underlying principle of coaching, termed self-directed learning, sometimes described as self-managed learning.

Coaching helps people to communicate more clearly and in a way that is simply more comfortable. In this modern world of change – the seemingly constant buying, selling and merging of global corporations – and virtuality – teams working together while spread over different parts of the country or indeed the world – communication can be the oil in the wheels or the rust that stops them from turning.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone interested in developing their understanding of performance coaching or wishing to implement a coaching culture within their organisation.

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Team Coaching

Article Overview:
In this excellent article, Sheila Williams looks at the challenges of coaching a team using her own experiences. The article includes a helpful list of questions to ask before undertaking team coaching.

About

Article Overview:
In this excellent article, Sheila Williams looks at the challenges of coaching a team using her own experiences. The article includes a helpful list of questions to ask before undertaking team coaching.

Opening Words:
How many teams do you belong to at work – three, four, five? Research from Clutterbuck Associates suggests we may be members of as many as six or more different teams at any one time. When team members have clarity about their roles and contributions, team performance in key results areas is measurably improved - creating a positive impact in the organisation as a whole, in terms of service quality, organisational performance, motivation and morale.

Team coaching can be particularly challenging, whether the coach is the team leader or an external coach. It is a complex activity involving the facilitation of 1:1 and team interactions, observing and giving feedback on team processes and behaviours, and dealing with tensions and conflict which are often hidden beneath the surface.

Useful Reading For:
Trainers and line managers.

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The Differences Between Coaching and its Related Fields

Article Overview:
This is a superb article from Carol Wilson, Head of Accreditation at the Association for Coaching and essential reading for anyone interested in coaching and performance coaching.

About

Article Overview:
This is a superb article from Carol Wilson, Head of Accreditation at the Association for Coaching and essential reading for anyone interested in coaching and performance coaching.

Opening Words:
Carol Wilson, Head of Accreditation at the Association for Coaching, and Gladeana McMahon, Fellow of the Association for Coaching, explore the differences between coaching and the related disciplines of counselling, psychotherapy, mentoring and consulting. Coaching draws its influences from and stands on the shoulders of a wide range of disciplines, including counselling, management consultancy, personal development, and psychology. However, there are a number of core differences which distinguish coaching from its related fields. This article is based on a chapter of the book ‘The Handbook of Best Coaching’, produced by the Association for Coaching and available at a reduced price of £20 on www.associationforcoaching.com.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in coaching who wishes to explore the origins and influences of coaching.

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Time Management or Behaviour Management?

Article Overview:
Joanne Barnfather takes a look at our behaviour and how it affects the use of our time.

About

Article Overview:
Joanne Barnfather takes a look at our behaviour and how it affects the use of our time.

Opening Words:
Time is precious. You cannot save time - you cannot put a couple of hours away in a cupboard to use later when you need them. It seems that time is the greatest enemy of many people. Yet some people seem to get the job done with ease and in time. The difference is each person's ability to manage their time. It is essential to be aware of how you use your time.

We are all given 86,400 seconds every day, what do you do with them?

Useful Reading For:
Everyone, especially those who'd like to manage their time better by working smarter, not harder.

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Tools of the Trade

Article Overview:
This article was first published in Training Journal in September 2007. In it, Carol Wilson considers the need for coaches to add new tools to their toolbox and gives an overview of models like Situational Leadership and Myers Briggs.

About

Article Overview:
This article was first published in Training Journal in September 2007. In it, Carol Wilson considers the need for coaches to add new tools to their toolbox and gives an overview of models like Situational Leadership and Myers Briggs.

Opening Words:
Coaching is fundamentally a simple process: A way of being and communicating that is aided by a small number of guidelines and rules. It is perfectly possible, and indeed quite common, to deliver a session which can literally change the course of someone’s life or business using no more than the foundation coaching skills of listening, questioning and clarifying, supported by structured coaching models like GROW and EXACT for goal setting.

After mastering the basics, coaches usually start to discover other tools, which may be nearer or further away from pure coaching but which can be useful when applied in conjunction with it.

How this often happens is that new coaches come up against various challenges in their first few months of sessions, so they research, read or talk to other coaches and hear of methods and techniques which have helped others in the same position. Extra training seems called for but it is not cheap, and few of us have an abundance of time these days to do courses, never mind practise to become proficient, in which case the new learning will soon be all forgotten. So how do we decide which of the many tools available we should choose to follow up?

Useful Reading For:
Coaches and anyone wishing to develop their coaching skills further.

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Vital Leadership in the Twenty-First Century

Article Overview:
To succeed in today’s world, Mike and Caroline Baghsaw argue that an organisation has to become a complex adaptive system, operating through core principles that nurture flexibility and innovation.

About

Article Overview:
To succeed in today’s world, Mike and Caroline Baghsaw argue that an organisation has to become a complex adaptive system, operating through core principles that nurture flexibility and innovation.

Opening Words:
At the dawn of the twentieth century, most organisations relied on large numbers of people working together in the same building. The young started at the bottom, and the most able would, with experience, become the leaders. It worked well in the context of stable technology. The bosses could predict future needs well enough to make quite detailed plans, including the duties of employees. These could be structured into career ladders, plus a pension, to reward good workers. "Good" meant co-operative. They didn't want bright ideas from low down the ladder. The boss looked after good workers, and the workers obeyed the bosses.

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, all this has metamorphosed. Constant innovation makes experience, not irrelevant, but in need of constant adjustment. The good workers are no longer the quiet, co-operative ones, but those who look ahead, spot what's coming, and adapt. This applies to organisations as well as individuals. The static ones will be left behind. To succeed, an organisation has to become a complex adaptive system, operating through core principles that nurture flexibility and innovation.

Useful Reading For:
Managers and trainers.

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Which Course Do You Want To Go On This Year?

Article Overview:
This article considers the importance of using a facilitative approach to identify training needs.

About

Article Overview:
This article considers the importance of using a facilitative approach to identify training needs.

Opening Words:
The performance review isn’t simply an opportunity to review what’s happened and dish out praise or criticism accordingly. In fact calling a performance review a review at all is unfortunate, because an effective appraisal should be as concerned with looking forward as it is with reviewing what has already happened.

The review should be used, for example, as an opportunity to check that previously agreed objectives remain appropriate, and to change these if necessary. It’s also an important opportunity to identify what training, development and support an individual will require in order to meet the challenges of the future. If you fail to identify the training and development needs of your team, you are not only failing them, but you are failing the business as well. You wouldn’t send your teenager into town in your new sports car, unless you were pretty sure they could drive competently, so why would you risk giving a member of staff an objective without considering whether they are competent to complete it, and if not, what additional training they’ll need?

Useful Reading For:
Managers and team leaders involved in performance reviews.

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Who Do You Think You Are?

Article Overview:
The final of three articles from Ian Clarke about feedback, this one looks at what happens when we receive feedback from others.

About

Article Overview:
The final of three articles from Ian Clarke about feedback, this one looks at what happens when we receive feedback from others.

Opening Words:
The previous two articles discussed the value of asking for feedback and how effective we are at giving feedback to our colleagues. This article explores what can happen when we are the recipients of feedback.

How good are we at hearing what people say when they are talking about our behaviour. Are we able to accept praise? When someone says we have done a good job do we believe him or her? How do we respond? “Thank you – I appreciate your comments” or “It was nothing – just doing my job”.

Are we able to accept criticism? When someone says we could have done a better job do we believe him or her? How do we respond? “Thank you – it would help me to hear your views on how I can improve” or “Hey – give me a break – I’d like to see you do better”. Even if we don’t actually say it we may start thinking – “Who do you think you are talking to me like that?”

Useful Reading For:
Managers in particular, but anyone wishing to develop their ability to receive feedback objectively or anyone wishing to develop a culture of feedback and coaching.

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