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Blog Post: Bringing to life the Dry July Foundation: An Empowering Team

What do you think of when you hear Dry July? 

Does a booze free month come to mind? For me, I’d always known Dry July as the month long experience of feeling good while doing good. That was until the autumn of 2020, when I got to work with the Dry July Foundation, the exceptional team behind the campaign for three months.

As a consultant at The Culture Equation, my 9-5 is all about helping your team use its own ingredients to make working together a piece of cake (pardon the pun). I get my kicks out of creating safe spaces that empower your team to say the things that need to be said (but that no one feels safe to say) for the benefit of your team dynamic, relationships, and performance. 

That’s why I was super excited to work with Katie, Dry July Foundation’s CEO, and her team as they completed The Culture Equation’s Team ReForm Program. What is the Team ReForm Program? It’s a 12 week group coaching program that equips your team with practical skills that increase team adaptability and trust. The program also provides teams with the tools to resolve the inevitable interpersonal tension that comes from working with other humans. 

Taking a leap of Faith

As the leader of a six person team that raised over $10,000,000 for cancer support last year, the Dry July Foundation was already a well-oiled machine. The self-described ‘work family’ has always had a strong cultural foundation and emphasis on communication and collaboration. But 2020 was a challenging year for the best of us, and the team needed to ensure that they continued to bring their A-game as they adjusted to working from home and a virtual environment.

We kicked off our program two-months before the campaign started, right in their busiest time, and as Business Relationship Manager, Lyndal Vozzo said “I thought that this is the worst time [to do this program], but it actually ended up being the best time … opening up, everyone having a say, everyone voicing their opinion, I think it really brought the team together”.

A campaign that keeps on giving

The program had a big impact. After 12 weeks the team increased their:

  • ability to effectively communicate with one another by 36.5%
  • ability to support each other’s personal and professional growth through coaching by 29%
  • confidence to have difficult but productive conversations by 19.7%

While the numbers speak for themselves, there were two changes that I was particularly proud to see. Because the team was such a close family, this meant that they sometimes wouldn’t take the interpersonal risk of challenging each other. At the end of the program, the team described how much more comfortable they felt having the interpersonal conversations that would improve their team. Second, before the program, new ideas would often be filtered through Katie for approval. 

However Katie was keen to remove herself from this hierarchical habit and encourage cross team collaboration. Now, the communication has increased across the team, with ideas and collaborations happening independently of Katie’s input as the CEO. 

It was an absolute blast working with you Katie and the Dry July Foundation team. Also a very special shout-out to Anne Massey who co-led this program with me, and to Bambuddha, who put Katie and Hiam, our founder at The Culture Equation, in contact through a Bambuddha Boost!

Kind words from Katie: As a leader in my organisation, I will be forever grateful for the skills and knowledge I acquired during the program, and will carry them with me for the rest of my career (and even in my personal life!). You have helped me to better understand myself, my team, and given us tools to improve our communication moving forward.

Would your team benefit from increased collaboration, cohesion and brave communication? Contact me on [email protected] here or book a call directly here.

Robert Lean

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