Case Study

Meeting leaders where they are

Instrument realized they needed to align different leadership skill levels and styles across their organization. However, implementing a training program for busy and distributed teams is no small feat, and they needed a solution that could fit their needs.

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Overview

Hone has had the pleasure of running two ongoing programs for Instrument since October 2021 - Manager Core 101 and Manager Core 201 - for a total thus far of 161 graduates.

Manager Core 101 Sessions
Coaching 1
Build High Trust Relationships
Give Feedback That Lands
Lead Highly-Effective 1:1s

Manager Core 201 Sessions
Prioritize the Right Work
Delegate Like a Pro
Evaluate Individual Performance
Lead Highly-Effective 1:1s

The Company

Hone proudly provides training for leaders at Instrument, a digital creative agency with an impressive track record for leading digital marketing and technology driven business transformation for some of the most innovative companies. For this Case Study, we caught up with program admin Rachel Coddington, Executive Producer on the People Operations Team, to discuss the company’s unique journey with Hone.

"I can't overstate how simple it's been for me as the admin and how supported I felt through the process. I also have gotten nothing but positive feedback from all my leaders about the training."

Rachel Coddington, Exec Producer, People Ops

The challenge

Prior to reaching out to Hone, Instrument realized that they were missing foundational leadership training that could serve to align different leadership styles within the company. At the time, their leadership consisted of several individuals who had moved up organically within the company because of their talent, but never received formal leadership training. As a result, they needed a solution that could upskill new leaders and align different leadership styles within the organization.

However, implementing leadership training with a busy and distributed team is no small feat, and Rachel and the Instrument team needed a solution that would fit their needs.

To address the company’s leadership alignment and quickly upskill new managers, Rachel knew Instrument needed a training solution that could:

  1. Be customized to align with their company culture and mission
  2. Deliver bite-sized content that was flexible enough to work across hundreds of busy schedules
  3. Provide a shared language and foundation for both new and seasoned leaders

The solution

After exploring different solutions, Instrument chose Hone for their leadership training for three main reasons:

  1. It satisfied their criteria above
  2. It was far more cost-effective than other solutions
  3. They knew Hone could provide the support they needed. As the program admin, Rachel felt this support from the very first implementation call.

“I never felt like I was on my own or like I was struggling to figure things out; I felt like I always had a team behind me. I got emails back within 24 hours, I was able to hop on calls with my Customer Success Manager and Learning Solutions advisor as much as I needed to. I never felt like I was lost at sea.”

Serving All Leaders

Hone and Instrument share the belief that leaders are not just employees with direct reports, but that true company Leadership has a broader definition that includes “leaders of work” and “leaders of self”. This philosophy cultivates a culture of leadership within organizations where employees feel there is a path to growth and a deep sense of company loyalty. “It encourages folks to stay because we’re showing we are committed to them and we think they’ll have direct reports in the future.”

Reflecting this philosophy, Hone was offered to everyone from Instrument’s executive team - CEO, COO - to their team leads and Individual Contributors, who equally benefited from the program.

Small-Group Training as a ‘Trojan Horse’

Small-group training worked best for Instrument for many reasons, but not least of which was that it snuck in team bonding alongside essential leadership training by giving leaders the chance to collaborate with people from different departments. Said Rachel, “I myself met folks I would normally never work with and got to have deep conversations and develop meaningful skills together. It was super impactful.”

Especially during Covid and with a distributed team, this modality struck a chord with Instrument’s leadership. “I think we're all struggling in the virtual world to find points of connection, so Hone was kind of a Trojan Horse in a way where we're giving you this leadership training and, in the process of doing that, we are also connecting you with each other, so you can learn from one another and hear each other’s voices.”

Leaders Loved It

Rachel emphasized that the learners loved their cohorts, as well, and truly looked forward to each session, noting that the training was just as great for seasoned and talented leaders. “For natural leaders, it’s cool to not only learn new things, but also put a name to things that you’re doing right and see that there's a science behind why it works.”

Conclusion

At Instrument, when it comes to leadership training, Hone is the gold standard. And it’s not just the admin who feels that way. “I have gotten nothing but positive feedback from all of my leaders about the training, people are genuinely excited to do it. Usually people feel that these things are a burden or they're inconvenient, but I have had nothing but positive feedback.”

Immediately Actionable

For Rachel, one piece of feedback was that all of the trainings felt immediately actionable and easy to incorporate into the learners daily habits. “These trainings felt like they were immediately applicable to their jobs in a very personal way, and they didn't have to think very hard about it, which is wild because so many trainings are not that way.”

Instrument’s Path Forward

According to Rachel, Hone has helped Instrument look at learning and development more holistically. “We basically have doubled down on giving continuous leadership training and are excited about continuing with Hone indefinitely.”