Case Study

Q & A with ettitude: Creating Team Connection with Drumbeat

About ettitude

We sat down with Allison Cantley, Director of Operations & Systems at ettitude- an eCommerce bed sheet company. ettitude sheets are made from the world's first CleanBamboo™ fabric. They offer luxury quality modern bedding, sleepwear and bath items that are 100% organic, plant-based, vegan and cruelty, free. We spoke with Allison about how she used Drumbeat to level up her management skills, and access to the tools she needed to unlock her own and her team’s growth potential across an internationally distributed team.

Allison Cantley

Director of Operations, ettitude

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Meet The Team

Can you tell us a little bit about your role and your team and what they are responsible for?

My role is quite new, I started as Senior Manager in Operations in August 2022. In my current role, I lead all ERP systems and work heavily on the technology side of our Operations department. Since we are a lean company, I have also started taking on other areas of the business. I was most recently promoted to oversee all downstream operations, fulfillment, shipping, customer experience, and tech systems. 

I currently manage a team of 7, including contractors. The team consists of one Operations Specialist who is responsible for B2B partnerships, orders, analytics, and reporting, as well as a team of 4 customer experience agents, and two employees at our accounting agency.

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The Challenge

What are some of the main challenges you face in managing your team?

Starting out, my main focus was motivating and inspiring the team. I wanted this to feel like more than just a job, and for them to be able to find a sense of passion, purpose and drive related to the work they are doing. My goal was to make them aware of the opportunity that is available to grow in their careers.

The challenge that I faced in achieving this was making sure they felt comfortable and supported by me. Because the team is dispersed internationally, we also face challenges related to time zones, physical distance, and even cultural differences. I must be very cognizant of these differences and apply different management styles to bring out the best in each individual.

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The Solution

What aspects of Drumbeat did you find the most useful?

I really liked the coaching sessions. They were 1.5-hour long sessions held within a small group, with the opportunity to break out into smaller one on ones. I liked the balance of lecture sessions and breakout peer groups because it allowed us to apply our learnings and share our experiences. I appreciated how the sessions were broken down into different topic sections because I found we were able to cover a diverse set of experiences that way.

My favorite part was the coaching sessions where I was able to work directly with Alex and Andrew.

I had the opportunity to ask all of my questions and talk through each one to get feedback. I love how the feedback is coming from discussion with not only the experts, but from my peers who may be experiencing very different but relevant challenges.

I also really enjoyed using the platform and found the templates to be especially useful. I was able to make copies and easily customize them for individual team members and different types of team meetings. I still use all the templates for performance reviews and one on ones, and I use the journal in between sessions to look back and see what has been accomplished and reflect on goals. It really makes evaluating our progress so much easier since I can look back and see where we started versus where we are!

The action prompts also really helped during what was a bit of a tough time when there was a lot of change happening and it was taking a toll on the company culture. It was like having a coach inside of the tool making sure I was accountable for putting what I’d learned into practice.

Having these tools and journals has been a massive timesaver when I have to go back and do performance reviews or reporting on KPIs.

What are your goals for your team? 

My teams’ goals tie into the wider company goals such as improving automation (eliminating manual tasks), becoming more efficient, achieving our sustainability goals through various initiatives.

How do you think Drumbeat helped you achieve those goals?

Drawing on my previous answer about challenges, I really feel that Drumbeat has helped me to become a stronger and more empathetic leader. The last session we had was more reflective, and I was able to share some of the challenges I had been facing. One tip from coach Andrew was that being vulnerable is not a bad thing. Relating to my team and being an open book (showing that I am human too) has been helpful in setting the stage for them to understand I am there to support and enable them. When I shared a problem I had with Drumbeat and the cohort, I gained a lot of perspective. It made me see that in many situations, I already had the answer to my problem, but the coaching truly enabled me to unlock the solution without telling me what to do.

What is the one thing you would say has improved about your leadership style since using Drumbeat?

I would say that it is so easy to get caught up in numbers and hitting your KPIs, that you forget about manager soft skills and truly supporting your team. Typically, the structure of one on ones is very task-based, and what I liked about Drumbeat was that it reminded me firstly, I am someone’s manager, and it’s my job to help them come up with solutions and provide them with the support they need to succeed.

The entire Drumbeat system is set up in a way that puts people first and reminds managers that the growth happens when the team has the full support of a great manager.

Have you noticed that your team responds differently to different types of feedback or leadership styles?

Yes. One issue that I brought back to the Drumbeat coaching session was that I felt my team was trying to appease me by telling me what I wanted to hear. I really wanted them to feel open to honest discussion, whether that be around feedback for me as their manager, how they are feeling with their current workload, or what their goals are for their careers (their real goals, not what they think will fit in with the company best).

I had a hard time feeling like they fully trusted me to share that with me. I think part of it was the difference between the North American way of ‘wearing your heart on your sleeve’ and really asking for what you want. Other cultures value being grateful for your job, expressing to your boss that you are enjoying your work and just generally keeping your head down and getting work done.

I really wanted to change their mindset so that my team could be themselves with me. I learned through the coaching and action prompts that being vulnerable, sharing more about my life outside of work and other tools for building that foundation through a trusting relationship. Naturally, I was able to peel back the layers and get to that place with my team. I feel like now they are responding well to this style of leadership and things are going really smoothly.

Have you noticed any differences in your team’s performance because of this shift?

Yes. I am typically a very hands-off manager, and I trust my team will get things done in a way that makes the most sense for them. But I learned through the “Autonomy Support” module that sometimes that is a state to be reached after the foundation is set. Once I used this method, the trust came second after the knowledge and know-how to get the job done and hit our goals. At this point, I can be hands off and I trust my team fully.  

What surprised you about Drumbeat?

I went in without any expectations. When I joined, I was just told that it was management training. I was surprised by the quality of the connection with Alex and Andrew and felt comfortable sharing and openly discussing issues, more so than in other management training sessions that I have participated in. I loved how there were insights brought into the discussions and action prompts that were not just biased opinions from the trainer, but actual research-backed insights rooted in organizational psychology.

How would you explain the value of Drumbeat to other managers?

I would explain that there is a lot of value in it, especially for managers who have a strong leadership foundation.

If you want to improve and refine your skills with the support of a peer group and expert coaches, plus a robust set of tools and templates to keep you on track - Drumbeat is for you.

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About Drumbeat

The Drumbeat Platform isdesigned specifically for managers, providing them with:

  • The live support and practical tools they need to grow their leadership skills
  • Personalized, evidence-based actions and progress measurement
  • An engaging, fun process designed to foster deep team connections

If you’d like to learn about how Drumbeat can help you level up as a manager...

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