In my blog post on the 7th of May 2014 titled ‘How great is your team?’ I promised to go into details of the 11 different aspects that make a great team. The first nine aspects regarding Burning Platforms, Team Alignment Around Critical Goals, Clearly Agreed Way of Working, A Great Decision Making Process, Information Flow is Encouraged, Great Leaders Don’t Mince Their Words’, Positive Crisis, Great Conversations, and Radical Conversations, have already been posted in this blog. Here is the Tenth installment; Team Learning.
Team’s, who learn together, stick closer and work better. While we learn every moment of our life, including when at work, great teams have planned processes to create that learning inside and outside the workplace.
We learn all the time. When we arrive at work and is greeted cheerfully by a colleague we learn that he/she may be happy. When a colleague helps us we learn that he/she may be supportive. When we read an email regarding a new product launch we learn about a new initiative of the company. When we attend meetings we learn about the progress of our team and our roles in taking it forward. When a team member opposes our suggestion at a meeting irrationally, we learn that he/she may have a hidden agenda against us. When we reflect on these actions we learn about our own emotional maturity and action logic. Therefore learning is a natural part of our work life.
Companies formalizes these learnings inside the organization by having planned feedback session, coaching sessions, assessments, knowledge hubs where the knowledge of the company is made available through a data base and regular communications through emails, blogs, magazines, town halls, etc.
In addition to the above great companies organize outdoor activities such as celebrations, team journeys and team learning experiences. Celebrations bring together the team as they joyfully commemorate achievements; be it an annual profit target, an external recognition or individual team achievements such as the ‘Salesman of the Year’ or simply getting together at the local pub for drinks at month end. Off site team learning activities, be it a classroom type training session in a seminar hall or an out door adventure activity are also valuable in creating team learning. Team Leadership Journey’s are Sensei International’s response to the clinical nature of classroom training and the unrealistic nature of adventure activities. A well-designed journey has the opportunity for great conversations interspersed between activities. These activities can include adventure, vocational, social service, cultural and nature related that helps the team connect with reality and ignite their emotions, humility, humanness, childlike awe and authenticity.
Great leaders make team learning a strategic priority in running the business and this help develop the team members, teams and their organization towards its real potential.