We don’t get what we expect, we get what we inspect! Things that are evaluated get elevated! Therefore measuring team effectiveness and taking improvement actions based on the feedback is an essential aspect of creating great teams.
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 ten 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, Radical Conversations and Regular Team Activities, have already been posted in this blog (please search this website to find the earlier instalments). Here is the Eleventh and final installment, Team Evaluations.
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.
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 eight 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’ and ‘ Great Conversations’ have already been posted in this blog. Here is the ninth installment; ‘Radical Action Conversation’.
Radical Action Conversations are authentic. They go beneath the surface and deals with ‘adaptive’ issues that hinders real execution. Such conversations deals with engagement issues, honesty issues, relationship issues etc. that people may generally try to avoid to maintain false harmony. It encourages team members to be in ‘Adult’ mode rather than ‘Parent’ or ‘Child’ mode as described in ‘Transactional Analysis’. Such conversations are about identifying and dealing with assumptions team members make in their decisions, prejudices, actions, relationships etc.
Consider this. Your organization is working on a product launch that requires coordination between planning, manufacturing, marketing, sales, legal, finance and supply chain teams. The project is running late and at the current speed the launch could be delayed by more than 2 months. This can give a major advantage to the competitors who are working on a similar product to meet the same need of the customer.
The discussions at the management meetings are very technical. They speaks about the delay in finding the right raw materiel, delay in gearing up distributors and delay in configuring machines in the factory. The team discusses this and decides on some steps to speed up, but the situation is the same at the next meeting. The team resorts to unproductive conversations such as fake, dormant and aggressive conversations to avoid facing the real issues. See my blog post ‘Great Conversations’ for more details of unproductive conversations.
This becomes a radical conversation when the team starts talking about the adaptive aspects such as the trust issues between the marketing and sales manager, the integrity concerns of the supply chain manager and the competency concerns of the factory manager. The team starts focusing on facts, when the focus changes to transforming rather than debating reality, when there is willingness to challenge and explore assumptions, when tough decisions are made based on these conversations and when clarity of accountabilities and commitments are achieved. Discussions at future meetings focus on tracking actions decided, agreeing on course corrections required and ensuring execution with both discipline and speed.
Such Radical Action Conversations will see relationships growing rather than cliques being fostered and team capability clearly growing through the engagement. Radical Action Conversations requires skill and courage and it takes a lot of effort to develop team with this capability. However this is not just useful but essential for a great team!
Remember the last time you were engrossed in a conversation? Conversation where real issues were discussed! Conversations that were authentic! Conversations that were value adding! Conversations that made time stand still! Conversations that made things happen! Conversations that got continued! These are the conversations that make great teams.
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 seven aspects regarding ‘Burning Platforms’, ‘Team Alignment Around Critical Goals’, ‘Does your Team have Clearly Agreed way of Working?’ ‘A Great Decision-Making Process for a Great Team’, ‘Information Flow is Encouraged’, ‘Great Leaders don’t Mince their Words’ and ‘Positive Crisis’ have already been posted in this blog. Here is the 8th installment regarding the 8th aspect; ‘Great Conversation’.
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 makes a great team. The first aspects regarding ‘Burning Platforms’ and ‘Team alignment around critical goals’ have already been posted in this blog. Here is the third installment; ‘Does your team have clearly agreed way of working?’
In recent senior team strategic and leadership facilitations for a leading insurance company, I asked the question: what kind of work should you be mostly doing? The answer was: ‘Strategic Work’. Then I asked: what kind of work do you mostly do? The answer was: ‘Operational Work’. Then I asked what do you think the reason for that is?. After a short discussion it was clear to everyone that it was due to the absence of leadership that requires developing, delegating, engaging, energizing and create an environment for healthy interactions to get freed up from operational responsibilities to find the time to do the required strategic work.
There are 4 possible ways of working based on the responsibilities and roles of the team. These levels include strategic, tactical, operational and interactive. It is important for the team to have clarity and alignment regarding this and to know which other related teams operates in which way with clarity of the interface relationships.
Strategic work: Strategic work involves being able to predict the future business environment in the areas of political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal, referred by the acronym PESTAL. They need to do this by having intellectual connections to various channels of information, being able to extrapolate current happenings to the future, being able to see strategic intentions of actions, behaviours and information provided by business movers and shakes. It involves planning for the long-term taking the strategic realities in to consideration. Being able to make investments in people, technology and business relationships in the present to prepare for the future. A large potion of senior leadership time should be allocated to strategic work. A moderate amount of next level leadership time should be allocated to strategic work. Junior team members should understand the strategic relevance of current decisions and plans and should provide information that has strategic implications to enable higher-level leaders to improve their effectiveness of their strategic work.