Feel Connected with teams

POWER THROUGH CONNECTION

Improving performance by learning new skills is not the only way to heighten production. Sometimes, improving performance depends upon changing the emotional atmosphere and improving employee relationships.

When people feel connected to others, they experience less negative stress. Relationships change brain chemistry, making people less vulnerable to negativity. To foster a feeling of connection in the workplace, leaders have to set aside the right kinds and amounts of time for interacting.

Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 2.54.58 pmMore meetings build connection and unity. They should involve talking about work, behaviors, roles, and responsibilities, so people can see the different ways their experiences connect with those of others.

Leaders should have several types of meetings with their teams:

*Daily check-in: 5-10 minutes.

*Weekly tactical: 45-90 minutes.

*Monthly strategic: 2-4 hours.

*Quarterly off-site review: 1 to 2 days.

The most important ingredient for successful meetings is having a predictable schedule and structure.

Another way leaders can set boundaries is by creating connections. Factors that neurologically build connection among coworkers include:

*A shared purpose that is clearly defined within the meeting.

*Awareness that allows everyone to operate from the same facts and realities.

*Nonverbal cues, such as turning off cell phones, that indicate a willingness to actively engage with others.

*Collaboration in an environment where people are physically and mentally present and engaged in problem solving.

*Coherent and relevant narratives that engage the brain more fully and illustrate people’s roles in the company story as it moves forward.

*Conflict resolution that confronts those interpersonal issues that hinder high performance.

*Emotional regulation that results from connecting with others for feedback and empathy.

*Emotional reflection that focuses on the present and leads to insight and openness within the group.

*Emotional repair that occurs in a group bound by mutual trust.

*Listening that is active and intentional so that each member of the group knows and understands the others.

FIRST TIME MANAGER – PART 1

SScreen Shot 2015-11-10 at 7.20.26 pmtep-by-step advice to middle managers about how to become better leaders and help their organizations succeed. He illuminates the unique nature of middle management — the opportunity it affords to influence both those in positions above and below — and teaches those working at this level to hone their skills for both the good of their organizations and their own future advancement. In this “how to” manual, Baldoni provides nine strategic steps for the committed, dedicated, and passionate manager who wishes to engage in this style of managing up that he aptly labels “leading up.”

STEP 1: LEADING UP

“Leading up” is becoming a person a boss can depend on to think, act, and be accountable for results. Baldoni opens with general advice on how to approach leading through others:

*Energize Yourself. A person who wishes to inspire others should know where their energy comes from, what they can do with that energy, and their limits.

*Think Like a Boss. A good leader keeps an ear to the ground, comes out from behind their desk, and interacts with team members and customers.

*Persuade Up. All leaders, whether political or corporate, need to be compelling. They must be well versed in the facts when they have big ideas (for example, how do their ideas improve the bottom line?), present these ideas well, sell them, get involved with planning, channel their passion, leverage their customers, and keep pushing even if an idea is rejected the first time around.

*Assert Yourself Diplomatically. While there are times, like in an emergency, when leaders need to act overtly assertive, in general a quiet confidence gets better results than a “hey, look at me” attitude. Effective leadership means listening to others, speaking calmly, and acting decisively.

STEP 2: THINKING AND ACTING STRATEGICALLY

Baldoni explores how to successfully lead up, emphasizing talent development, teamwork, and using one’s influence to achieve good for an organization. To this end, he offers advice on how to disengage from moment-to-moment activities and look at the big picture:

*Strike the Right Balance. Middle managers need to take a step back and consider broader strategies and possibilities.

*Rip Up the Box. Managers leading up need to do more than just ask people to think “outside the box.” They must set clear, realistic expectations. It may also be helpful to look at a problem from an alternative viewpoint. When team members come back with ideas, it is important to hear them out; even if the idea is not exactly what the manager had in mind, it may be the kernel on which to build.

*Unlock and Apply Creativity. Managers should attempt to stimulate discovery. They might do this by inviting outsiders to speak to their teams, or conversely, by sending their teams out to work in the community. Managers should also reflect on their own actions.

*Encourage Imagination. Managers have an opportunity to lead by example, emboldening their team members. They must give their people time and space to engage in experimentation, and combat the resistance to change that often comes from those in the middle.

*Innovate at the Edge. This means challenging convention, encouraging ideas that reflect new realities, finding a home for these ideas, appreciating incremental innovation as well as big ideas, and celebrating creative efforts.

*Inspire Hope and Innovation. According to Baldoni, hope can be a building block if it is linked to tangible results. It is critical to have a vision — such as where does the organization want to go? Once that is established, it is necessary to market the vision both inside and outside of the organization and then to execute it.

*Promote Strategic Idea Gathering. Baldoni advocates looking outside of an organization, and even an industry, for ideas on how to improve function.

*Apply What You Learn Strategically. The challenge for those who lead in the middle is to figure out how to apply information strategically, but first they have get on top of its flow. Managers can assign people internally to monitor the flow of information. Other team members can be tasked with going out into the world to observe competitors and customers. Then all team members come together to share and apply.

*Think Counterintuitively. Sometimes doing the opposite of what is expected is effective. Managers can think ahead to what obstacles their teams might face and brainstorm unconventional solutions.

*Hold to Your Values. Acting counter to expectation has its pros, but in the end, leaders’ actions need to remain in keeping with their true characters.

*Leverage Peer-to-Peer Networks Strategically. Facilitating peer-to-peer communication ensures appropriate knowledge transfer. Managers can encourage functions where members of networks mingle. They can also appoint ambassadors to visit functions of the supply chain and report back. Finally, they can promote the use of e-channels to foster communication.

*Ensure Credibility. Middle managers must rely on peer-to-peer networks, but in doing so, they must vet their sources to ensure that they do not become mired in gossip and innuendo.

All of this aside, the larger point is that the boss needs someone who can think first, and then act from a position of knowledge.

Team Effectiveness

HOW MANAGEMENT TEAMS CAN HAVE A GOOD FIGHT

By Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, Jean L. Kahwajy, and L.J. Bourgeois III

When performed constructively, conflict among team members helps teams make high-stakes decisions quickly and effectively. Through their research, the authors found that teams can successfully leverage constructive conflict and limit interpersonal conflict by:Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 10.55.15 am

1. Focusing on the facts. Teams must acquire a wealth of objective and up-to-date data about their businesses and competitors so that team members can have informed debates about critical issues.

2. Multiplying the alternatives. Having only two options can polarize a team and create destructive conflict. To avoid this and encourage a healthy debate, managers must offer four to five options for team members.

3. Creating common goals. Leaders must frame strategic choices as collaborative rather than competitive exercises so that members feel as though achieving the best solution is in everyone’s best interest.

4. Using humor. Teams with low levels of interpersonal conflict use humor to relieve tension and provide a collaborative spirit among members.

5. Balancing the power structure. Interpersonal conflict is low in “balanced power structures” where the CEO has the most power, but other management members have substantial power in their own areas of responsibility and can participate in strategic decisions.

6. Seeking consensus with qualification. Conflict is managed in the two-step process of “consensus with qualification.” First, executives discuss an issue and try to reach a consensus. If they cannot, the most relevant senior manager makes the decision with the input of the rest of the group in consideration.

VIRTUOSO TEAMS

VIRTUOSO TEAMS

By Bill Fischer and Andy Boynton

Although “virtuoso teams,” comprised of top experts in their fields, are best at managing high-stake situations, leaders often settle for ordinary project teams to avoid the egocentric nature that “virtuoso” members are notorious for. Consequently, they get ordinary results. To put together a high performing virtuoso team, managers must:

*Assemble the stars. Hire the people with the best skills who are willing to dive into risky challenges. Virtuoso teams blend their collaboration with a sense of competition.

*Build the ego of the group. Managers must help team members break through their egocentrism to become a powerful, unified team by cultivating a single-minded focus on a common goal.

*Make work a contact sport. Instead of allowing members to debate and discuss remotely, managers of virtuoso teams must facilitate face-to-face conversations in order to foster impassioned dialogues.p2

*Challenge the customer. Managers of virtuoso teams must foster the belief that customers want more, not less, and encourage members to deliver solutions consistent with this higher perception.

*Herd the cats. Virtuoso teams do not emphasize consensus and compromise, but use goals and strict deadlines to balance members’ needs for individual attention and intellectual freedom.

WHEN TEAMS CAN’T DECIDE

WHEN TEAMS CAN’T DECIDE

By Bob Frisch

The trouble with cross-functional team decision making is the process itself. To improve their teams’ decision-making processes, leaders must first acknowledge that decision making is problematic because each member has constituencies in the organization they are vying for. Leaders can improve the decision-making process by:

*Clearly articulating the outcome. When the outcome the team wants to collectively accomplish is unclear, individual members can choose options based on unspoken assumptions.

*Providing a range of options for achieving outcomes. Leaders must ensure that there is a broader range of options beyond “accept the proposed plan,” “reject the proposed plan,” and “defer the decision.”

*Testing fences and walls. When team members encounter a presumed boundary, they must take the time to determine if it is an immovable “wall” or a “fence” that can be moved.

*Surfacing preferences early. To focus a discussion, leaders must survey team members before meetings and identify their preferences.

*Stating each other’s pros and cons. Leaders should make sure both sides of every option are thoroughly voiced. This often requires assigning a devil’s advocate to make counterarguments and depersonalize the discussion.

*Devising new options that preserve the best features of existing ones. If a team has reached an impasse, it is often necessary for it to reframe its options in a way that preserves the original intent.

EI in groups

BUILDING THE EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE OF GROUPS

By Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff

Although group Emotional Intelligence (EI) can help skilled teams reach their highest potential, it is far more complex than individual EI and therefore more difficult to cultivate. To build group EI, a team must be aware of and constructively regulate the emotions of:Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 2.54.50 pm

*Individual team members. To understand the sources of individuals’ emotional behaviors, members can perform role-playing exercises and adopt the opinions and styles of others. To regulate individual emotional behavior, teams must learn how to constructively confront others.

*The whole group. Teams must use self-evaluation and feedback from others as norms that cultivate group self-awareness of their emotional states, strengths, and weaknesses. To regulate group-level emotion, teams must establish norms that create resources for working with emotions, foster an affirmative environment, and encourage proactive problem solving.

*Other key groups. Teams can cultivate awareness of the emotions of other key groups by having team members act as liaisons to important constituencies. To regulate the emotions of other key groups, it is necessary to develop cross-boundary relationships in which appreciation is shown.

COACHING MODEL

Coaching modelsFullSizeRender-3

A coaching model is a framework; it does not tell you how to coach but, rather, it’s the underlying structure that you can use when you’re coaching someone. It’s like having a high-level strategy that allows you to “see the battlefield,” therefore increasing your ability to respond adequately to whatever situation you’re faced with.

Two popular coaching models are the FUEL model and the GROW model. The FUEL model finds mention in the book The Extraordinary Coach: How the Best Leaders Help Others Grow, by John H. Zenger and Kathleen Stinnett. John Whitmore popularized the GROW model in Coaching for Performance: GROWing Human Potential and Purpose — The Principles and Practice of Coaching and Leadership.

Let’s take a brief look at both these models.

FUEL model

The four steps in the FUEL model are:

  1. Frame the conversation — Set the context for conversation by agreeing on purpose, process, and desired outcomes of the discussion.
  2. Understand the current state — Explore the current state from the coachee’s point of view, expanding his or her awareness of the situation to determine the real coaching issue.
  3. Explore the desired state — Articulate the vision of success and explore multiple alternative paths before prioritizing methods of achieving this vision.
  4. Lay out a success plan — Identify the specific, time-bound action steps to be taken to achieve the desired results, and determine milestones for follow-up and accountability.

Frame the conversation. Framing the conversation ensures that the coach and the coachee agree to be in the same conversation and makes explicit what the conversation is about. It is important to remember that the coach owns the process, whereas the coachee owns the content of the conversation.

  • Identify the behavior or issue to discuss.
    • I’d like to talk about this issue . . . [if the coach initiates the conversation]
    • What is the most important thing for us to focus on? [if the coachee initiates the conversation]
  • Determine the purpose or outcomes of the conversation.
    • By the end of conversation, I would like to accomplish . . .
    • What else would you like to make sure that we address?
  • Agree on the process for the conversation
    • Here’s how I thought we could proceed . . .
    • How does that sound?

Understand the current state. As the coach begins to understand the current state, he needs to maintain a curious mind-set. As a coach, you play two key roles during this stage of the conversation: acting as a mirror and being a great exploration guide. Asking open-ended, nonleading questions allows greater insight and clarity to both the coach and the coachee. It is important to understand that people will not change until they feel a need to change. The coach needs to offer his or her perspective only when it adds to the conversation and creates greater awareness for the coachee.

  • Understand the coachee’s point of view.
    • How do you see this situation?
    • What is happening?
    • What is working well?
    • What makes this challenging?
    • How might you have contributed to this situation?
    • How might others see this situation?
  • Determine the consequences of continuing on the current path.
    • What impact is this having on you? On others?
    • What are the consequences if the situation does not change?
    • How does this influence your goals and what you are trying to accomplish?
    • What are the long-term implications?
  • Offer your perspective.
    • Could I share some observations I made?
    • Could I offer some other consequences to consider?

Explore the desired state. It is of utmost importance that the coach does not rush the coachee into problem solving — it needs to be slow and deliberate to create the ideal vision and generate alternatives for achieving the vision. The coach must negotiate and influence as to what would form part of the minimum measures of success. If the coachee gets stuck, the coach should step to his or her side and become a brainstorming partner.

  • Understand the vision for success.
    • What would you like to see happen here?
    • What would your ideal state look like?
  • Set goals and performance expectations.
    • What are your goals? What would you like to accomplish?
    • Here’s how I see it . . .
  • Explore alternative paths of action.
    • What might be some approaches you can take?
    • What else might work?
    • Could I offer a couple of thoughts? You might want to consider . . .
  • Explore possible barriers.
    • What are the major barriers preventing this change from happening?
    • Where would the biggest resistance to this change come from?

Lay out a success plan. In the last step, the coachee needs to articulate specific action steps to gain clarity as to what needs to happen next. This will provide the coachee with a clear vision on the goal to be achieved. The coach assigns timelines to the action points for follow-up and accountability. The coach finds creative ways to support the coachee in achieving his goals.

  • Develop and agree on an action plan and timeliness.
    • What specific actions will help you achieve your goal?
    • What will your first step be?
    • Who can help hold you accountable?
    • How long will you stay focused on your goals and plans?
  • Enlist support from others.
    • Who can support you in moving forward?
    • How can I support you?
  • Set milestones for follow-up and accountability.
    • Let’s review the plan.
    • When should we touch base on this again?

GROW model

The GROW Model is a simple yet powerful framework for structuring your coaching or mentoring sessions. GROW stands for Goal, Current Reality, Options, and Will or way forward. A good analogy about the GROW model is to think how you would plan a journey. You initially decide where you are going (goal); understand where you currently are (current reality); explore various routes to your destination (options); and finally proceed on the journey (will), successfully overcoming any obstacles you may have along the way.

Like most coaching models, the GROW model assumes that the coach is not an expert in the client’s situation. He only acts as a facilitator, offering advice and helping the client choose the best option of his own volition.

Establish the goal. First, the coach and the coachee need to look at the behavior that they want to change and then structure this change as a goal  to achieve.

With respect to setting goals, it is important to distinguish between end goals and performance goals. An end goal is the final objective — become the market leader, be appointed a sales director, win the gold medal, etc. — which is seldom within your control. A performance goal identifies the performance level that will provide a good chance of achieving the end goal. The performance goal is largely within one’s control and generally provides a means of measuring progress. Examples could include “95 percent of production to pass quality control the first time,” “Reduce weight by ten pounds by December 2013,” etc. An end goal should, wherever possible, be supported by a performance goal. The end goal may provide the inspiration, but the performance goal defines the specification.

Besides supporting an end goal with a performance goal, goals need not only be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-bound) but PURE (Positively stated, Understood, Relevant, Ethical) and CLEAR (Challenging, Legal, Environmentally sound, Appropriate, Recorded).

When doing this, it’s useful to ask questions like:

  • How will you know that you have achieved the goal? How will you know that the problem or issue is solved?
  • Does this goal fit with your overall career objectives? And does it fit with the team’s objectives?

Examine the current reality. The coachee is asked to describe his or her current reality. Too often, people try to solve a problem or reach a goal without fully considering their starting point, and often they are missing some information that they need in order to reach their goal effectively. It is in the reality phase that the questions should most often be initiated by the interrogatives “what,” “when,” “where,” “who,” and “how much.” How and why should be used only sparingly or when no other phrase will suffice. The reality answers should be descriptive, not judgmental, to ensure honesty and accuracy. The answers must be of sufficient quality and frequency to provide the coach with a feedback loop.

Questions include:

  • What is happening now (what, who, when, and how often)? What is the effect or result of this?
  • Have you already taken any steps toward your goal?
  • Does this goal conflict with any other goals or objectives?

Explore the options. The purpose of this stage is not to find the “right” answer but to create and list as many alternative courses of action as possible. The quantity of options is more important at this stage than the quality or feasibility of the options. It is from this broad range of creative possibilities that specific action steps will be selected. The coach would need to create an environment in which the participants feel safe enough to express their thoughts and ideas without inhibition or fear of judgment from the coach or others. Once a comprehensive list is prepared, the Will phase of coaching may be simple, selecting the best from the list. However, in certain complex cases, it may be necessary to reexamine the list by noting the costs and benefits of each course of action.

Typical questions include

  • What else could you do?
  • What if this or that constraint were removed? Would that change things?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option?
  • What factors or considerations will you use to weigh the options?
  • What do you need to stop doing in order to achieve this goal?
  • What obstacles stand in your way?

Establish the will. The purpose of the final phase of the coaching sequence is to convert the discussion into a decision.

Useful questions to ask here include:

  • So what will you do now, and when? What else will you do?
  • Will this action meet your goal?
  • What could stop you moving forward? How will you overcome this?
  • How can you keep yourself motivated?
  • What support do you need?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, what is the degree of certainty you have that you will carry out the actions agreed?
  • When do you need to review progress? Daily, weekly, monthly? 

Finally, decide on a date when you’ll both review the coachee’s progress. This will provide some accountability and allow for a change in approach if the original plan isn’t working. Thanks scrumalliance.FullSizeRender-3

COLLABORATIVE TEAMS

EIGHT WAYS TO BUILD COLLABORATIVE TEAMS

By Lynda Gratton and Tamara J. Erickson

The successful execution of a major initiative requires a complex team comprised of many educated specialists from diverse backgrounds. However, while the complexity of a team may be beneficial to an initiative, it can also make collaboration extremely challenging. To maximize the effectiveness of large, complex teams, the following eight practices are recommended:

1. Invest in building and maintaining social relationship practices. Executives can build and maintain social relationships throughout their organizations with “signature practices,” or highly visible investments that demonstrate commitment to collaboration.

2. Model collaborative behavior. Executive teams must support a culture of collaboration by making their own collaborative efforts visible to the rest of their organizations.Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 01.28.49

3. Create a “gift culture.” A “gift culture” is one where employees view interactions with leaders and colleagues as valuable and generous. This can be cultivated if executives embed mentoring and coaching into their routine behavior and throughout their companies.

4. Ensure the requisite skills. Collaboration improves when HR departments teach employees how to build relationships, communicate well, and resolve conflicts.

5. Support a strong sense of community. People are more likely to reach out to others and share knowledge when they feel a sense of community. HR can foster a community spirit by sponsoring events like networking groups or weekend gatherings.

6. Assign team leaders who are task- and relationship-oriented. The most successful team leaders are able to be task-oriented in the beginning stages of a project and shift to being relationship builders as conflict between members arises.

7. Build on heritage relationships. As people are reluctant to share knowledge with strangers, it is necessary to ensure team members know one another.

8. Ensure role clarity and task ambiguity. Cooperation increases when the roles of individual team members are clearly defined but the path to the achieving the team’s goal is left somewhat ambiguous. Task ambiguity promotes creative thinking and collaboration.

WHY TEAMS DON’T WORK

WHY TEAMS DON’T WORK

By Diane Coutu

Teams consistently underperform, despite the extra resources they have, because of problems with coordination, motivation, and competition. Team expert Professor J. Richard Hackman argues that while even the best leaders cannot guarantee that their teams will deliver results, they can increase the likelihood of their success by setting the following conditions:

*The team is “real.” Leaders must be ruthlessly clear about who is on the team and who is not. Sometimes this requires forcing ill-suited members off the team.

*The team has a compelling direction. Leaders must articulate a clear direction to ensure members do not pursue different agendas. Members must know and agree on the work they are collaborating on.

*The team has expert coaching. When it comes to group processes, teams need guidance from expert coaches who can:

*Run launch meetings to orient team members with the tasks at hand.

*Help teams conduct midpoint reviews to determine what is working and what is not.Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 10.55.15 am

*Regularly reflect on finished work to identify successes and shortcomings and how members can make the best use of their experiences the next time around.

*The team has a designated deviant. To avoid complacency, leaders must assign “deviants,” or naysayers who challenge their teams’ desire for homogeneity.

Leading with RESPECT

Teams of all types have the best chance to become SuperTeams when their leaders understand the critical importance of RESPECT. This includes the following elements:Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 2.55.05 pm

*Recognition: Making sure that people are recognized individually and appropriately for their contributions.

*Empowerment: Giving team members the autonomy and decision-mak ing authority they need to get things done.

*Supportive feedback: Providing prompt, actionable feedback on a routine basis.

*Partnering: Acting as an ally and advocate for team members.

*Expectations: Ensuring that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and equitable.

*Consideration: Recognizing that team members are human and need understanding and thoughtfulness.

*Trust: Demonstrating confidence in team members by trusting them with important tasks.