Thank you for inspiring me to document musings and learnings from the field of leadership, team performance and conscious change. I trust you'll find the exercises, resources and insights useful whether you are a leader, team player, coach/consultant or change agent.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Barriers to High Performance on Teams

While it's important to understand and apply the factors of team success it's just as important to anticipate and illuminate obstacles. The very diversity that engenders innovation, problem solving and synergy can interfere in optimal team work if it's not valued or respected.

Patrick Lencioni in his book "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" identifies absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results as the things that impede team performance.

Here are a few other ideas to explore if you are struggling to flow through interpersonal challenges that are a natural part of team work. How are you:
  • Giving voice to varying perceptions, assumptions and mindsets without making anyone wrong? 
  • Recognizing and minimizing team toxins (blame, defensiveness, stonewalling and contempt)?
  • Understanding and honoring different work, leadership and communication styles?
  • Distinguishing between barriers (which can be overcome) and limitations (which are constraints that can't)?
  • Establishing meaningful and relevant direction?
  • Aligning individual and team needs?
  • Leveraging talents and fueling passions?
High performing teams expect obstacles because they inform and can change the course of any valuable endeavor for the better!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Balance or Congruence?

Work-life balance seems to be a constant challenge for those doing more with less. While the intent of this competency is for us to be healthy, happy and fulfilled the verbiage can actually create stress.

Career is one aspect of life. It not the opposite of home/family. Balance is not static. It requires subtle movement. Who you are is ever present regardless of the role you are playing.

What if work-life balance isn't about the hours you spend in one place or another, but about congruence. The more aligned and awake you are in all areas of life the less energy you'll spend trying to balance something that inherently can't be. Here are a few questions to get you started:
  • Do your personal values and the organizations align? 
  • Are you different at home and at work? How so? What do you gain? lose?
  • Does your inhale equal your exhale?
  • Do your four intelligences (physical, emotional, intellectual, intuitive) work together?
  • How do you show up in different roles (mother, boss, soccer player, team member, sister, customer, board member, volunteer, etc.)?
  • Where are your authentic and egoic selves at odds?
  • What supports your capacity to do and be?
  • How much unnecessary tension do you hold in your body? (Try standing straight using only 10% muscle)
  • Do your thoughts, words and actions match?

Friday, February 17, 2012

4 Revealing R's

One way to reflect on your leadership impact is to periodically consider the 4 R's- Results, Relationships, Reputation and Resilience.
  • Results: What are you striving for? Are you achieving the outcomes you desire? Does what you contribute add value? Does what you are working on enliven or deplete?
  • Relationships: Who matters to you? What is the quality of your interaction with others? What relationships are evolving, dying or stagnant? Where are you dependent, independent or interdependent? 
  • Reputation: How are you perceived? What is your status in your organization? Is it accurate? Is it current? What PR is needed?
  • Resilience:  How flexible are you? Do you anticipate, avoid, fight or ignore change?
Your answers to the 4 R's will create a 5th. Revelation...the cornerstone of change!

Source: A client shared this model but the original source is unknown.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

All Voices Heard?

In Team System work we invite teams to be sure "all voices are heard" to illuminate insights, challenges, needs, barriers and solutions. If team members believe that this means "my idea will be used" or "I will get what I want" they are sure to be disappointed and engagement will actually drop. So, what is this team intelligence skill getting at?
  • Reality Check- How do you encourage and honor the good, the bad and the ugly?
  • Transparency- How can you make your thinking behind an idea visible and invite others to do the same?
  • Redundancy- What issues keep coming up and where do voices get louder?
  • Unpopular or Marginalized Perspectives- What is not being said?
  • Listening Beyond Right or Wrong - If 2% of what is said is true, what would it be? 
  • Communication Styles- How can you create space for introverted thinkers to contribute and extroverts to pause?
  • Choice- What do you need to accept, change or let go of? 
As you work with this practice, be sure team members understand what "all voices heard" really means. When in doubt, ask them!