Interesting webinar by Mark de Rond, associate professor at the Judge Business School, Cambridge University and the author of The Last Amateurs and There is an I in Team.
Since a team is made up of individuals, there are many “I’s” in team and de Rond makes a great presentation on exploiting the value and mitigating the risks of team members.
To do so, create an environment where team members feel comfortable talking, having a dialogue.
de Rond suggest three rules for making this happen in a two-hour closed-door team meeting:
- Whatever we say here, stays here.
- No “throwing toys out of the crib” — stay with the discussion, stay in the room.
- When someone else talks, everyone else listens.
Next, de Rond suggests going around the table and having each team member:
- Articulate a good outcome for solving the problem at hand.
- Tell each other how the problem has made you feel — expose team members’ emotional connection to the problem.
- Tell each other now what you think the problem really is — it can appear benign after exposing the emotional connection.
- Articulate commitments you will meet to mitigate the problem.
Here are the six ways to improve your team and its performance:
- Choose the best team, not the best individuals.
- Identify what degree of difficult behavior you’re willing to tolerate when recruiting the most talented individuals.
- When bringing “star performers” into your team, be aware that performance doesn’t easily transfer.
- Be aware that those new to the team may need to “un-learn” what they know has made them successful in the past.
- Teams are often characterized by tensions. That makes the team uncomfortable, not dysfunctional.
- Create an environment in which people can voice unpopular truths and avoid the Abilene Paradox whereby the group collectively decides on a course of action that is counter to the preferences of any of the individuals in the group. This is a function of group members not wanting to “rock the boat.”
This last point is especially important for leaders and business owners who will benefit from empowering their employees to speak up even if what they have to say is in conflict with what the leader or boss wants.
I have worked with, and for, a number of companies where the employees just took orders from the boss and the boss was not to be questioned. There was no dialogue.
This is very disheartening for employees who are not empowered and ultimately a detriment to the business.
What steps are you taking to improving your team and their performance?