“Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust?”
― Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein
I'm going to go out on a limb here. I'll bet you've worked on (or are working on) a team that is an amalgam of previous groups.
Teams are consolidated to save money.
Teams are orphaned if they lose a leader.
Teams are shuffled to energize a strategy.
All of these may be valid but can result in inefficiency if we don't concern ourselves with what happens after assembly. If we stitch together teams hastily and then abandon them with no sense of self, we run the risk of that team malfunctioning. Crews struggling with identity issues are never a pretty sight.
This creation may even loose the best qualities of its members. Thrown into chaos, plagued by power struggles between cliques, and dealing with clashes of values, these teams start to flail wildly and can cause a lot of damage in the process of finding themselves.
When this happens we leaders can become disheartened and find ourselves writing off these problem-children. And this just compounds the problem.
If you are in the process of reanimating your organization through the formation of new teams from old, make sure you take the time to give them purpose. Otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for disaster.
Check out what it means to GET TEAMS TOGETHER with TWE>>
"I could no longer doubt the doom prepared for me by monkish ingenuity in torture."
- Edgar Alan Poe
Are Teams going back to their "old ways"?
Are groups holding on to previous behaviors and processes with a death-grip?
If you're a change leader, it's not their problem; it's yours.
When change-efforts starts to fizzle, stakeholders have taken what info they have, connected the dots and decided that the change is doomed. And who can blame them? They have a job to do.
Commonly when this happens, leaders crank-up the hype and spin can keep the transformation going. But "rah-rah" sessions won't save it. Results are what count.
Resentment and dissolution among will become contagious and commonplace if the project pendulums between promises of innovation followed by excuses and reversal, followed by innovation, followed by reversal, innovation, reversal... and so on.
Get good at sharing REALITY. Give stakeholders clear signs that you are making steady progress and momentum towards your promised outcomes. This way, even set-backs, and mistakes can be used as propellants and seen as lessons that help you go forward with more clarity.
Check out what it means to GET MOMENTUM with TWE>>
Employees having trouble thinking outside the box?
Are you Having trouble thinking inside a box?
Small offices can still be jammed-full of inspiration. Large spaces can be vacuous and devoid of spirit. Cubical walls can be high and isolating. Office doors can be always-open, inviting others to lean in an share what's on their mind.
I ask leaders to look less nature of a workspace and more at the "walls" that are present (visible and invisible). Offices, cubicles or open-concept spaces are not determinants of the creativity and connection present in a team - Design can help, but it won't counter a culture that inspires isolation and whispers.
It's interesting that many organizations still focus (and reward) on personal performance and productivity, while we try to engineer team connection. Shouldn't team connection and be included in assessments?
And if we're going to create spaces for teams, we have to ensure that our culture and incentive programs likewise adapt to inspire connections between people, collisions of thought and space for creativity.
Checkout what it means to GET CREATIVE with TWE>>
"The light.... it burns!" - Nosferatu
Entertaining new ideas and crazy questions may be challenging for a leader who's trying to keep the cart on the rails. Don't squash creativity. Employees offering of new ideas, even if the ideas are wacky, are a sign that staff is highly engaged. Entertaining these ideas gets them and keeps them engaged.
Even 5-10 minutes spent playing in this space with your staff will be a good investment. You'll be surprised how talking about possibilities for tomorrow adds energy and fuels the achievement of what's right in front of us today.
If you feel a tendency to draw the shades on your team's bright ideas - slap on some SPF 3000 sunscreen and step into the light with them.
“There are darknesses in life, and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.” - Bram Stoker, Dracula
Checkout what it means to GET CREATIVE with TWE>>
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Half-way is very different from half-hearted.
We're never done changing or transforming, so don't be stressed about not having everything locked-down. But as leaders, we must be crystal clear on where we are, where we're going and how we're getting there - and communicate this well.
There is no excuse for not being engaged in a transformation effort. Engagement does not mean passively following the herd - you must invest. For lasting change, I'll take engaged skeptics over blind followers any day
You can go slow,
You can go fast,
Just don't go half-fast.
"What do I have to do to get noticed?" There's a lot of talk about having "one team", but can employees articulate how they add the most value? Do leaders consistently recognize when good work is pivotal to strategic success?
Until Halloween I'm adding one of these "movie posters" each day - I hope it helps you reflect and maybe start a performance moment to hear how your team feels.
At this time of year, groups are knocking on my door collecting bottles, selling cookies and asking for support. It has me reflecting on instances where I'm asked to intervene on issues of customer and co-worker interaction. What I'm seeing at the door helps to explain the lack of decent customer service and collaborative instincts present in new grads and younger staff.
There is something both parents and leaders can do about it.
I grew up being a boy scout in the early eighties. To raise money for my troop, we used to have annual bottle drives. We would walk the communities, in pairs, ringing doorbells, while a parent would follow in a vehicle, which we would load with donated bottles and cans. When asking for donations, even the youngest and shyest were taught to smile and be polite. We all wore the uniform of our troop and would diligently explain what the donations would fund. I remember being given a script when I was seven years old, which I memorized and used into my early teens:
“Hi, I’m Tim Sweet from the Dalhousie 141 scouts. I’m asking for bottles today to pay for our camps and activities this year. I also want you to know that the 141 is here to serve. If you need help ‘we’ll do our best!’ Can we do anything for you today?”
Whether the homeowner contributed or not, we kindly thanked the neighbour before leaving. Sometimes, even without a donation, my fellow scouts and I found ourselves raking leaves or moving a pile of junk to the curb when asked, true to our motto.
BRAINS! Without a clear vision to follow - teams either amble aimlessly and swarm issues reactively. Sound familiar?
Until Halloween I'm adding one of these performance moment "movie posters" each day. Based on real-world issues that TWE clients are overcoming, I hope they'll help stir up a cauldron of good conversations.
I hope you have some serious-fun with these.
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