Change your shoes

We can become entrenched in our attitudes and beliefs. Change viewpoints … assume you are one of your team members and watch your energy shift. If you are having difficulty with this one, find a pair of shoes that are quite different and walk around in them for a while. Symbolically this might help you shift your perspective and energy and communicate differently with your team members.

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Today’s blog is based on the 4 of diamonds, a communications teamwork tip from our Teamwork Explorer.

What’s the leader’s role in creativity?

One of our favourite workshops to facilitate is creativity and some leaders get nervous about the idea of holding back on critical analysis of their employees’ wild ideas. For some, the idea of defining the boundaries or playing field helps them empower their people while allowing them to sleep at night 😉

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Gnarly roots

While out walking on the beach a month ago, I ran across this fallen tree with the most amazing gnarly roots. It reminded me of the complexity of interpersonal communications on some teams. We sometimes need a lot of patience to unravel issues and get back on the same page.

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Everything is just fine …

I’m teaching a teams workshop with the University of Alberta today, and inevitably someone talks about being on a team that goes sideways. What I find fascinating is that most times people know something has been brewing but thought it would just “blow over.” Trust me, it never does. It takes courage to surface issues and may feel uncomfortable but that is a whole lot better than dealing with the broken trust that happens after things blow up.

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How aligned are you?

Having a powerful vision is one of the defining characteristics of leaders, especially when it comes to leading teams. While devoting time to creating understanding among team members about your vision is important, regularly checking in with and creating alignment is even more important. Regularly check in with the vision through asking the following:

    What do you think we should start/stop doing on this team (project)?
    What are the three best and three worst examples of us living our vision?
    On a scale of 1-10 how are people doing, how is our stress level, how do we feel about the progress on the project, etc.?
    What is one thing we need to do to better align our actions with our vision?

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This blog is based on the 3 of hearts from our Teamwork Explorer cards.

Save your team some time

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Does your team have the same conversation over and over and/or not follow through on your decisions? Clearly documenting decisions is one way to avoid this. It’s also useful to mention the decision making strategy employed and who was involved in the decision as well as the outcome of the decision. This blog is based on the three of clubs from our Teamwork Explorer cards and iPhone app.

Being curious

Yesterday I blogged about an amazing group of people who are making great things happen in Victoria. The word that came up over and over throughout the day was curious, and I observed that this was a pretty curious group and that their curiosity led to some amazing results. The room also buzzed with excitement and energy. This doesn’t always happen when we work with groups. Sometimes we spend a lot of time trying to chip away at the brick walls in people’s minds. What’s your curiosity quotient and how does that impact the teams you work on?

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The good, bad, and ugly about teams

While it was fun to draw today’s visual about dysfunctional teams (perhaps it was cathartic ;)), I am happy to say there is also good news according to a research study into teamwork by the University of Phoenix. Chad Brooks reports that 95% of people believe teamwork is a critical skill in today’s workplace, but that:

  • 40 percent of those who have worked on a team in the workplace have seen a verbal confrontation among team members, while 15 percent have seen an argument turn physical
  • 40 percent of workers have watched as one team member placed the blame on another for something that went amiss
  • 32 percent have worked with team members who started a rumor about another employee in the group

  • Clearly we can all learn more about healthy teamwork!

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    Observed in Hawaii

    “What is that crazy woman doing?” I said to Dave, as we approached the coordinates for the cache. He didn’t answer, as he was preoccupied with reading the hints for the cache. The woman continued to look intently at the ground beneath the tree and then sat down and looked even more intently at the ground, picking something up and examining it every once in a while.

    “She looks homeless, poor thing. Probably been out all night, strung out on something or other.” In a few minutes, she got up and wandered down the street.

    “I think the cache is just over here,” Dave said and he started rummaging in the bushes. I went over to where the woman had been and started looking at the ground.

    “You two look like you are wandering around looking for wiliwili seeds,” a man walked up to me and said.

    “What in the heck are wiliwili seeds?” I asked cautiously, letting my paranoia get the best of me and thinking we had wandered into the middle of a tourist scam. I grabbed my purse tighter and was glad I had left my credit cards and precious technology in the hotel room.

    “They are little seeds that fall off this big tree you’re under … only at certain times of the year. They are bright red and people collect them to make jewelry,” he replied. He bent down and picked one up. “Here’s one. They are becoming quite rare and jewelry makers are finding it harder and harder to find them.”

    Hmmmm … mystery solved. I felt like an eejit (as Dave would say). How quickly I forget the things I teach about checking one’s assumptions!

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    What’s your default setting?

    What’s your default setting? When I can find the best in myself and others, great things happen 🙂

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