How to get your team unstuck…
Are you part of a team that’s stalled and are you starting the year short of ideas on how to kick start your efforts? In the Nov/Dec 18 Harvard Business Review, the authors of ‘Unite Your Senior Team’, discuss what it takes for a team to create a growth strategy and liken this to the murmurations created as starlings swirl and swoop around each other, trying to land at the end of a day and settle for the night.
If you really want to move your team forward then getting deep alignment will drive new focus and attention…asking…why does your team exist? what’s it there to deliver? how will you know when you’ve been successful?
Here’s some simple and startling effective ways to invigorate and re-energise your team to reach new, otherwise obscured, heights.
Firstly, establish common ground on what business you’re in, how you’ll innovate and what need you’re meeting. This is meant in the context of developing a growth strategy but to my mind, if any team feels stuck then it will need to initiate a growth spurt; add some fertiliser and point itself towards the sun if you like!
Secondly, expose misalignments. Understand your group think and expose differences of opinions – they should not be avoided, rather encouraged, in order to foster creativity and growth. Conflict arises only when team members are unable to optimise these differences of opinion. And so, managing conflict is more about engaging in productive dialogue around interests vs. positions, than it is about diffusing apparent disagreements.
Thirdly, get physical. We spend a long time in static meetings trying to establish alignment and agreement through extended periods of dialogue and conversation. Sometimes we need to shake it up a bit! So, go for walking meetings, change your venue, cast votes, give each other questions to answer from other perspectives, draw polarity maps, and share each other’s opinions and views using dynamic exercises which utilise floor spaces, wall charts, pictures and objects; you might need a facilitator to help you with this.
And lastly, plan the path forward. But don’t draw up a timetable, be more impactful by trying some of the following:
- write a compelling story to share with your staff
- shake up your governance and pilot a more streamlined approach
- create management structures that get things done more efficiently
- design new metrics and incentives to re-engage yourself and your teams
As I reflect on these ideas in the HBR article it reminds me of the Storming phase in Tuckman’s Team development stages, and mostly certainly Tuckman’s observation that every team goes through that ‘renewal stage’ at some point in its life, don’t we all!
I hope your start to 2019 proves to be reinvigorating and reenergising, with plenty of new doors opening up for you and your teams.
Ref: Nov/Dec HBR – Uniting Your Senior Team: Kummerli, Anthony and Messerer.