Potentials Realized is a Canadian based Performance Improvement company. Founded by Effective Group Coaching author Jennifer Britton in 2004, we design and deliver customized programs in leadership development, teamwork and coaching.
This week’s Team Building Tip gets you as a team in dialogue around the question – "What’s another way of looking at that?” As teams and professionals it’s easy to get into our own rut of planning and action. Expanding our vantage point and incorporating different perspectives allows us a new vantage point. We may see things that are different, or were not visible before.
As I wrote last week around Focus, doing work in today’s context of ongoing change, requires us to challenge assumptions, and explore different perspectives. As a team how often are you taking time to ask yourself about the assumptions and embedded ways of working. Are they still current and relevant? Could they use an update? Enjoy your conversation this week! Jennifer
As I’ve been leading different types of conversations in the last few weeks through small group coaching, leadership training and keynotes, I have noticed that the conversation and focus is changing for many team members and leaders right now. In addition to thinking about what needs to get done, I’m also hearing a lot of leaders (and their teams) starting to look at opportunities for the new year.
Given that every week I am talking across a range of leadership and teamwork topics, I hear a wide variety of different areas, and key themes. If I had to identify five that I have been hearing a lot of opportunities around for the new year it would be: Getting better at hosting meetings. Think about how much time you have spent in meetings this week? This month? How many were face to face? How many were virtual? How effective were they? What would have made them more effective? Spending time getting better at meetings? Building in more time for strategic thinking and action. With technology has helped us get better at so many things, and does make it easier, distraction and focus are key elements for business success in an ever-changing environment. Scheduling in time for what’s important – Making sure we have the important items in our calendar and can get them done when we have energy. Daniel Pink’s book WHEN takes us into the realm of WHEN it is important to get things done. Circadian rhythms have been researched for many decades now, and many of us may be aware of what time of day is really best to get certain tasks done in. With the shift to mobile and remote work, many of us now have more flexibility in terms of how we operate and when we schedule our tasks. Getting better at knowing our strengths and styles – Some of my favorite days are spent with teams who are learning more about their strengths and styles, interfacing this with helping them understand more about team effectiveness. I am pleased to continue to be able to offer support for teams, groups and individuals around strengths and styles. Whether we are exploring the DiSC together or StrengthsFinder, these are powerful frameworks which help to support individuals “lean into” what they naturally do well during times of change and uncertainty. Change and uncertainty is the new norm for so many workplaces today.
Where do you want to put attention around for 2019? I hope that you will grab 15 minutes right now to make some notes for yourself and/or to schedule it in for focus. As Drucker wrote “What doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get done”.
As part of our wind down for the year, I wanted to post several very practical and tactical resource posts. Posts around books, apps and other resources I have seen teams and leaders leaning into this year. As a writer and avid reader, I am starting first with books as I am usually on the search at the library and bookstore for different offerings. Here are ten that I’ve found myself recommending a lot! Emotional Intelligence – The EQ Leader – Howard Stern. Emotional Intelligence continues with its popularity for good reason. These are the skills we need to succeed in an ever changing world – relationship building, self-management, understanding others and ourselves. Earlier this year I picked up a copy of the EQ Leader and have found it an invaluable read. The Coaching Habit – Michael Bungay Stanier – I love the way Michael’s book breaks down coaching into bite sized pieces for professionals of all kinds. A definite great read! Thanks for the Feedback – Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen – Feedback seems to be an ongoing thorn for leaders, teams and anyone who is in relationship with others (i.e. ALL OF US!). This is a great book which gets you thinking about what feedback can look and sound like. For those that do like to plan – take a look at the Bullet Journal - Ryder Carroll. I’ve been a convert of the Bujo (short form for Bullet Journal) Movement for several years now, finding that the blank planning spaces create a pause in my otherwise busy day. While I use a variety of different planning resources including my own upcoming Plan.Do.Track, I always have my trust Bullet Journal nearby which houses some of the Meta Learning and Themes of the Year. Amy Edmondson – Extreme Teaming. I’ve continued to recommend the writing and research of Amy Edmondson for many reasons to teams this year. Her research has focused on both the notion of psychological safety, as well as the concept of teaming, which captures the active evolution of teams today. Any of Amy’s books are a great read and an important primer for teams in understanding what she calls the 4 pillars of teaming – Speaking up, Collaboration, Experimentation and Reflection. What are the books you have been recommending to others this year?
This week’s EVC tip is a quote from Gene C. Hayden who wrote the following about Commitment.
I really like this quote and share it widely with teams that I work with as it gets to the core of some of the really important elements around commitment. I’m also including it here as a tip for teams as well. As we know, one of the essential ingredients or factors which helps teams excel is their commitment. Have you as a team discussed your commitment and what you are saying 100% YES to as a team? As you consider your 2019 goals, what can you ALL align around? What might need a second look?
This week’s Sunday post takes us back to a 2014 post around focus when I shared a quote from Daniel Goleman’s book on Focus.
In it, he writes the following: "For leaders to get results, they need all three kinds of focus. Inner focus attunes us to our intuitions, guiding values and better decisions. Other focus smooths out our connections to the people in our lives. an outer focus lets us navigate in the larger world. A leader tuned out of his internal world will be rudderless; one blind to the world of others will be clueless; those indifferent to the larger support within which they operate will be blindsided". (Goleman: Focus, pp 48)
In today’s VUCA world, taking time to focus is critical. Planning is still key, even if it becomes more of a contingency planning process. As someone who led in very uncertain contexts in my former life with my work in the humanitarian sector, when things are complex, planning becomes even more important. Unlike a traditional a to b to c to d model, contingency planning takes us through that and also gets us thinking into a cubed (A3).
This week’s Weekly Journaling Prompt brings us to #23 in the series. It’s the prompt, “What are three things you are grateful for?”. This question comes from the positive psychology movement that found that people who asked themselves this question were happier. Action for Happiness goes into a great description of some of the research and other supports, such as apps, that can support you with this gratitude practice. Check out their post here. It’s a great time of the year to start developing the practice of thinking about, and also speaking to, what we are grateful for, letting those around us know what we are thankful for. This week, build in some time to reflect regularly about the three things you are grateful for each day. You don’t have to do it every day, just a few times a week.
Last month I took at look at core teamwork skills, a critical area for success in any team. At this stage of the year, your budget allocation may still be available. With that in mind, I wanted to take us back to what I wrote only five weeks ago about key themes and ideas for your own team development. Here’s what I wrote in Teams365 1736. “This month we are going to focus on teamwork skills. Whether you work as an intact team, a project team or a remote team, teamwork skills are cross-cutting and help professionals at all stages of their careers do better work. The context of teamwork has changed. In the past, teams were together for longer windows, with much more stability. Today most teams experience ongoing change and team composition. Researcher Amy Edmonston terms this “Teaming” and writes, “actively building and developing teams even as a project is in process, while realizing that a team's composition may change at any given moment.” (Teaming, Edmonston 2013) She flags four behaviors as essential in the teaming context:
What are you doing to foster these areas? The teamwork skills we are going to explore this month are:
Working Across Differences
For each of the areas we’ll explore what the skill is about, why it’s important. What some of the differences are in the different types of teams today. I’ll also point you back to some of the many posts I’ve already written on these topics.” If you weren’t with us last month, I hope you’ll take some time this weekend to look at some of the blog posts I shared. You may also want to build in time to think about WHAT SKILLS your team could benefit from more resources, conversation and training around.
This week’s Team Building Tip brings us to #209 of the series. Aligned with our shift to a focus on year-end, this week’s question to surface with the team is the question: What needs to get completed by year end? As you think about year end, here are 14 common year-end activities you will want to budget time and space for:
Planning for new projects
Meeting with stakeholders (internal and external)
Communication planning for next year
Learning for 2018
Learning for 2019 (individual and team level)
Meeting with our bosses
Meeting with other key internal partners
What else would you add to the list? Enjoy! Jennifer
As we step into November the wave of year-end activities, celebrations and push may be rearing it’s head. Today’s post is a reminder of five key things to get in your team calendar for 2019 right now. As we’ve explored here at the Teams365 blog over the last 5 years, certain skills are critical for success – teamwork skills, coaching, difficult conversations, team development and reflection time. Five different things you may want to get into your calendars right now for the next year are:
Team meetings – Whether the entire team, or some of the team, attends, spending time on a regular basis to plan, and update, is key for alignment, communication and noticing what’s working and what’s not. Even if the team is remote, team meetings do need to happen on a regular basis. For further ideas on team meetings, check out the post on 8 Questions to be asking before any team meeting.
Team development – Regular team development meetings are critical – not just for
Feedback conversations – Once a year performance reviews are being replaced in many organizations with ongoing feedback conversations. With this shift, it’s common for organizations to be experiencing:
1. A sense on the part of the leader that coaching and feedback conversations are happening more frequently than they really are. Block in time to your schedule for these key 1-1s, being clear on whether you are coaching or providing feedback.
2. Feedback and coaching are often getting blended together under the same umbrella. These are actually two separate activities and the danger of them being lumped together is that the staff member may not know what type of conversation they are part of. Regardless off whether performance is good or not, it’s key to indicate when a performance conversation is a performance conversation. If changes are needed, this should be clear and non-negotiable.
On the other hand, coaching is voluntary initiative. The person being coached is the one “at choice” in terms of what they want to do. Coaching is about encouraging change. If a leader wants to prescribe change for the employee, coaching is not the right modality. That’s telling!
Like other activities, it is important to get key 1-1 time and conversations into your calendar. What have you noticed about what’s worked in terms of time, availability and openness to these types of activities? Block out some time right now.
3. Mentoring – Mentoring is beneficial to us at all stages of our development. Having a variety of formal and informal mentoring relationships is key to ongoing career progression. Whether we are mentoring or being mentored, it’s common for both parties to benefit from a balanced mentoring relationship. Have you scheduled mentoring into your calendar for 2019?
4. Team development – Beyond team meetings, we all benefit from formal and informal team development opportunities. Some research, including the 2016 Culture Wizard Survey, found that only 22% of virtual and remote teams benefited from team development. What are the activities you have scheduled for 2019?
5. Skill Development and ongoing learning – Whether we are a leader, or a team member, ongoing learning and skill development opportunities are key to keeping us equipped for the ongoing landscape of work. As I explored in Effective Virtual Conversations, the Virtual Learning Ecosystem today is vast. From attending MOOCS (Massive Online Open Courses) at Universities for Credit, to micro-learning modules, from webinars, to virtual team development, skills development and ongoing learning can take many forms. As a team have you discussed what skill development and ongoing learning each team member wants to undertake in the next year? What doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get done. Be sure to block dedicated time in your calendar for these five activities during 2019. Best wishes, Jennifer
As we step into the end of the year, scheduling key activities for your team is important before the year comes to a close. Some of the key activities you may want to include for your team are: A review session of accomplishments, lessons learned, based on what worked well, and didn’t work well. Planning sessions for 2019, with an annual and quarterly focus. Is every team member clear on what key priorities are? What key activities need to be accomplished? By when? What’s expected of them? How their work links with others on the team? Celebration sessions to acknowledge what you’ve accomplished during the year. One-on-one time with each team member supporting them in some review of the year and visioning and planning for the year ahead.