Memo to the New Team 2/22/13
To the New Team:
You may be wondering why you don’t have more direction. It’s intentional.
The advantage of new teams is no history.
The advantage of being told what to do is safety. Freedom, on the other hand, makes the storming process more turbulent but the result is ownership.
You have the big picture and I trust you.
Your first few meetings include searching for clarity of roles, function, and identity.
Searching for clarity feels confusing and awkward.
Search for clarity with optimism.
Be realistic about your challenges without becoming pessimists. Don’t bury your head in the sand. If you do, you’ll fail. But…
Trust your ability to find answers.
Norming is the third stage of team formation:
- Esprit de corps emerges. Respect and connection describe relationships. Norming results from working through storming. Allow time for bonds to form.
- Shared goals create focus and guide decisions. It takes time for personal agendas to fade and the big picture to come into focus.
- Rules of relationship are established. Everyone agrees on how to treat fellow team members. Some team members need more prep time than others, for example. This will be acknowledged and respected.
Go to: “Memo to the New Team,” for info on the first two stages of team formation.
Five questions to ask yourselves:
- How can I help others fit in?
- How can I support others?
- How can I show respect to the talent of others?
- How can we move forward? Teams spiral into negativity apart from forward movement. Small comes before big.
- How can we be bold without being foolish?
Bonus tip: Put the person with the most complicated schedule in charge of scheduling meetings.
What brings teams together and creates high performance environments?
Great tip, “Put the person with the most complicated schedule in charge of scheduling meetings”.
As a person who’s schedule (during normal working hours) is normally booked solidly about a week in advance, with gaps appearing in weeks 2 and beyond, I find it:
1) Absolutely necessary to have a high-performing Executive Assistant to take charge of my schedule to allow reprioritization so that I do what is essential, rather than succumbing to the tyranny of the urgent.
2) Useful when people offer to meet or call outside of normal working hours.
3) Irritating and ineffective when people ask “Can you help out on Tuesday when company XYZ comes to visit?” without specifying who is coming, what the purpose of the visit and expected outcomes are, what message they want me to convey, what the agenda is, who is taking minutes and what is the specific time for the meeting. It is even more irritating when I learn about it the day before, even though the meeting was in the works for weeks, or when the lack of meeting discipline comes from upper executive ranks.
End of rant…
Thank you Marc.
Great rant! Love the importance of enough information to prepare for meetings.
I’m a talk and think at the same time person. I have to understand that not everyone is like that. I also need to appreciate that my approach isn’t always effective.
I think philosophy, alignment, engagement bring teams together and direction, focus and perseverance create high performance environment.
Leadership philosophy about where organization dream to reach and by what period is the main fundamental for successful leadership philosophy. Then alignment of people and resources is second important part. And finally comes the engagement in task,activities,action to achieve those dreams. Three components make performing team. But this is only one side of success. Second part is creating performing environment. Which can be done by showing direction from time to time by management and updating where we have reached and how much we need to move more. Focus is the effort to see and visualize organizational goal in all the actions. Then perseverance is the most important component that makes team member to test their will power when success is not coming easily. That time, team member need to make effort with greater zeal and passion. And leadership of management ensure such vigor, zeal and passion to achieve the goal.
Thank you Ajay,
Here’s what you made me think about, define the win.
At this moment, the team I’m writing to can’t define the win. They are in the process.
They understand values and the big picture of their mission. But putting the win in clear language will take some time.
My approach to guiding them is to work with their team-leader but to avoid going to their meetings or offering advice to individual members.
We’re very early in the process. Thanks for your insights.
On Memo to the new team,
DO provide them with some basic direction and anchor points, or the team will wind up painting the bathrooms and doing a lot of easy things that do not have much overall impact.
If teams have a totally open space and are a bit unsure of the lay of the land, it is my experience that they will go after doing something — something that is high visibility, low risk, low cost and seen as easily accomplished.
What happens after that? Well, are they benefitting? Is the organization benefitting?
Normal discovery in most organizations goes like this”
1. Initial ridicule
2. Violent passionate opposition
3. Acceptance as the totally obvious
4. Blissful ignorance of the group as to what was involved
We also know that the 6 Phases of a Typical Project Management Approach look something like this:
Enthusiasm for the initiative
Disillusionment with initial results
Panic as things fall apart
Search for the Guilty
Punishment of the Innocent
Praise and Honor for the Non-Participants
Six Phases of a 2nd Project then, tend to follow these steps
Mild enthusiasm combined with unexpressed general concern
Search for volunteers
Avoidance of involvement
Search for anything positive
Discussion of 3rd project is usually tabled for later discussion. Much later…
Maybe, in some workplaces, we can just let things go. But I think that it is just so easy to provide some direction and push, we should do that.
And have FUN out there, too!
Thank you Dr. Scott.
I enjoy your contributions more and more. This topic seems to be one of your sweet spots.
My personal delight in ambiguity has often be a frustration for those around me. The new team leader is more organized and loves creating environments that “assure” success. I’m listening to his passions and going with his needs. I’m counting on this approach to be the source of enough clarity without becoming over directive.
PS … maybe the bathroom needs painted
PSS … early small wins serve a great purpose if they fuel the big stuff later. 🙂 IMHO
Just win baby!!!!!
When it is all boiled down people engage for money or praise.
Most people are also joiners, so designing a system that includes and appreciates their input gives them a sense of belonging.
It is also wise to get as much brain power involved in solving issues. Just two people the brain power goes from one to eleven. So a team of five or six would have the brain power equal to the population of China!!!
Ok so math is not my strong suit.
Here is the deal. When in a few years I am on the golf course and others are responsible for getting stuff done I will not care how they do it. Team, individual, outsource, dumb luck, Yada Yada Yada!!!
All I will ever tell any of them is just win baby and figure it out! That is what I am paying you for, now lets be I got a four footer for eagle!!!!
Scott. By the way. Great post Dan. Very good info.
Thank you Scott.
If the brainpower of five equals all of china…what does the brainpower of china equal?
Winning feels good! Now if we can just clarify the win.
Lol brain power of china….lets loan money to the USA!!!!
Hate to say it as an all American dude bit I think it is working out pretty pretty good for them.
Think clarifying the win starts with clearly defining the goal at the start. More cleat defined easier for folks to recognize they arrived .
Great advice. Practical and realistic. I especially like that your advice centers on making people and connections the central focus. In corporate America–business and the bottom line–seem to be a higher priority than forming solid, high performing teams.
Hi Janine The last two LF’s on teams particularly the five questions at the end of today’s post. Blessings upon you and your family. Bruce
I have a new team.thanks for the advice