Trust, Transparency, and Teamwork: Easy to Say, Not Always Easy Achieve, and What You Can Do to Change That
There must be something in the air, in that span of three days, three different organizational directors, in three different fields talked to me about their frustrations with their current teams. Or lack of real teams.
Trust, Transparency, and Teamwork:
Easy to Say Not Always Easy Achieve
“I want my staff to be rooted in 3 values, trust, transparency and teamwork. All three are lacking now. I know I, they, can get there, but I don’t HOW we’ll get there. Can you help?”
-David, National Manufacturing Company, Department Head.
David is 6 weeks into his role, and he’s stymied by a department full of people, including the managers who are a loosely-associated group, trying to get things done on their own, covering their backsides and then going home. That is workgroup, not a team, because they’ve not done the work required to become a team. David’s ready to change that. And I’ll help him.
It is clear that many of his staff have limiting beliefs about certain team members and those individuals’ productivity and effectiveness. And there are limiting beliefs about how teams are handled in their organization. We’ll bring the managers together to:
- Get clear on their own values and team values;
- Develop a distinct goal up front for the department;
- Set clear expectations for each team member to know what they can expect from each other, and ensure everyone is accountable and;
- Decide on a way to clear up setbacks and move forward.
With those elements in place that the thy can begin to trust and believe in each other enough to have open, honest communication that strengthens relationships and work together to improve productivity, moving the team towards high quality results.
Doing the Work and Breaking Breading Bread Together Works
“Well no wonder people feel under under appreciated. The past is pressing in with all of these outdated files crammed in to old 4 drawer cabinets, lining every wall in every office. People don’t talk with each other. The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. There are no organizational structures that support creating synergy.”
-Diana, Operations Director, Regional Economic Development Organization.
Two days on the job and Diana’s already weeding out the physical clutter and bringing people together. She rounded up the CEO and all of the senior management team to clear out several offices, packing-up files for the archives and readying the excess, outdated furniture to go to a non-profit resale shop. Everyone pitched-in, felt good about what they did, and enjoyed a well-earned sandwich a cold drink at the end of the day. Diana knows how you build chemistry as a team, through human interaction, shared purpose and direction. Next week they are tackling an office. She’s also starting a series of one-to-one and group meetings to continue to get to know all of the staff and start a norm of cross-pollinating ideas.
Ownership and Accountability is Not Announced it is Earned, Together
“We’ve done a good job building a brand and developing a base, for this project, but we don’t have a long term end goal, and clear strategy. We struggle with knowing what to ask our base advisory board and staff to do. Scattered, ad hoc, limited, and superficial are the words that come to mind, not committed, accountable, focused and effective.”
-Dana, Deputy Director, Statewide Non-Profit
Dana, like David is poised to refocused and recalibrate her loose collective into an effective, finely tuned team. What’s different is her staff and advisory board do trust each other, but they lack a well defined long-term direction and common message to share with their base.
Dana could hold-up in her office to pick a goal and plot path to get her desired results, but she knows that’s not good leadership in this case. Instead we discussed bringing key staff members and influential advisory board members together to decide a very clear goal and a theory of change for how to meet that goal. Once they all know know where they are going, then the group can figure out who should be on the team, the right roles for members to play, etc. People are more likely to do what they decide on than on what someone decides for them.
The First Question to Ask to Develop a High-Performing Team
The first question I get clear about when working with organizations to cultivate high performing teams is “Are you entirely sure you want a high-performing team or are you fine with a somewhat inefficient, friction-prone workgroup that gets stuff done?”
What is it you really want for your people? And are you ready to do the work to get it?