The analysis and questioning of Australia’a under performance, particularly in the swimming, has begun already; and the Games of the XXX Olympiad are not even over yet.
With such navel gazing going on, it reminded us of a very recent experience when our own sense of team was questioned, by no less than our Director, in a team review.
Below, faciliator Justin Peckett recounts his story of what he calls a watershed moment; when we realised we had allowed ourselves to drift from our own trademark.
I have been very fortunate as a facilitator at Leading Teams that I have been constantly challenged and supported to be the best I can be. In Leading Teams speak, I strive to be the ‘World’s Best Facilitator’.
We have a clearly defined Trademark (how we want to be seen) and a set of agreed Trademark Behaviours (how we need to behave to achieve our Trademark) that underpin all aspects of how we function as an organisation.
A significant change to the structure (we call this the mechanics) to the business led to some subtle and not so subtle changes in attitude and, in turn, behaviour (the dynamics) from a few of our more influential members of the team (myself included). Upon reflection, a strategy I employed was to ‘find’ a couple of sympathisers to my reservations and together we slowly began to disengage from the rest of the team as opposed to addressing our issues head on.
Like all issues not addressed at the right time and in the right way, they all come to a head at some point. That time came for us at a recent team meeting where it became obvious that we had a team within a team and that was never going to be an acceptable situation for the business moving forward.
It was time for a rigorous review of where Leading Teams was at and more importantly where we wanted to go. To kick start the review we were asked 3 key questions by one of our Directors:
- Which 3 words would you use to describe how you feel right now?
- What do you want us to do as your leaders?
- What are you prepared to do?
For me, the third question hit me like a tonne of bricks. It is one thing to expect the leaders to act, however, it’s far more powerful when I ‘take responsibility’ for my choices and commit to being a productive member of the team.
As a group we discussed our individual answers to these questions and then focused on the themes.
By working through some challenging questions and engaging in open and honest conversations with each other we identified the main issue being that we had a gap around ‘teamwork’ – we addressed what teamwork looks like for us in our environment and what it doesn’t look like. Importantly, we agreed on individual and team actions which has realigned us and enabled us as individuals and as a team to move forward very quickly.
The timely review led us to the realisation that we had ‘drifted’ from our Trademark and that I, along with all of my team mates, were responsible for allowing each other to behave in a way that was both unproductive and incongruent with how we wanted to be as a team. Just having a Trademark is not enough to guarantee elite performance; it takes a lot of effort and genuine interest to make it work just like poor performing teams invest a lot of time physically and emotionally to being an average team.
As a result, we have added two specific behaviours to our Trademark to help address our identified gaps around teamwork – the key now for me is to live and breathe the behaviours and challenge and support others to do the same.
It was a watershed moment for us all – the consequences will be significant for me, the team and our business moving forward just as they would have been had we not been prepared to ‘roll the sleeves up’ and engage in the genuine conversation with each other and be absolutely committed to resolution.
The team has renewed energy and enthusiasm and I feel absolutely aligned to my fellow team mates and the business as a whole. Another example of getting the Dynamics right in order to support the Mechanics and drive improved individual and organisational performance.