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Are Your Online Offerings Merely Engaging?



February 18th, 2015 by Nanette Miner, Ed.D
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In a course I teach on behalf of the Association for Talent Development (ATD) on adult learning theory, there is always a robust discussion regarding the difference between education, training, and learning – are they different? And if so – what is the difference?

Recently it occurred to me that the same type of precise definition is necessary when it comes to online learning, between the terms engagement, interaction, and collaboration.

Engagement
Engagement might be considered the “level one” of online behavior.  Engagement includes things like highlighting phrases on the whiteboard, or having the bullets on your slides build one at a time.  Engagement captures people’s attention, keeps their interest, and keeps them from walking down the hall to fetch a cup of coffee. As a facilitator and it doesn’t matter if I have an audience of one or an audience of 100-my engagement techniques will probably not change.

Interaction
Interaction would then be “level two” of online behavior.  Interaction requires a response of some type from the participants in the online event.  Perhaps they will raise their hand to offer a story, or give a green check to indicate that they have finished reading a case study and are ready to move on.  In the same course referenced in the introduction, there is a slide with the following statement:

7-10 days after training, we remember ______ of what was taught in a training class:

- 10 – 20%

- 20 – 30%

- 30 – 40%

Participants are asked to make a mark on the whiteboard to indicate what they believe the answer is, and then the correct answer appears via animation in the blank space of the statement.  In this case, again, the size of the audience really doesn’t matter as I’m simply asking for a response of some type.  It also doesn’t matter whether their answer is correct or not because the content is designed to “move on” regardless of how they answer, or how many people answer.

Collaboration
Collaboration is the pinnacle of online interaction (“level three”).  The size of the audience matters and the quality of their participation is crucial.  With collaboration you are expecting the participants to create the content in some way. For instance, you might provide five common objections that a salesperson encounters and ask the participants to work together to craft the five best responses to those objections.  Your five responses will certainly be better as a result of multiple people offering their input as opposed to asking each individual to craft their own response.  You might break your large group into smaller groups and, through the use of breakout rooms, task each group with brainstorming best practices for different aspects of the giving a presentation: opening a presentation, anticipating questions from the audience, using multimedia or technology in the presentation, and closing the presentation.

In addition to higher quality responses as a result of collaboration, the “next steps” are often dependent on the outcome of the collaborative work.  Until participants brainstorm best practices for giving a presentation they can’t go ahead and practice giving presentations.  Until the salespeople brainstorm the best responses to an objection they shouldn’t be making sales calls in which they might encounter an objection.

For online learning, it is crucial that the design and delivery of your offerings include collaboration. If a presentation is merely engaging or interactive, in all likelihood it simply could have been recorded and sent to the participants. Collaboration is the “realization” of the value of having participants come together simultaneously.

How To Re-Energise Your Career

February 12th, 2015 by Graham Scrivener
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This article is a summary of Share Radio`s Career Clinic interview from 22nd January 2015.

Listen to the full interview here.

The beginning of the year is a time of reflection on our personal and professional life with many looking to change jobs. According to ILM research, a third of us will move on in our jobs this year mainly due to lack of development and poor management.

This is not necessarily a matter of being fundamentally unhappy with the organisation or career direction and it might simply come down to identifying what would make you more engaged and motivated to come to work. Some people will tend to look outside of  the organisation. UK government figures issued recently stated that there are 750 thousand job vacancies available – so there are opportunities. However our research tends to demonstrate that a lot of people want to stay where they are, look at developing that role and get more from it within their existing company. A lot of people are risk averse as well and not naïve to the fact that the grass isn’t always greener.

There is a number of diffGroup of Business People Working on an Office Deskerent tactics you can take. According to the context you are in and who you are as a person, the first thing is to recognise some of the signs around why are you dissatisfied about your job. There is a number of ways you can do it. The most obvious one is to go and talk to your manager and if they are a good leader, theywould be prepared to sit down and talk it through and give you feedback. Also, take time out to talk to some of your peers. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, there are also some great online self-assessment resources, such as MAPP, Mayers Briggs or Gallup where you can follow well-constructed surveys and the output of those will  show you what your real strengths are and what you really value in your work. These conversations and tools can really get you grounded and back to what it is that you really like about what you do.

Losing talented people and not being able to identify it quick enough is a key concern for organisations. Increasing pay is an easy fix; however looking at UK statistics pay isn’t the key driver why people change jobs. It’s about opportunities, development and the potential to grow. From an individual perspective, it’s all about fundamentally identifying what it is that drives and motivates you. You could be in an existing job thinking you are not getting very well paid, but research would show, and our experience at Forum would demonstrate, that if you just get a pay rise, the chances are that you will still leave in about 6 months’ time. If you are clear about what gets you out of bed in the morning, you will tend to find a career or even opportunities in your existing job that drive you.

From an organisation’s perspective, research shows that the most successful organisations are those where employees are motivated and engaged. So a lot of leading organisations are surveying their staff and talking to them to try to measure and figure out how happy their people are. This might sound soft and fluffy, but experience demonstrates that it’s a key indicator for the success of organisations. Good leaders are trying to look at their people and understand how they can get improved and developed opportunities and try to get ahead of the game.

It’s all about giving people opportunities.

Down-under, East or West: Some Leadership Truths Transcend Culture

February 5th, 2015 by Colin Walter
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Whilst travelling in Australia a few years ago, I listened to a replay of an interview on ABC Radio with legendary and controversial ex-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. Described as the “best Prime Minister Australia ever had” Whitlam was a remarkable character and leader who in many ways completely transformed Australia. A part of the interview which has stayed with me is where he describes some of the less popular “reform” paths he took Australia down.

Essentially Whitlam held that it was the responsibility of leaders to make tough, value-based decisions despite the opposition of their electorate, because it was the right thing to do. Further, and critically, that the understanding and support of the electorate would follow through the instructional/educational aspect of the outcomes of those decisions. Basically, training a nation through doing. Wow. Sounds a bit paternalistic depending on how you look at it, but it certainly is thought provoking.

Amongst Whitlam’s many quotable philosophies, this one really stands out for me as insightful commentary on leadership. Having worked across Asia for more than a decade now, first as a management consultant and then working with corporates from within a large NGO, the entities that I have found to be most successful, have been those with a similar approach to leadership.

What is this approach?02.04.15 - Lead By Example

  • Clear and visible commitment to values-based decision making
  • Clear and visible accountability for those decisions
  • Consistency – holding the line unwaveringly despite opposition
  • Commitment to doing the right thing over the desire to retain power

That these tenets of leadership are present across many geographies, both Asian and elsewhere, is significant. That cultures and the “way of doing business around here” varies dramatically from country to country is obvious and challenging. The significant part is that clear, visible and consistent leadership seems most often to transcend this national or local business culture.

Of the entities that I have worked with, the more successful and constructive corporate cultures, (regardless of country-specific cultural differences) have been those whose leaders create and maintain their internal corporate culture through steadfast example.

These leaders have:

  • A style of leadership  that is strong, visible and consistent
  • Systems and processes  that are unambiguous, supported by fair  performance and accountability frameworks
  • Created and maintain a culture that embodies these values through their leadership behaviour and  where the gap between actual and espoused is minimal or non-existent

All of which taps into an essential part of human nature — as a parent, I have found that my kids see beyond my careful rhetoric (the things I say) to my actual beliefs (the things I do). They download and imbed the latter. Fortunately, there are no damaging discrepancies so far, though I do have an unhealthy suspicion of rugby referees that I assiduously hide but suspect the kids are on to …

In the same, way leaders need to live their leadership or their people and cultures will download and imbed the real them. There are too many examples of purely rhetorical leadership breeding toxic corporate cultures.

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For more insights into accountability in leadership, download Forum’s recent research article, “Creating a Culture of Engagement and Accountability.”

The Catch-22 of Female Leadership

January 22nd, 2015 by Nithya Ramaswamy
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In the recent G20 Summit, the topic on female leadership caught my eye. Women taking on leadership positions are becoming a first or an emerging trend in many countries and organisations. Looking at the most extraordinary female leaders in the world, whether it is Angela Merkel, first female Chancellor of Germany, Dilma Vana Rousseff, first female President of Brazil, Sujan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube or Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, they are all authentic leaders in their own right, and aren’t afraid to think innovatively or lead differently. As promising and encouraging as this sounds, the disturbing fact is that female leaders continue to be pigeon-holed despite their leadership abilities and potential.

A recent Gallup poll on leaders in the United States showed that if given a choice between a male and female leader when taking up a new role, Americans strongly lean towards male bosses. The stereotype of the female leader being the “Iron-fisted Ice Queen” who sets targets difficult for any human being to meet still persists. Such stereotype is not uncommon in Asia as well. Yet, the Catch 22 of this is that women who show concern or emotion at the workplace are seen as lacking courage and resilience to make tough decisions and lead change.

Another Catch 22 is where women are often perceived to be single and lonely, resulting in them being “married” to their jobs. Female leaders, despite their capabilities and leadership strengths are sometimes labelled with varying notions of polarity – weak vs. tough, emotional vs ruthless, masculine vs feminine, and the list goes on. When will we as female leaders be freed of these Catch 22 stereotypes and truly be perceived and enabled as leaders in action? Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s advice to women is to be resilient amidst these stereotypes, asserting, “Stop whinging, get on with it and prove them all wrong…it’s only a downward spiral once you’ve cast yourself as a victim.”

There is a long way to go for organisations world-wide in promoting diversity in leadership and enabling women to realise their leadership potential by providing development scaffolds through their leadership journey such as mentorship schemes and impactful leadership development programmes. Forum’s definition on leadership where leaders are not titles or roles waiting to be assumed but an ongoing journey of discovery where one is continuously learning by doing and reflecting, is the approach that I would recommend to increase the pipeline of female leaders in the years to come. Women in the workforce, aspiring to become leaders need to take charge of their development, understand how to establish credibility, what the common stereotypes are and how to avoid falling into potential role traps by leading with confidence, adaptability and courage.

Can a Classroom Trainer “Cut It” in the Virtual Learning Environment? 



November 18th, 2014 by Nanette Miner, Ed.D
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Lately I’ve been doing a lot of coaching of corporate classroom trainers, helping them to transition their skills to the virtual delivery environment. It’s been an “aha moment” for me to realize that some folks just aren’t “cut out” for virtual delivery. 
Purely from my experience, here are some of the techniques that work in the classroom but do not work in vILT (virtual instructor led training).

Asking Open Ended Questions
- In the classroom, open-ended questions encourage participation; online they encourage confusion. “Who has a manager who is a poor communicator?” Crickets, crickets versus “Who has a manager who is a poor communicator? Raise your hand.” Open-ended questions typically get no response in the online classroom – primarily because folks just don’t know how to respond.

An Example 
- While we often look to an expert to provide us “lessons I’ve learned, so you don’t have to,” in the online environment this leads to a lot of talking by one individual, which can become monotonous and tiresome and cause learners to tune out. Online facilitators must talk less and pull the lessons from the learners more – this not only keeps their attention because they never know when they might be asked to contribute, it also encourages them to “buy in” to the learning concepts because they think they’ve come up with them on their own.

Small Group Coaching – 
In the classroom we often send folks off to work in smaller groups and then circulate around in order to answer questions or ensure they are on track. Online we don’t always have the time to visit each small group (breakout) so it’s often wise to “do the first one as a group.”  If you want small groups to work, explain the process both technically and educationally (you’ll use your text tool, and brainstorm the answer to this question) and then do a practice round in the large group to ensure everyone “gets it” before you send them off to work on their own. You’ll find you get much better results and much faster group activities.

Ask for Volunteers 
- In the classroom we almost never directly single a person out to answer a question or contribute to a discussion – this is because we can read their body language and determine who is engaged and willing to participate. It would be just as easy for us to call on the person who does not look eager, but we rarely do. In the online environment we must “enforce” participation by randomly calling on people to contribute. This eliminates the long silences discussed earlier; keeps people engaged in the learning
and moves the class along by never pausing to wait for participation. It would be kind to allow one “pass” per person per class, however.

Don’t Follow the Leader Guide
 – (Remember, this is a list of things that work in the classroom but NOT in vILT).  A great classroom facilitator does not want to have his/her nose in the leader guide. He/She should master the course content well enough to be fully engaged with the audience. But in the online environment timing is everything. Many topics or activities are allotted 3 minutes or 5 minutes. Additionally, in the classroom it is easier to “regroup” if a discussion runs longer than planned, but it is much harder to redesign on the fly in the vILT environment when activities and discussion are much shorter and have to hit their “aha moment” much more quickly. While the facilitator most definitely should not sound like they are reading, they must carefully follow the script and timing in order to provide the best learning experience and end the class on time. Some seasoned classroom facilitators simply cannot adapt to this new way of conducting themselves and end up delivering classes that are more like webinars (one-way presentations) or leave their learners confused about the purpose of the class. If you are looking to facilitate in the “new world” of virtual learning, take these cautions to heart and practice, practice, practice.

Women in the Workplace: Egg Freezing and Alternative Benefits

October 30th, 2014 by Janine Carlson
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Apple, Facebook and other tech companies have recently garnered headlines with their policy to offer company insurance coverage to women who wish to freeze their eggs. Apple’s spokeswoman said Apple wants to “empower women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families.” Yet many see it as going too far.

This debate is focusing on companies that already have the most comprehensive benefits packages available and misses an important point: at many companies here in Asia Pacific, the need for the “basics” for women is still not met.

Attracting and retaining female talent requires benefits that demonstrate an organisation is family friendly, shows they understand that some women don’t want to have to give up components of their personal lives to achieve or excel in leadership roles, and provides opportunities for leadership advancement. Some examples of how companies are addressing the desire for this include:

  • Work-life balance – flexible schedules (job share, telecommute, flexible work hours)
  • Family-friendly benefits – adoption assistance, health screenings, maternity leave extension, parent care leave, on-site child care
  • Talent development strategies for career advancement

Attracting and retaining women in all levels of leadership goes beyond a benefit package. Women seek organisations that provide solid talent development strategies for them. Strategies such as mentoring, providing opportunities for them to be engaged with executives, providing places for executive presence when they reach certain levels, visibility to major imperatives, skill development, etc. all make for a work environment conducive for both women and men to succeed.

Cynthia Stuckey, Forum Managing Director, Asia Pacific, was interviewed as an expert on attracting, retaining and developing women in the workplace on First Look on Channel NewsAsia. The discussion revolved around the new benefits tech companies are offering, such as covering the costs to freeze eggs, as well as starting to explore the broader perspective on women the workplace. You can view the interview here.

*This interview originally aired on Chanel NewsAsia on 20 October 2014.

How to Make Gamification Meaningful in Learning

September 26th, 2014 by Ana Bedard
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Gamification is such a big phenomenon in today’s business world that this decade has been dubbed “The Decade of Gamification (O’Brien, 2012).”Companies use gamification to promote interaction with and ultimately loyalty to their brand.  Learning professionals are integrating game elements into learning solutions to motivate learners to engage in learning.

Sounds simple – incorporate game elements, motivate learners! What are some game elements? Think about your favorite games. They most likely have rules, challenges, and competition. They have leader boards and points. They have awards.

While it is relatively simple to identify these types of game elements, in order to use them correctly a designer must think beyond them and ask what about these elements makes them motivational, and who they are trying to motivate. A designer who does not engage in this level of inquiry risks winding up with awards that no one is vying for or challenges that no one cares about.

Gamification expert Sebastian Deterding argues that a key – and generally undistinguished – element of successful gamification efforts is meaning (2011). What is meaningful depends on the audience. In order to be meaningful, the experience must connect to the goals and passions of both individuals and a meaningful community of interest.  People are motivated to seek bragging rights, but only if they care about what they are achieving, and if their peers care about it, too.

As an example, we are finalizing two digital learning solutions to accompany to our Consultative Skills course. One of the learning solutions is an eLearning course in the form of nine 10-minute learning bursts – this course can be used both to provide training to an individual who is waiting for a scheduled class, and it can also be used for sustainment purposes post learning.

CLOSERWe had a series of discussions about offering awards to participants who pass the eLearning course. A generic award did not seem motivational. “Congratulations! You receive the Gold Cup Award for passing the course!” Who cares? Unwilling to give up the idea of awards, however, we searched for something more meaningful. The question that drove us forward was, “What kind of award or achievement would be meaningful to this audience of salespeople?” This question allowed us to develop an idea for an award that we believe will be motivational to the audience. The highest level of achievement a user can obtain is “Closer,” a designation that any salesperson would love to have in real life. By providing a designation that is meaningful to salespeople as individuals and a community, we have injected the kind of fun and games into our eLearning that will motivate learners to achieve learning accomplishments.

So next time you are injecting points and awards into your learning solution, think about the community of users and ask yourself, “What kind of award or achievement would be meaningful to this audience?” It will help you to connect with your users and will bring the kind of fun and play into their experience that they will want to engage in.

 


 

Deterding, S. (2011, January 24). Meaningful Play: Getting Gamification Right (Google Tech Talk). Retrieved from https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=sebastian%20deterding%20google%20tech%20talk.

O’Brien, C. (2010, October 24). O’Brien: Get Ready for the Decade of Gamification. San Jose Mercury News. October 24, 2010. Retrieved from http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_16401223.

Engagement + Accountability = Performance that Matters

September 15th, 2014 by Tom Rose
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Webinar Graphic - insights (1)In our recent survey, we responded to client interest in accountability and what drives it.   We undertook this work because we see a connection between accountability and engagement.  We believe that Engagement + Accountability = Performance that Matters.

Let me give a brief explanation.   Engagement- namely the motivation to exert extra effort to achieve results- and accountability- taking on the difficult challenges that makes a real difference- lead to outcomes that advance organizations and strengthen their cultures from “business as usual” to meaningful, sustained progress.

Our survey revealed an accountability gap that parallels the engagement gap that many experts have observed.   Roughly just under 20% of the work force is highly engaged and a slightly lower percentage is fully accountable.

How do we close a gap that is critical to business success?  At Forum, we call the capabilities that lead to performance that matters, 6 for 60. It’s called 6 for 60 because by focusing on these 6 capabilities we can harness and focus the potential of the 60% of talent that lies below most engaged and accountable members of our work force.

6 for 60 includes:

  1. Establishing clear and well-aligned goals organizationally & individually
  2. Admitting mistakes in way that protects credibility, advances problem solving and helps us to the right and difficult thing
  3. Advocating for the resources & abilities needed for success
  4. Addressing differences in approach to goals we have with key stakeholders
  5. Resolving dilemmas that underlie challenging business issues
  6. Coaching others how to take accountable action to achieve results

With focus and commitment and the right dosage of support and challenge to leadership and followership we can create the conditions that lead to performance that matters.

Want to know more about accountability, engagement and performance that matters? Join me on Tuesday, September 23 at 1pm ET for a webinar that looks at the results of our survey and why engagement + accountability = performance that matters! You can register here.

1 Basket, 2 Arthurs, and 25,000 Employees: How Trust and Employee Engagement Drive (or Kill) Business Results

August 12th, 2014 by Claudette Chagnon
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“Leaders can no longer trust in power; instead they rely on the power of trust. “ - Charles Green, Forbes Magazine

In a small corner of New England in the United States, a huge workplace revolution is taking place.  And it is being talked about over the water cooler and dinner tables as the hottest “reality show” of the summer.  (A welcome relief from the Bachelorette…just sayin’.)

Market Basket, a privately held and family-owned grocery chain with estimated annual sales of $3.2 billion, is embroiled in the eruption of a long-running family feud that has lasted for decades.  In the latest episode on June 23, Arthur S. Demoulas led the company’s board to oust the current CEO, his estranged cousin Arthur T. Demoulas, and replace him with two consultants. His firing continued the battle of two namesake cousins struggling to control an empire of 71 supermarkets in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. When eight middle managers, some of whom had been with Market Basket for 30 years, protested the change, the company fired them for “attempting to create a worker rebellion.”

In the days that followed many of the company’s 25,000 workers refused to report to work, a clear sign of worker solidarity against company bosses they distrust. Butchers, baggers, cashiers, and clerks came from all over New England to rallies at the chain’s headquarters, carrying signs and shouting in megaphones and risking their jobs. Warehouse employees stopped working, stores stopped accepting deliveries, and local legislators, local media, and employees encouraged customers to boycott the stores using the power of social media. Customers not only complied, but joined in the protests.

In result, over the past month, sales have dropped by as much as 75%, stock has been depleted as drivers refuse to deliver, stores have been forced to temporarily close, and the company is experiencing drastic losses. Workers and customers have promised to continue this “rebellion” until the former CEO is reinstated.

Why the Intense Loyalty to Arthur T?

Sure, Market Basket has better-than-industry norms for compensation and benefits but the employees at the rallies are not talking about compensation and benefits, and that is why business schools all over the country are watching closely. Posters of fired Arthur T. DeMoulas have appeared in store windows with the slogan “Believe!” scrawled on them.  One employee had “In A.T.D. We Trust!” sprayed onto his car.

Clearly, Arthur T. DeMoulas was a CEO who was pro-employee and pro-customer.  Making money was only one reason for running his business. DeMoulas was both a friend and a father-figure to many employees.  He gave employees battling cancer or having serious family problems time off with pay, and when somebody was in crisis, he was there for them, literally.  He attended their funerals. Entire families work there.  They trusted him.

Trust Correlates with Employee Engagement and Drives Business Results 

There can be no doubt that trust in leadership has a massive impact on workplace culture and business results. Take Market Basket…despite its reputation for low prices and high wages, Demoulas’ operating margins — 7.2 percent in 2012, were higher than most supermarket chains, under Arthur T’s leadership

Research shows that employees who have high levels of trust in their leaders tend to have greater loyalty and higher business performance than those with less trust. For example, one study linked companies’ trust levels directly to their price/earnings ratios. (Andy Atkins, Fast Company, August 7, 2012)

Some leaders are able to build a solid foundation of trust among their employees and experience the payoff of a loyal, engaged team that delivers results. Work units in the top 25% of Gallup’s  Q12 Client Database have significantly higher  productivity, profitability, and customer ratings, less turnover and absenteeism, and fewer safety incidents than those in the bottom 25%.  Further, Gallup’s research also shows that companies with engaged workforces have higher earnings per share (EPS) and seem to have recovered from the recession at a faster rate. (“The State of the Global Workplace,” Gallup Consulting, 2013)

Who Will Get the Final Rose?

Trust sets the foundation for high performance by creating an environment in which employees are willing to take risks, learn continuously, support and motivate each other and strive to meet challenging business goals. Put simply, leaders build trust and trust leads to engagement, which drives business performance.

Leaders have an opportunity to close the “trust gap” and enhance engagement and results by building trust and avoiding the behaviors that erode trust. So…. whoever is going to run Market Basket–the two consultants, the former CEO Arthur T, or a new owner—will want to focus on building trust.  If it is Arthur T, then he has a great start!

High Performance Team Working – Breaking the “Log Jam” with Senior Teams

August 6th, 2014 by David Robertson
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It is surprising that many senior leadership teams, even those that are quite mature, do not take advantage of one of their greatest opportunities for improving their effectiveness: confronting the behaviours of the people who comprise the team. Team work is a dynamic that needs to be nurtured and evolves through the active input and ownership of the whole team.

Everyone knows about the importance of team development but do they understand the importance of maintaining healthy teams once they have been developed and matured? In Forum, we believe there are three stages of team development:

  1. Membership
  2. Control
  3. Cohesion

Most of the time, mature teams are moving between control and cohesion stages; re-contracting around who has influence and control, how they will handle conflict, how they will proactively measure results and thinking about how they can improve the way they work as a team. The diagram below outlines the types of questions asked at each stage. If the team does not have explicit alignment around the control issues then they will find cohesion difficult, i.e. they won’t build the open, honest and trusting relationships that are necessary to drive high performance or progress to the next level. They get log jammed in the control stage.

log jam image 1Senior teams evolve their working practices over time and these are strongly influenced by the level of open commitment to the team process modeled by the team leader. A leader’s behaviours and actions strongly influence the team climate. For example, if a leader does not encourage the team to regularly to review how they work together and make adjustments, then the team will default to focusing exclusively on task and business accountabilities. Their own development will take a backseat.

Without explicit leadership of the team work process, people find ways of getting by or coping, such as not providing feedback, not managing conflict, silo behaviours, poor communication, not speaking up, not sharing or collaborating, etc.Any of these behaviours can be real barriers to effectiveness, and thus the team performance levels off and results plateau.

Senior teams need agility to navigate the complexity they deal with every day and a key component of this is an explicit and aligned team process, that has everyone’s buy-in  and commitment; most senior teams assume this is in place.

The key to unlocking this potential for higher performance is twofold: The sponsorship of the team leader and the focus of the team. Sometimes teams need to go backwards to go forwards and if the sponsor is prepared to take some time to encourage the team to have some strong conversations and get to know the people behind the roles, then they are starting to clear the log jam. When helping senior teams break this potential log jam we have found that it is important to gather data on different perceptions of the team. This helps them focus on how team members experience the team and allows behaviours and emotions to be examined openly by the team under the guidance of a strong facilitator.

Role models of high performance team effectiveness need to be cascaded throughout the organisation so that teams can cross-functionally collaborate more effectively and drive the business outcomes with agility. Below is a general process map we created for working with intact senior and functional teams to help them break the log jam and cascade this approach through their business.

log jam image 2

So if you want to break the team working log jam with senior teams you will need an engaged sponsor who will support each step in the process. You will also need to understand the teams effectiveness issues which are often linked to their team development stage, and gather a range of perceptions about the team’s effectiveness to help you focus team actions once the log jam starts to break. You need to bring the team together and agree some ground rules and then have a structured experience that opens up the issues and embeds the framework for leading high performance. You will also need a strong facilitator who can get beneath the issues and behaviours through contracting with the team and who can sense when to hand back the team process and accountability for key behaviours to the team so they can own the journey forward whilst achieving a new level of cohesion.