The single greatest factor of an organization’s success in the organizational health.
So it is no surprise that all leaders struggle with creating healthy teams.
You are not alone – this is a common issue that is usually all but ignored, taking a back seat to strategy, marketing finance and technology.
I recently met with John, CEO of a mid sized company. John was eager to “do something” with his management team of 5 people.
John loves his team members – I mean he loves them – they are the best! He believes in them and has invested himself in them for a number of years. All but one has been with him for more than 5 years, a good sign of the stability evident throughout the whole company.
I proposed to meet with them one on one and get back to John with a recommendation. He agreed and in the following two weeks I met with each one.
These were casual conversations. I stated the purpose as “John wants to do some further development with you leaders so I thought I would get your take on what is happening at the company these days.”
I tried not to lead the conversation very much. I threw out the idea that John and I were discussing a two day off-site planning session – which was true. I listened intently.
The leaders’ responses gave me plenty to think about. They were professional and certainly competent. They are extremely likeable – I can see why John is excited about his team.
No one could tell me the goals of the company for the year. Yet they made it clear that they did not want to spend even one day with the team in planning. The personal friction between them was clearly evident to me, although no one was outwardly criticizing the others.
When I met with John over lunch, he was eager to hear how our conversations went.
“I agree, you have great people – but you don’t have a cohesive team.”
“How would you even measure such a thing?” he replied.
I pulled out a checklist. “As I was speaking with them I was looking for these things.” I started to read this list, developed by business consultant and author Patrick Lencioni, out loud across the lunch table:
- Team members trust one another and can be genuinely vulnerable with each other.
- Team members regularly engage in productive unfiltered conflict around important issues.
- Team leaves meetings with clear-cut, active, and specific agreements around discussions.
- Team members hold one another accountable to commitments and behaviours.
- Members of the leadership team are focused on the needs and priorities of the larger organization ahead of their own departments.
As I read, John quickly said “no” to each statement.
Although he initially felt that such as thing as “cohesive” could not be measured, he was able to come to the same conclusion as I did – with the help of 5 simple statements.
Now the real work can begin for John and his team. Maybe for you and yours.
Till we talk again,
If you and your team would like to learn more practical steps to building a healthy team, join us on April 29th at: “Maximum Achievement” and discover the master skills you need for extraordinary performance.
Jamie MacDonald’s plenary messages will address two critical topics: “Creating a Great Place to Work” and “Achieving Alignment.” Each attendee also participates in four break-out workshop sessions.