A Window of Opportunity: Are You Leveraging It to Build Your Team?
The current situation… There’s an opening right now. Is your team taking advantage of it?
The opportunity is to get together – in person – to build connection and safety.
And we don’t know how long the opening will last. It might be days, weeks, months, maybe years.
What I do know is that there is a wave of increased COVID cases spreading across Europe and Asia right now. I have no idea if, when and how it will impact the United States. Frankly, no one does.
While the window is open, how are you taking advantage of it?
Look, there’s a lot going on in our world right now. You know this.
There’s the upheaval of the past two years caused by the pandemic. Ongoing supply chain challenges. And the daily disturbing news as we watch Russia wreak havoc on the brave and resilient Ukrainians.
Uncertainty has become the norm. You’re probably aware that all these factors can completely derail—or even prevent—healthy and aligned teams.
But there is good news.
You can unlock your team’s potential, and it starts by being intentional about building a strong foundation of Connection between team members.
Take Stock of How Your Team is Doing
So, how would you describe the level of connection between people on your team today?
If you are like most teams, we’ve been working with in our Team Acceleration Programs, your team is probably highly efficient.
After all, you’ve spent the better part of two years working remotely, squeezing as much productivity out of your day and, most likely, crossing personal boundaries by working early and late on many occasions.
There might be people on your team you’ve never met in person, or perhaps only a few times.
And like most teams, you are getting the work done – but every passing remote-workday increases the risk of your team and organizational culture going stale.
Step1: How is your team doing, really? Take a close look.
It might be time to take an honest look at how the team is doing – really doing – beyond just the results it needs to produce.
Here are a few questions from my newly released, international best-selling book, The Deeply Human Workplace, about building Connection with People. Score each of the items below on a scale of 1-5 (5 is high, 1 is low):
- I feel like my team members genuinely care about me.
- My team members give me the benefit of the doubt.
- We have a positive climate that supports people in doing their best work.
- Team members invite input from others about their area of the business.
In a nutshell – how is the team doing? Are people guarded? Tentative? Receptive? Open? Trusting? Excited? Anxious?
What is the current state of your team?
Step 2: Create an In-person Shared Experience
Every team needs both unstructured and structured time to connect.
- Unstructured time creates opportunities to get to know the human being underneath the workplace identity.
- Structured time allows the team to build a level of connection that results in a deeper level of understanding of what people need to be successful.
Here are two ideas you can implement immediately (and in person) with your team:
Unstructured: Appoint two or three members of your team to identify an in-person activity that people can do together that has nothing to do with work. Maybe it’s going out for lunch, dinner or drinks. Maybe it’s a walk or hike or a picnic. There are countless opportunities to just spent informal time together with colleagues where magic happens when there isn’t an agenda or a never-ending lineup of calls and meetings.
Structured: There’s also an opportunity to go deeper. Here’s an exercise I mention in The Deeply Human Workplace: I first observed this exercise while working with one of the healthiest executive teams I’ve seen over more than 20 years as an executive coach. This team started their weekly operational meetings by sharing their top 5% of experiences shared experience currently impacting their lives and the bottom 5% of their experiences. This deeply vulnerable exercise gave each person a greater sense of connection and a deeper level of empathy for each other because they knew more about each other’s lives than most executive team members in our workplace today.
Step 3: Get Ready for More Change…Because it’s Coming.
The basic truth of an infamous quote rings true:
“Things change. The only thing constant is change. It’s up to you to be adaptable.”
So, get ready for more change.
The good news is that the single most unique characteristic that has defined the human race and enabled us to survive over time as a species has been our ability to adapt.
And the more connected we are with people, our team and organizational culture, the more prepared we’ll be to change and adapt.
What’s Next for Your Team?
If you want to dive deeper into how you can tap into people’s needs, build commitment on your teams, and create a workplace that people love, check out my new book, The Deeply Human Workplace. You’ll find all sorts of tips and strategies to:
- Build Connection with people
- Create Certainty as a result of safety
- Reduce attrition because people feel like their Contributions matter
- Add Clarity of the what and how
- And much more…
Our 6 C’s of Human Workplace Needs model outlined in the book is a game-changer for organizational life and will fundamentally change your business when you embrace the idea of humanity in your organization’s culture.
If you’d like a more guided approach, check out our Team Acceleration. Reach out and we’ll be happy to learn more about your needs and help determine if it’s a fit.