decision making posts
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June 29th, 2011
Building a high-functioning team takes courage, commitment, tenacity and a willingness to work with one another. In order to improve teamwork, it’s important to try something new, change a behaviour, spice up the team a bit with a new approach and then review to see if it worked or fell short of success.
This week’s teamwork challenge: Lose Some Weight
Juggling day-to-day tasks, navigating project deadlines, running in and out of meetings, building interpersonal relationships, influencing decision-making and trying to manage personal stress simultaneously can often become quite time consuming and overwhelming.
Add to this the fact that many of us on teams are constantly trying to impress our teammates with how competent and committed we are to the team, it’s inevitable we’ll hit a speed-bump and make an error. As errors add up, personal stress is heightened by our inability to keep all the balls in the air.
Has this happened to you lately? Are you trying to ignore that recent expenditure that took the project over budget? Were your responsible for a task that took more time than allocated? Did you throw one of your teammates under the bus in a meeting in which s/he was absent. Urghh. Time to lose some weight!
By telling your teammate the truth and confessing up to your error, you’ll not only decrease some of your personal stress, you’ll lighten your step and bring your teammate into your circle of trust.
Within the next 24-hours, will you throw your shoulders back, hold your head up high and admit your mistake to your teammate?
Remember to try something new, change a behaviour, spice up the team a bit with a new approach and then analyze the results. Did it make a positive or negative impact on the effectiveness of your team?
Next week’s teamwork challenge tip is about speaking your truth.
October 20th, 2009
When working with executive teams, I often discuss the importance of clearly articulating core values, identifying objectives/action plans and then driving performance results based on quantitative or qualitative measures – “if you can measure it, you can manage it”.
All of this proved itself true this weekend on my way to tree 71.
As I lay under my cozy duvet on a foggy, rain-drenched, Sunday morning, I realized that every fibre in my body was screaming in high resistance. I desperately wanted to cancel my Sunday morning ritual of climbing up the BCMC trail of Vancouver’s Grouse mountain.
Strangely, I heard myself utter to my partner Jim, “I will be ready in 10 minutes – you?” What was that? Where did that come from?
I turned to Jim, who had not heard a word from me all morning — very unusual for this chatty gal.
“Oh my god, I can’t believe it – I made it to tree 71! ”
“I was totally locked in my resistance. I completely faked getting here. When we started the hike, I went into autopilot. I actually had to motivate myself by calculating the 50% mark of the hike – tree 36. At some point, I stopped to take a break. While I was catching my breath, I looked up and noticed that I was standing on the roots of tree 37! Wahoo!! I was half way there – I could actually make it to tree 71. And look at me now, I just proved it to myself.”
Tree 71 had become my clear goal. Armed with my core values of maintaining my health and wellness, I was able to motivate myself with a smaller measure of success and before you know it, the results were mine. Now it was time to celebrate!
It’s true. If you can measure it, you can manage it. In business and in pleasure, we all need a tree 71!
September 24th, 2009
When I’m working with teams to improve communication, the issue of email generally produces stressed faces, furrowed brows, and sweaty foreheads. It’s astounding how depressing and chaotic our inboxes have become. But it doesn’t need to be that way.
When I sense stress around the issue of email communication, I ask teams “Have you ever sat down together to discuss how you will send and receive messages to one another?”. Most teams respond with a clear “No, we haven’t done that and we don’t have a clue of how to start that type of conversation.” Fortunately, it’s not a difficult conversation to start.
We just roll up our sleeves and discuss these issues:
1. Subject lines norms– Create agreements within your team regarding what goes in subject lines. For example, if the message concerns a client, start the subject with that client’s name – that simple step will help recipients identify the purpose of the message and effectively catalog it.
2. Set up mailbox rules - Set up rules and filters to organize your inbox. (See my Tuesday post for more on rules and sorting.)
3. Establish team norms around who’s taking an action, who is supporting an action who is to be informed on an action. The team should clearly identify an owner’ to respond and handle the issue.
- TO: if I ‘own’ a particular task and somebody wants to send me an email notifying me of an action that I need to take, my name will be in the TO: area. I will immediately know that I am responsible for taking action.
- CC: means that I am “supporting” someone else’s action and,
- BCC: means that all I need to be is keep myself “informed”.
4. More Rules Emails that have my name is in the TO: area – those emails can be sorted as action emails. Really really helpful!!
5. Discuss the use of high priority, moderate priority and low priority.
If you set aside to have these types of email norm conversations, you’ll help your team become more productive and save them from inbox stress!