‘I don’t have a Task’

Change Facilitation

'I don't have a task'

How High Performing Teams engender a sense of belonging by appropriate inclusion

Sometimes facilitators energise teams with fun ‘games’ – but those games always have a purpose. One of my favourites requires small teams of up to seven people to work together to share clues & then solve the puzzle based on those clues.

black Two of the 30 clues begin with the words ‘one of your team’s tasks is to …’

black A third clue states ‘your team has less than three tasks.’

black Participants in the exercise are told that they can share what is written on their clue sheets verbally as often as they wish – but they cannot show their sheets to anyone else.

This particular day, the exercise began with the usual stunned silence until someone said ‘I have a task. ’ More silence followed. A second person said ‘I have a task,’ (note the inexact manner in which these two people ‘translated’ & relayed the information on their sheets – subtly, team tasks became individual tasks). Despite this people started reading out their clues.

Someone said ‘there are less than three tasks.’ This is a thirty minute exercise at most, but after 20 minutes I realised that this team was doomed to failure. Some facilitators jump in & help to get a team to a ‘nice’ outcome. I have always preferred to observe the phenomena at hand & see what happens in the debrief – the most essential part of these exercises. I knew failure was inevitable because after 20 minutes one member of the team had not spoken a word.

In his hand he held vital clues. In my thinking - worse than the fact that he had not spoken, was the fact that nobody had engaged with him for twenty minutes – nobody asked him what was on his sheet.

In the debrief he was asked why he didn’t speak. He replied (somewhat defensively): ‘because I didn’t have a task.’ As he came under attack from the team for his inability to understand the exercise I stepped in & asked the two people with the team task clues to read them slowly & clearly – ‘team‘s tasks’ being the operative words.

Defence now turned to attack & the hitherto silent team member likened this experience to his everyday reality – particularly his frustration at being overlooked when ad hoc meetings were called & he missed out on other communications. I moved to take his ‘grievances’ to an off-line chat & then a strange thing happened. His team leader gently interrupted me & asked him to continue.

She now facilitated a twenty minute team discussion of his situation in which it emerged (news to me, but they all knew) that since the recent restructure things had become even more difficult for him – he was located on a separate floor from the others! Meetings happened & decisions were made on a daily basis – some big some small – &, because he was on a different floor, he kept missing out. He’d just got angrier & grumpier at the feeling of exclusion - & who wants to invite a grumpy person to meetings?!

The exercise just showed him as his typical grumpy self – sullen, silent & not sharing his clues! Tea-break came as a welcome relief for the team. When they had all left the team leader apologised for overriding my facilitation (I told her that I was more than happy that she had). What she said next stays with me twenty years after this happened: ‘He is a real problem for me, but he just won’t open up when I try to support him. I’ve learned more about how he is feeling in the last twenty minutes than I have in the last year – thank-you so much.’ (True Story – Andrew Mountford)

People need to feel they belong. Appropriate inclusion develops a sense of belonging & ensures efficient & aligned action in teams. This is one of the key behaviours of the Fifth Force 4-D model. For more information about how Synergy has introduced 4-D into organisations to create measurable & sustainable improvement in leadership & team performance, please contact info@synergy-global.com

*Ref: Dr Pellerin, CJ, (2010) How NASA Builds Teams: Mission Critical Soft Skills for Scientists, Engineers & Project Teams, John Wiley & Sons, USA


Get more Return on Investment

Change Facilitation

Return on Investment(RoI) - Executive Coaching

For long term sustainable results, our experience is that coaching services that are managed at an organisational level run comparatively smoothly with win-win outcomes.  This applies to the people being coached, their line managers, their teams, their peers, the organisation, their clients/customers &, most important of all, their work & personal communities.

The top 5 ways to guarantee ROI in Executive Coaching are:

Quality: Use Global Best Practice frameworks e.g. Coaching in Organisations (see Standards Australia publication). Anyone can call themselves a coach & while a few non-accredited coaches are good, using an accredited coach gives you the guarantee that the coach has a robust training & knowledge base.

HR/PPC: Establish a centralised, organisation-wide approach to track the effectiveness of coaching services.  If you are comparing apples with potatoes it’s difficult to get a real idea of how effective coaching is.  An agreed system of measurement will provide a consistent picture of ‘how things are going’.

Goals: Agree coaching goals & metrics up front.  Each individual should know what will & will not be included in their coaching program.  They should also know what outcomes will be expected of them as a result of their coaching program.

Adapt: Ensure services are flexible enough to deliver outcomes to meet individual, team & organisational changing business needs.  Every organisation, department & person is different – & the coaching program needs to be able to agile enough to adapt to the demands of each of them.

Success: Measure & track goals & report on how coaches increase & sustain their effectiveness.  Starting with a clear vision of success & tracking the key milestones along the way will provide the means to reinforce ongoing progress.

As with most interventions there is a multitude of variables present when engaging with anything to do with people. While there are no guarantees, working flexibly within a rigorous framework gives Executive Coaching Programs the best chance of success.


3 Ways to Encourage Staff to Care

Change Facilitation

3 Ways to Encourage Staff to Care

Sometimes a bonus just doesn’t cut it. How do you make your employees care about the success of your business?

Here are 3 ideas that will make significant positive changes to your business:

1) Involve them in your Business Strategy

Have a Team Development Day & sit down with your staff to collaborate on systematic Service/Process Improvement ideas. They are on the front-line & they have ideas. Create an environment that encourages them to collaborate on new strategic ideas. Promote diversity & honesty in their approach to ideas.

Each employee has their own set of unique skills, strengths & all it may take to tap into them is a supportive space where there are no silly questions or thoughts. This approach not only shows the value you place on your team but it also gives them ownership of the implementation when you are putting new structural changes in place.

2) Take an interest in their Continuous Personal Development (CPD)

It’s not all about you. A happy worker has a healthy work/life balance & they have their own aspirations & vision of success. Help them to improve the skills they already have & nurture new ones so that they apply these to future roles & developments. If you show an interest in them, they will respect you, trust you & be actively interested in the company’s success

3) Show them your Appreciation; a Holistic Approach:

It’s the small things that count. My current boss has the kettle boiled & cups laid out for our morning coffee ready for our arrival. It certainly motivates me to get there early & have a chat before we start work!

Ask how they are feeling each day. Again, my boss is a good example; she asks us for our motivation scores, between 1-10, two to three times a day, & we discuss our feelings & how motivation can be improved.

These strategies might be hard for a large organisation (& need education for all the managers to make them work), but it’s worth showing your appreciation for your staff on an individual level. Are they getting breaks? Are they stretching? Greet them in the mornings & ask how they are (it’s amazing how often this common courtesy doesn’t happen). You’ll have a greater rapport because of it.

If you are interested in expanding you, your team & your organisation’s effectiveness, please contact us at info@synergy-global.com +61(0) 439-066-067. Synergy Global: Delivering Effectiveness Consulting, Change Facilitation & Executive Coaching services to the Private. Public & Not-for-Profit Sectors since 1996.