I recently had the privilege of facilitating a team-building offsite for a team that had, for the most part, worked together for a long time yet had never been given the time to explore how to work more effectively together. Like a family that has lived together for years and gets entrenched in bad habits, they were treating each other and themselves in less-than-positive ways, burying hurts and pretending to be okay when, really, they weren’t.
The organization’s objective in bringing me in was to broaden and deepen the scope of work that the team performed, so some things needed to change.
Over two 1/2-day sessions (conducted a week apart), we explored different working styles and how we, as humans, often jump to conclusions and embrace our personal assumptions, sometimes without sufficient data. We learned and tested a model that would give the team members language and motivation to share more responsibility, define accountabilities, and become more self-empowered. The team practiced new methods of communicating, coming up with ways to help and support each other, and began to realize that making a choice about changing the conversation can change the outcome of the relationship.
It’s a simple beginning to a new way of being.
- Choose what you see. We’re all familiar with Rorschach images, those inkblots that everyone views differently. By choosing what you see, you’re acknowledging that what you see may not be what someone else sees, that their interpretation may be different than yours, yet equally valid. Covey says, “Seek first to understand; then seek to be understood.” By choosing to view a situation from another’s point of view, there just may be an even better outcome all around.
- Choose who shows up. There were moments in the offsite when the conversation took on a negative tone, focusing how other parts of the company were standing in the way of the team meeting its goals. But we all know that there will always be issues or roadblocks. We can show up as a victim or as a creator. By choosing to show up as creator, to declare what you want rather than what you can’t have or do, you put yourself—and the team—in a position to think creatively. The creator standpoint says that you “can do” rather than that you “can’t do.” Your peers, then, can contribute by creating a new way with you.
- Choose to collaborate. When an issue is important to address and the relationship is important to nurture, choose to work together to create a mutually beneficial outcome. Both sides may need to bend a bit to accommodate the other’s needs or wishes. By entering into a conversation space with an intention of good will and collaboration, you and your teammates will move towards building a more solid working relationship.
What choices do you and your teams make each day?