New Ways of Working Together
In a recent blog post titled "What All Great Teams Practice," Mackenzie Fogelson from The Ready shares some very practical tips for facilitating effective “ways of working.” There are two different parts to this: ways of doing and ways of being. Successful cultural transformation and extraordinary team performance require both.
Highlights from the Article
When teams don’t own their “ways of working” (i.e. their ways of doing and ways of being) the organization will struggle to achieve its purpose. Ownership requires curiosity; learning to let go of old ways while being open to practicing new ways. What teams need are the decision rights and the voice to craft new “ways of working” which allows them to contribute to the company’s purpose every day.
Shifting to these new ways of working can be challenging because of the deeply-rooted industrial age management culture that prevails in most organizations. Today’s leaders and managers are struggling to handle the amount of complexity they’re faced with. Often, instead of trusting their people, they revert to always needing to have the answer or of controlling everything around them - including what everyone does.
In this kind of environment, rather than being trusted to steer towards the company’s purpose and vision, people and teams get used to waiting around to be told what their strategy and priorities are. Across the organization, people become accustomed to being told what they can and cannot do. Over time, they just give up their initiative. They learn to follow directions and obey the check-list and follow the rules and do what they are told. Slowly, all of their agency, creativity, and insight escapes into the ether.
The answer starts with being intentional about teaching teams to manage complexity and to co-create new ways of being with each other. Ways of being are the mindsets and behaviors that are integral to changing your ways of doing across the organization. It’s the individual humans in your company shedding habits and patterns (like retaliation, blaming, and shaming) that don’t serve them. It’s trading those less desirable ways of being for a new lens (like coming from a place of curiosity or having empathy) that helps nurture relationships with the other humans we work with and manage the complexity of our environment.
Typically the struggles teams face come down to not having - or not knowing how to have - hard conversations. You have to make the space for it. This is where to begin.
Once your team has become more comfortable with having difficult conversations and members have developed the ability to be more vulnerable with each other, you can begin to introduce some ways of being that will become part of how they work every day. This is not the soft stuff. Ways of being will always be the hardest work they will ever do. AND … it’s totally worth the time and effort!
Download the blog post for lots of helpful ideas and things to incorporate into your group process.
The Gifted Perspective
In one short blog post Mackenzie Fogelson provides a fabulous overview of the essential work that any team that wants to be extraordinary must do. We facilitate this kind of work with teams all the time. She is absolutely correct in stating that “It takes commitment and daily practice to build teams who live the organization’s purpose.” Thankfully, she also offers a roadmap of the key things we need to focus on to achieve that critically important goal.
As coaches, we love that she highlights the importance of increasing the capacity for curiosity both within yourself and amongst every member of your team. We couldn’t agree more with her thoughts about the power of curiosity. Indeed, “Teaching curiosity to your team is teaching them to be vulnerable and courageous. To examine how they are showing up and learning to make the shift from blaming others to first getting curious about what’s really there for them. Learning to be curious is an opportunity to be brave enough to face fear, discomfort, and uncertainty.” Curiosity will be serve you well as you and your team work to define and model new “ways of working” together!
We will partner with you and your team to coach, consult, support, and encourage you through the process of crafting new “ways of working.” Contact us today about individual leadership coaching or our Teams That Talk™ coaching approach!