Working with a leadership team of 5 people, including the COO of the organization. I was called in to facilitate and consult the leadership team with the following objectives defined;
Leaders will be able to reflect upon their behaviors and adjust accordingly based upon what team they are a part of and whom they are leading. This will be centered upon skill(s) based development and co-creation of a shared structure for discussions at a leadership level.
Concluding this process with;
- Shared process and structure for the leadership team to make decisions and solve problems within a time span.
- Skill in active listening and communication to peers, supervisors, and direct reports.
- Co-creation of decision-making methods for the Leadership team to utilize in real-time. The leadership team will make a decision that applies to the organization at our meeting time.
- Co-creation of team problem solving for the Leadership team to utilize in real-time. The leadership team will solve a problem, develop an action plan & plan the step to a solution that applies to the organization at our meeting time.
In the first team meeting, I sensed some reservations from the team.
So I asked, “I am sensing reservations of our time together; let’s discuss this.”
After 3 minutes of silence, people staring at their shoes, one person spoke up, “Now we are involved in many, many projects and are about to go through preparation for a large audit from the state & feds that is going to take our time. I think that all of this is excellent and we could benefit from it. I don’t think we have the time to give it our all.”
The rest of the team nodded their heads.
I asked, “are you all willing to discuss this and, as a group, determine what you need and when you will have the time to give it your all?” Everyone nodded;
Next, I facilitate the group through the following Solution-Focused Leadership Process;
“Everyone on your paper, please draw a scale from 0 – 10.”
drew this on the whiteboard;
0 —-1—-2—-3—-4—-5—-6—-7—-8—-9—- 10
“Here is the question, mark on your scale and keep it to yourself; with 0-being this is the absolute worst time for the Leadership Process, 10-being that this is the absolute best time and you are fully prepared to give it your all, where would you rate yourself right now, today?”
About 3-5 minutes for people to rate and reflect on their scaling.
“Thank you…please take about 3 minutes and list what is going well, what is working that has put you where you currently are on the scale, the things that are going well that kept you from rating yourself lower on the scale. List these items as clearly and distinctly as possible, again keeping it to yourself.”
Again 3-5 minutes for the people to list and reflect why they are not lower / higher.
“Is everyone comfortable sharing where they are on the scale?”
I allowed the group to individually share where they placed themselves while I wrote each person’s name under the number they said. Averaged the numbers to create group consensus. The average was close to a 6;
0 —-1—-2—-3—-4—-5—-6—-7—-8—-9—- 10
“Wow, a 6 that is great…let’s discuss some of the things that are successful in bringing the group to a 6…”
The group talked about things that are working, successful steps. They did not talk about the problems and concerns…instead, they talked about what they are currently doing really well.
“If I was to observe this group in a meeting and workplace situation, what would I see, how would the individuals interact, how would the team interact, how would topics be discussed…Describe what I would see as an observer that would make me say…WOW this group is operating at a 6, as opposed to a 3 or 4.”
The group shared more of how their interactions are and what processes are working, and how they solve problems and make decisions…
“Next step…using the same scale where you would have to be as an individual leader to be alright with going ahead with the learning, training, and process work that we have defined? On that scale would you have to say, I am now ready and prepared to give this process my all. Scale your answer and keep it to yourself for now.”
“Looking at where you scaled yourself to be prepared to give this process your all compared with where you scaled yourself in the first round, what is different? Please take about 3-5 minutes and list how you will know that you have reached this new number on the scale, what your interactions with the leadership team will be like, with your staff, with clients, with family, what will you; prepared to give this process your all look like, take some time and describe it.”
I waited for about 5 minutes while the group wrote…
“Who would like to share where on the scale they would have to be to give this leadership process their all?”
Repeating the same process as above, wrote the person’s name (In a different color) under the numbers. Surprisingly 2 of the people had lesser scaled numbers in the 2nd round than in the 1st!
Again we averaged the numbers, and it came to about a 7;
0 —-1—-2—-3—-4—-5—-6—-7—-8—-9—- 10
As a collective group, we sat and stared at the scaling data…the leadership team had their numbers and solutions there in the room, staring at them in what each person and then the group collectively needed to be successful.
“WOW…a 7, that is great…As a group, tell me what will things be like for the leadership team when you are all collectively operating as a 7…If I were observing the group, what would I see that would have me say WOW they have gone from a 6 to a 7 and now they are ready to give this process their all.”
Then something awesome happened…They talked about the great work that has been accomplished and how great they feel about what is happening, as they listed what a 7 would look like. People started to say; we are already doing all these things. We are there.
As the discussion continued, the COO took a quick poll of the group, and everyone agreed that they are ready and prepared to give this leadership process their all!
I said, “That is awesome, you are a great group and as we have just seen, really know your stuff and are capable of;
- Developing a shared process and structure to make decisions and solve problems within a time span.
- Utilizing and enhancing your skills in active listening and communication to peers, supervisors, and direct reports.
- Co-creating decision-making methods for the Leadership team to utilize in real-time. We just made a decision that applies to the organization at the time of our meeting.
- Co-creating team problem solving for the Leadership team to utilize in real-time. We just solved a problem, developed an action plan & planed the steps to a solution that applies to the organization.”
Now we continue to build upon your success!”
Following that meeting, the leadership team has created amazing results of increasing retention of talented staff members, increasing the productivity (through partnered quality projects) of several departments. As well as continued to coach and develop their staff and organization into a high functioning team of solutions-minded individuals, leaders, teams, and organization.
Plus, we are still working together to continue the skill-building and increase the leaders’ applied capacity.