“Mike, we need this team to talk more.”

“Are they not talking now?”

“In our meetings people are talking but I feel like just saying what I want to hear.”

“Are they saying what you want to hear?”

“Yes and No…then after the meeting is done all I see and hear is people fighting over who does what and the who is accountable for the work. I have 4 of the executive team come to me and they are unsure what they are supposed to be doing, and it seems that the deadlines that we establish and agree too never get met.”

“Hmmmm…Alright lets look at the High Performance Teams Model that we covered in the first Management Team workshop we all had, do you remember that model?”

“Yes, when we spoke about it, it really made sense. I have had many conversations about its usefulness with Jack our accounting director.”

“Look at the model and which step do you see the behaviors your described?”

“WOW it seems that the unresolved behaviors of Engagement with the Work are exactly what is happening!”

“What does the model say to do?”

“Clarify the Goal the What-by-When.”

“How clear are the goals that you, as their manager are setting?”

“Obviously not clear enough, Can I have some of your time to re-work these goals and ensure that I am clear in the what-by-when I expect from the team?”

Systems Drive Behaviors

Every organization, team, and person wants to do amazing work the problem is that many systems within organizations do not allow people to do this. In the conversation above that I had with an executive who is in the Exponent Leadership Process, we explored the system for creating High Performance Teams. The goals established where not clear enough, the manager thought it was a “communication problem” when in reality it was a system problem of needing to set goals in a clearly defined what-by-when process.

  • What systems do you have control over in your organization?
  • What problems are being masked as “people problems” when in reality changes to how the work is done and the process would solve these problems?
  • What systems do you know of that allow you to work to your fullest capacity?
  • What would you be doing more of if this system was just a little bit better?
  • In what ways can you change your system in work to improve your personal effectiveness?