All blogs filed under Thoughts from the Field
Recently, I was in a meeting with a person who said, “Meetings are such a royal waste of my time; I’d like my job so much better if we could eliminate them altogether.” As he said that, I began to wonder...Would he feel the same way if the meetings he attended were high impact decision-making sessions, where team members engaged in passionate debate and were compelled to make and keep commitments? Probably not.
Just by watching the evening news, it is readily apparent that conflict is ever present in our society. And, the workplace is no exception. For many, conflict brings about a visceral reaction — one that transports people back to the days of tension-filled playground disputes. Consequently, it is easy to draw the conclusion that conflict is negative, should be avoided at all costs, and has no place in the work environment.
Early in my career in the technology field, I was given a statistic that 90% of IT projects fail. Missed deadlines and general disarray seemed to be accepted as the norm. Driven to make my project one of the few success stories, I wanted to try a new approach. I decided to integrate the Five Dysfunctions of Team and Death by Meeting concepts into the project team development process. As the leader, I experienced first-hand the powerful impact of focusing on the project team’s alignment, candor and meetings. Now, as a Table Group Consultant, I am able to share what I’ve learned with others.
In the movie Up In the Air, George Clooney's boss calls his team of “hired corporate assassins” into a room and announces a big change in the way they do business. Reps will no longer travel the country to fire people face-to-face, but rather they’ll do their dirty work remotely via web cams. Clooney and his colleagues leave that meeting feeling demoralized and resentful. And as with many important executive decisions made without team input, trouble ensues.
Prior to scheduling an executive team offsite, nearly every leader asks, ”How can I ensure this approach has legs and is not a flavor-of-the-month?” Many executives are tainted from past experiences of having attended an offsite, made some progress...only to watch it all slip away. If a team is truly committed to progress over the long term, the work we do around teams and organizations is designed to have legs. There are several steps the leader can take to ensure that progress and momentum continues. And, even if it’s been quite some time since your last formal offsite, these concepts can easily be applied following any key leadership team meeting.
Last week we met with all of our Consulting Partners from across the country at our 3rd Annual Consulting Partner Conference. During this past year, our Consulting Partners have collectively worked with an amazing 200+ clients, many of you included. At our gathering we shared client stories and best practices, fine-tuned consulting skills and more.
During 2006, The Table Group and our Consulting Partners worked with nearly 200 companies addressing both team and organizational challenges. One of the first areas we address in our consulting sessions with clients is organizational clarity. The concept around clarity is outlined in Pat's book, The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive, and requires an executive team to be on the same page regarding various foundational concepts around their business. During our sessions, we have teams answer questions such as: Why does this organization exist? What is our strategy? What are our goals? etc.
It's only been six months since Silos, Politics and Turf Wars was released, but we've been using the Thematic Goal model with our consulting clients for several years. Our hands-on, real-time experiences have helped us to refine the model to where it is now. Because we've received some additional questions on how to properly establish a Thematic Goal, we created a tool with additional instructions (see below).