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Fostering an Environment of Success for Your Team

How to Create Success for Your Team

Seriously, don’t we all want to “foster” “success” as leaders?  My definition of success includes going home at night feeling like we really moved the mark today.  We did good work and it was appreciated.

Companies like 3M, Smith Sport Optics, Deckers, Patagonia know how to build the environments that inspire creativity.  Do they have meetings, budgets, hiring freezes and the normal worries of business today like supply chain issues and quality breakdowns?team successAbsolutely, they are dependent on work being done by humans.  Humans are, well, humanly vulnerable and break down too.  We are all aggravated when that happens.

We are all running too fast, doing too much and needing to get more done so we can have quality time with those around us.  White space creates quality time.  If you’re not familiar with that term it’s unstructured time that has no actual meeting or conference call or guitar lesson or anything in that block of time.  That’s where creative, quality ideas are generated. If your head is full of the “to do” list or the meeting notes there is no capacity for the new, do yourself a favor and schedule it.

There is a direct correlation between creativity and productivity.  If given a say in how I do something I am much more engaged in getting it done.  When I am responsible for how I get something done I am definitely going to be more mindful of how it gets done.  To capture that engagement and bring out more creativity aka productivity, new ideas, efficiency etc, do make a few of these changes Those leaders mandate white space where thinking comes from something other than staring at a spreadsheet or attending meetings.  Creativity comes in ways that aren’t structured into meetings.

Evidence-based theory will tell you why you should bring these ideas to your team:

Play research by Stuart Brown of Houston University did studies on the power of bringing more play into your life.  Play is defined by activities that have undefined ending, losing track of time in the activity and something you look forward doing.  The power of these types of activities directly correlate to happiness.  These activities are found in animals.  Competition is not part of play.   Example of play?  Brainstorming, mind mapping where there is no real end or canoeing or for me editing resumes.The power of adding that to yourteam day has great replenishment.  Find out what is fun for you.

Employee engagement research data with hundreds of thousands of people studied by Gallup show an absolute ROI on recognizing people’s work and clearly defining job expectations.  Then get out their way of doing it.  The employee who knows there work is valued works harder and longer.  There are other tenets of this study but recognition is free and by the way it’s not about you it’s about what they need.

James Carse introduced Infinite versus finite games talks about the unending game.  When you think about improve and the phrase “yes, and… the game or action goes on and on until you run out of time where there is room for new ideas.  With a no or well defined rules the new ideas are limited to those rules. This is building on the strength of systems thinking and knowing it is okay to have the approach to of “not knowing” to create environments of inclusion and expansion.

Happiness – is now recognized as a quantifiable data point. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote the book called Flow.  The title tells us being in the “flow” is about happiness.  It’s similar to play in that you get lost in the activity.  You really enjoy the process of what you’re doing. Again, the unstructured time, the white space and infinite games all bring us to our best self and into what is called “flow.”   Great work and creativity are by-products of flow.

Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie is on top of my suggested reading.  Buy the book and inside you’ll find a code to take an online assessment showing your strengths.  From there notice when you use those strengths and the outcome and figure out how to use them more in your daily work.  Then get your team to identify their strengths and the book has indicators what the strengths look like behaviorally and then ideas of how to lead them.  When you’re working in your strengths your happiness factor increases and so does your productivity.

All things Patrick Lencioni are solid about reality inside organizations and how to get you and the team rowing together.  His book 5 Dysfunctions of a Team is an easy read with a structure to get your executive team working together.

What the Body Tells You by Joe Navarro (an ex-FBI agent) is a fascinating read on body language and how to tell what is really going on with people on your team in real time.   You don’t want them to read it because you tell more than you know.

Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown tells us how making it okay to be real (albeit messy) will create an environment where your team will tell you there is a problem before the customer knows there is a problem.

There is a lot of reading here and many of us work with a deficit of time on our calendar. Get the cliff notes, watch a TED talk on the subject or assign your team to bring the book report to you and ideas of how you (and your team) can implement the ideas.  This is by no means an exhaustive list.

Easy team building activity for your next meeting?

Buy everyone on your immediate team Strengths Based Leadership.   Have them take the assessment.  Tell them not to read the successbook until they have completed the assessment (about 20 minutes) and then read what they find interesting.  Then have them report their strengths at the next staff meeting.  Include how they use those strengths or could use more of those strengths.

But starting with your own strengths and recognizing the strengths of others is a sure way to make your world more fun and you will have more creativity and success.  Working from your strengths build confidence in yourself, your team the team in other members of the team which fosters an environment of success.  But I am sure you knew that!

For More Help Building Your Successful Team Contact Us

For help in implanting the ideas from these incredible resources, coaching can help.  If you need ideas on how to ask open ended questions, get stronger facilitation skills or help with strategy to change the culture to around listening contact Pat Weiland, President at Sage Strategies

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