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As a Team Coach, I get to see first-hand the power of human connection in building team effectiveness – and never more so than when I support fantastic teams to develop high performance.
I’m currently one session in to a four-session Highly Effective Teams (H.E.T.) journey for a Leading Edge Performance client, a journey that’s enabling this client to truly experiment with a prototype for how senior team development will look and feel in the future.
For this senior leadership team of a prominent international food manufacturer, collaboration is at the heart of a tailored journey – specifically, what collaboration looks like in their current operational environment and what it will need to look like as the group change how they work as a senior team to achieve their goals moving forward.
We’re viewing ‘highly effective team performance’ through two clear lenses – mechanics and organics – where the mechanics are, quite simply, what the team has been tasked to do and the organics are, slightly less clear-cut, how the team goes about doing them, with a focus on recognising how they need to be together to get the most out of their collective wisdom.
Tailoring team support
I love it when a client, in this case a programme ‘sponsor’, is incredibly passionate and driven, happy to express just how important the journey is to both them and the organisation. So I’m thrilled that this sponsor is exactly like that! Number one on her list is for this team to receive support and development that’s highly tailored to them, both for their current day-to-day and for what’s coming up.
She wants to take as much learning as possible from this team journey and then create even more bespoke development for future teams we’ll be supporting.
The Leading Edge Performance point of view on teams – the H.E.T. framework – has been designed and developed exactly in this way: to work flexibly around the needs of each team and enable them to deep dive into the themes they’ve identified as important to them. It’s certainly no cookie-cutter approach.
What’s making this programme even more beneficial is the ‘prototype within a prototype’ approach. The team have chosen a business project to work on within their journey, where they’ll test out the identified types of behaviours and ways of working that support their highly effective team principles. It’s giving them an invaluable opportunity to monitor results along the way and put changes into action, where needed.
Exploring team behaviours through storytelling
This group have responded brilliantly so far to my natural style of aiming for high engagement, which I do through making learning and sharing fun, caring deeply, and telling stories as a way to attempt to make sense of some of the challenges.
One of my most important principles for supporting teams is showing deep levels of listening and understanding with what’s going on in their worlds. And by role modelling the behaviours conducive to high performance (the ones they’ve aligned on as a group as being important for them in their environment) and acknowledging some of my own vulnerabilities, I can win confidence and be both strong and supportive in the challenge.
There’s a lot being asked of this senior leadership team. Much of what we’re covering, and how we’re exploring it, is very new. In our first session, I noticed them finding real value and benefit when being vulnerable and opening up, both as a collective and outside of their team. They were clearly finding new ways to engage and add value to the business – and it felt good for them.
It’s important for them to create a conscious culture of how they want and need to be in this changed world. With such a super supportive sponsor allowing me the freedom to support the team in a bespoke way, guided by an established framework, I can see this team feeling empowered to align with a common language as they move towards achieving what’s being asked of them.
Session two is later this month. It’ll be brilliant to get back in the room with this great group, hear their progress and support them as they keep that momentum going.