It’s a constant challenge for organisations to stay ahead in a fast-moving world. They need their teams to have strong collaboration, to be constantly improving productivity and to be engaged in a way that goes further than salary.
This post-COVID world we’re in is putting a big spotlight on challenges that were already there, aspects of highly effective team (H.E.T.) performance that leaders were already working hard to achieve.
At Leading Edge, when we support clients on team journeys, we focus on four pillars: a higher purpose that unites, robust collaboration priorities, ways of working that ‘get stuff done’ and winning behaviours.
But just as important in our Point of View on Teams is having curiosity to care for each other and clarity on the landscape and context.
If these change – as they have done so dramatically in recent months – all those great plans and aspirations need to change as well. It’s really important not to just carry on along the same path towards the same shared goal, even though the instinct is to do just that.
As I talked about here, we’re coming out of this COVID storm as both individuals and teams with different outlooks and feelings.
Curiosity to care
This was so clear the other day when I facilitated a virtual session with a senior team. While exploring clarity of context and landscape and caring for each other, the team shared their own experiences of navigating the storm.
Two people displayed diametrically opposing views on the severity of the situation. Without breaking any confidences, for one person lockdown was particularly difficult because of a relationship challenge now being massively exaggerated. For someone else who had previously lived through a very harrowing and difficult time in a country’s history, it was hard to see why lockdown could be that challenging.
In sharing their views and experiences, both were able to reflect and ask themselves whether their perspective was driving the way they were leading through this time. Being curious about each other’s lived experiences helped them to better understand just how much things might have changed and just how off course their colleagues and teams might be feeling.
They reflected on how their amazing pre-COVID team charter might not be right for now: the external piece has shifted. Customers have new expectations, the economy isn’t the same, competitors are different, and keeping safe means working in an unfamiliar way.
It’s so important in our Point of View to remember that there’s always something going on with someone, but we don’t always know about it. Right now, it feels like everyone has something going on because we have a common storm to discuss. Through familiarity with our H.E.T. framework, I hope our clients feel supported with what’s needed today and with reassessing to move forward. Truly caring for each other and giving each other a safe space while trying to focus on that new landscape will help us all on this unexpected journey.