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We're in this together

April 20, 2015

A quick note: Don’t try this at home. We’re fortunate to have an in-house expert to lead our session; inVision offers team effectiveness workshops for leadership and executive teams as part of our Activate approach, and Wendy Ferris has several years of experience helping teams improve their effectiveness. There is no substitute for having a trained team effectiveness facilitator guide your team through a session like this. The facilitator has the experience and expertise to establish a safe environment, identify what the team needs, and recognize progress and setbacks. Contact us for more info.

Last week, the inVision team attended our first team effectiveness workshop. I know what you’re thinking: uh oh, they must be having issues. There must be something going on in the team that needs fixing. In fact, our team works quite well together. On key measures, like the Team Health Check and the Five Dysfunctions of a Team, our scores are high. But, there’s always better. As well as we’re working together today, we need to work to make sure that we stay that way and even improve. And like anything in life, that takes effort.

So, the five of us met at the Ferris residence in Landmark, MB, for our team effectiveness workshop, led by Wendy. The main themes of the day: trust, conflict, and accountability. We didn’t know it at the time, but this session was one of the most influential experiences our team could have together.

No falling exercises here

Let’s talk about trust. Building trust is easier for some than others; we’re shaped by past experiences and trust is often easier said than done. This workshop is all about tackling the issues head-on, so we start the day by looking at our individual DISC profiles (I’m still a high “C”, for anyone keeping track), as well as our team DISC. Our team DISC assessment gives us some insight on how we work together as a group, taking into account all of the personal behaviours and traits we bring to the team. For example, our profile says that we, as a team, emphasize efficiency and results. More importantly, by studying our team DISC, we can learn how we can work together effectively. We’re developing actions that we’ll share with each other to help us work together more successfully.

Conflict is healthy

The DISC portion of the day was insightful and a warm up for the things that were to come. Next up, conflict. First lesson: conflict is a part of any healthy team. An absence of conflict is actually a sign that something’s wrong. The key is to work through conflict constructively and effectively; when a team can do that, it actually makes it stronger.

Through various exercises, our group developed a strategy that we will use to deal with conflict within the team. The great thing about this is that we’re all committed to the same strategy. If any one of us is bothered by something another team member has said or done, we now know how to approach the situation.

Accountability is key

If the DISC was the warm-up, and the conflict strategy was conditioning, the accountability portion of the day was the bootcamp. A team is only a team once its members experience this together (and I’m only half-joking). With hearts pounding and hands shaking, one by one we tell our team members one thing that they do that strengthens the team and one thing they do that detracts from the team. It was a truly emotional, therapeutic experience.

The next step? To take the feedback we’ve received from our teammates and develop two strategies that we’ll use to improve ourselves. We commit to those strategies, recognizing that we can further strengthen our team by acknowledging and working on behaviours that could hinder our success.

We’re ready

All in all, it was an incredibly productive, cathartic, beneficial day. We moved a yardstick. Trust? We’re getting there; we’re going to be real with each other and build meaningful relationships to strengthen our team. Conflict? Bring it on, we’ve got a strategy to deal with it. Accountability? Each of us know what we need to do to strengthen our team; we’ll hold ourselves, and each other, accountable to our improvement strategies.

As is tradition at inVision, we end every session by asking “What did we learn?”. I learned that as different as all of us are, there are many similarities we share; for example, how we want to be treated if someone has an issue with us, and the challenges that we face in being vulnerable and opening up to one another. At the end of the day, we share a common purpose: our team is strengthened by the desire to help each other, and inVision, do great things.

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