Archives For team

iStock 000015726873XSmall 300x199 Team Chemistry:  Leveraging Diversity to Drive Team PerformanceThere is much good research on  the characteristics of high-performing teams.  It is possible to structure teams in ways that maximize performance (e.g.  small number, shared vision, complimentary skill sets…).   A great resource for this is
Katzenbach and Smith’s  The Wisdom of Teams.

I have been on teams that are identical in these criteria, and yet there is an invisible factor that seems to drive performance– chemistry. Continue Reading…

 

blizzard of snow geese 300x217 My Energy Project

photo by Larry Kohlenstein

As I have been doing more writing, I have been paying a lot of attention to which leaders I find most inspiring–and why.   For me, energy is a big factor in both whom I want to follow, and who I want on my team.

Leaders with strong, positive, engaging energy inspire others towards great results.  It is much harder for the team to run out of steam when the leader keeps showing up strong.

When building teams, I always look for those with an engaged heart and spirit who are fired up with positive intensity.  A lot of the other key skills can be taught if a person is wired that way. People have come to understand that this is how I roll, so it is getting easier to attract people who want to live in a fast paced, intense environment.  Energy attracts energy.

So with all that outward focused energy, why do I get so tired?

In preparing for this week’s writing, I looked to what others are saying on the subject.  My friends at Chatsworth  (Chatsworth on Forget About Managing Your Time, Manage Your Energy Instead),  have good thinking on managing energy versus time… and using those patterns.  That work then turned me on to Energy Project.

 

The Energy Project hones in on four key areas which drive our energy:  mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.  They offer a free “energy audit” for people to self assess how they are doing in each of these key areas, and then email the results with recommendations.  The cool part is that they also offer a sliding energy tool that provides suggestions based on the importance each of those factors has to you.

Take the Energy Audit Here

My results from the audit showed strong energy on the mental, physical, and spiritual dimensions, but that I was on the cusp of “an imminent energy crises” on the emotional front. Suggestions include “taking more time for activities I deeply enjoy” and “having more quality time with family and friends.”  Consistent with what my husband said to me just this morning, “I think you need to go do some more yoga… not by yourself, with your friends.”  Turns out he is a good energy barometer as well.

So, this weekend I did some yoga, had dinner with my husband, bowled with Sebastian, and paddle boarded with Ben.   And now from a calmer emotional heart, I head into a vital week at work and explore energetic leadership on my blog each day.  Hope you will join the conversation.

you may also enjoy Are You Skipping to Work?


Growing Leaders of All Ages:
Part of my mission for this blog is engaging leaders of all ages in the leadership conversation.  Today, I present a guest post from Jared Herr, age 12.  If you are a leader of any age, interested in collaborating on a guest post on leadership, let’s talk more.

dreamstime xs 22242614 240x300 Kermit the Frog as Leader? Its Not Easy Leading Green

royalties purchased from dreamstime.com

Kermit is a strong leader in many ways:

  • He works to make the muppets the best that they can be
  • He is inspiring because he always tries his hardest
  • He brings misfit animals together and makes them a team
  • He always has a plan
  • He is a collaborative decision maker 
  • He is self-reflective 
What are Kermit’s leadership challenges?
  • He takes things too personally
  • He has trouble giving tough feedback
  • He needs more work-life balance

Jared’s advice to Kermie…

You are a caring amphibian and always try to make others the best they can be. You put the muppets in roles where you know the can succeed.  You are a role model of hard work, and get all of those crazy animals pulling together as a team.  You inspire them to care about one another.

Kermit, one of your greatest strengths as a leader, self-reflection, is also your challenge.  You may want to check out Karin’s post (is strength your weakness).  For example,  you will double and triple check yourself to make sure every muppet is in a part of the show. But when things go wrong, you take it out on yourself. You always point out things you messed up with or things you should have done. I think you feel a lot of pressure being a leader.

I wish you could have more confidence in your decisions.  Once when you fired Miss Piggy (she deserved it), you ended up face down on the floor (of course, that may have something to do with dysfunctional love, but that’s another post).

You are so nice.  I worry sometimes you have trouble confronting or giving the tough coaching messages.  You always lead to victory in the end.  You might save some time if you could give more direct coaching along the way.

Kermit, you sure seem to face a lot of pressure as leader of the muppets.

I worry that you feel like as their leader, you need to be with them 24/7, and you don’t get much personal time.

All said, it is not easy leading green.  And you have a nice track record of results.  Keep up the great work.  I know you will continue to grow into an amazing leader.
***  

Check out some of Karin’s other posts that may help:

is strength your weakness
one person at a time
where there is chaos seize control

Jared Herr is 12 years old and a rising 7th grader. He likes to play basketball, swim, and act. He is a big fan of the muppets. For the seventh consecutive year, he is taking part in Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a charity that helps find a cure to pediatric  cancer. Together, he and his friend have raised over 25,000 dollars for cancer research.

eggs1 300x200 How to Pick the Right Big GoalWant more success and fun for your team?   Try picking one BIG goal.

When looking to make a difference for the business, I always look for the “one big goal” that we can accomplish that will really make an impact. As Covey would say, what is your most “Wildly Important Goal”?  What will be dramatically different (better) after our team is done with it?  What needs to be transformed?

Of course, organizations are complex and it’s impossible to have a singular focus.  However, I have found that planning for one BIG success,  along with one or two other related goals, creates a clear path that is easy to follow.  You will know if you have accomplished this if years later, people are still talking about the contribution that team made.

4 Ways to Grow Your Goal

Pick the Right BIG Goal

  • What does the business need most?
  • What are others struggling to accomplish?
  • What do people think can’t be done?
  • What is this team best positioned to do?
  • Are you passionately personally committed to this?

Gain Alignment

  • Do your boss and other key stakeholders see this as vital (even if they don’t think it is doable)
  • Are at least a few strong and energetic people on your team aligned (I have found in real turnaround situations, it usually takes some time to get everyone there)
  • Develop a zealous engagement and communication plan
  • Reinforce the vision non-stop (I have been accused of being a “maniac” about the vision)
  • Create imagery to align with the goal (use it to tie everything together)

Engage the Team

  • Involve everyone in the planning and execution
  • Involve them more
  • Break the problem down into manageable pieces, celebrate every milestone
  • Celebrate the big contributors, have them teach others
  • Learn from your skeptics, that bring them in to help
  • Celebrate the skeptic turnaround stories
  • Communicate constantly on the subject

Recognize Every Little Win

  • Create a rally cry, celebrate every contribution and link it to the bigger picture
  • Pay attention to what is working everywhere you go
  • Make success easy to notice, celebrate loudly and everywhere
  • Stay the course
In a complicated world we must do many things well.  We must be “AND” leaders.  I have also found that it is much more fun to also pick the home run in advance and leave nothing on the field when playing toward that goal.

for more on Covey’s WIGs

 

One Person at a Time

July 3, 2012 — 9 Comments

My favorite work as a leader is the time spent one on one, digging deep, helping to bring out the best in someone.  The other fun part is motivating large teams toward a vision and strategy to get something important done.  And then there is the in-between.

What I find most difficult as I have assumed larger roles with bigger teams is the strong desire to connect one on one, and the almost impossible task of getting to know everyone in a large organization to the depth that I would like.  I do my best to be as fully present as I can in each encounter, but it can be tough to do this well.   Intimacy is hard to scale.

 One Person at a Time

One Person at a Time

This challenge hit me in the face this week.

Intimacy is hard to scale

I was talking to an extended member of my team who does important work in my organization hundreds of miles away and a few levels down the org chart.   I had not seen him in about 6 months. He said to me, “Karin, I think about what you said to me every day.”  Oh boy… I smiled and waited.  It turns out  that once he reminded me of the challenge I had given him, I recalled the entire conversation, including exactly where we had been standing at the time.  However, if I had been really on my game, I would have had immediate recall and perhaps have even been the first to bring it up.

I was so pleased that the conversation had helped him, and so disappointed in myself for the lack of proactive follow-through.

Time Well Spent

As timing would have it,  the next day I walked into my office to find the very large stack of books I had ordered to give away at an upcoming summit I was hosting for some of my team.  My intention was to inscribe them with a personal messages for each team member.  That seemed like a good idea weeks ago, but now with literal wildfires burning in the West, and other emergencies that were consuming my day, it seemed like a daunting task.

That evening, I dove in… and  was surprised to find that what had felt like a difficult time-consuming exercise turned into a calming and useful experience.  Somehow, moving deliberately through the team, one person at a time.. thinking about each person very specifically and the gifts they were giving, felt magical to me.  Time melted away in a peaceful meditation.   I left that night feeling tremendous gratitude for the people in my organization and their contributions to the work and to one another.  It also became obvious to me that I knew some folks much better than others, and had much work ahead of me to be an effective leader for them.

Can intimacy scale?  Tough question.  There are certainly ways to be completely present in our relationships even in a large team setting.  And, of course ways to do better with follow-up.  I also found value in thinking quietly about each person one at a time, and seeing what surfaces.

Would love your comments and ideas…