How to Hold a Team Mastermind Problem Solving Meeting

How to Hold a Team Mastermind Problem Solving Meeting

Nothing beats a great mastermind group to challenge your thinking, spark new ideas, and help you grow.

Most of the time, we think of these mastermind groups as people from different organizations with similar levels of ambition and experience who meet to share ideas and support one another.

What if you could use a similar approach to spark innovative thinking and problem solving within your own team?

4 Steps to Holding a Team Mastermind Problem Solving Meeting

We recently helped a leader from a well-known tech giant design a mastermind problem-solving session for her leadership offsite. It worked so well we thought you might also like to try the approach.

It works like this:

Every team member brings a strategic business challenge they’re wrestling with and pitches it to the group for ideas. Everyone gets an opportunity to share their challenge and explain why it’s hard, what they’ve tried, and where they need some ideas. Once they’ve explained the challenge the other members of the team ask additional probing questions and share their best ideas.

This works particularly well to build trust and teamwork in diverse teams that don’t have a lot of natural interdependencies. Or teams that tend to operate in silos and not rely on one another for support.

1. Start by introducing the concept and the ground rules.

This is best done live (in a meeting or conference call), so you can generate excitement and answer questions.

Establish the parameters (e.g. the type of challenge, how long each person will have.) Have some sample challenges in mind, so people can get a sense of what you are looking for. For example, one parameter might be: the problem you’re looking to solve must have a measurable business impact within the next six months.

We highly recommend that you lead the way by having the challenge you plan to bring to the mastermind to use as an example.

2. Set up the structure.

If you have a large team, you’ll want to do this in multiple sessions. Having more than six people share will feel overwhelming.

Each team member gets 5 minutes to explain their challenge. These sentence starters will help streamline the set up:

  • My challenge is _________.
  • It’s important to the business because _____.
  • Success looks like __________.
  • It’s hard because _______.
  • I’ve already tried_________.
  • I could really use your thoughts on  _______.

After each person presents their challenge the rest of the team has 15-25 minutes (you pick the length and ensure everyone gets the same amount) to share their best ideas.

This is intended to be a rapid-fire brainstorming where the recipient takes it all in. It works best when recipients commit to not argue with what is shared, but just ask questions to help expand or deepen understanding. Of course, the best ideas can be explored further with their teammates after the meeting.

3. Select a timekeeper.

You’ll want to use a timer and have a designated person to keep things on track. It can be tempting to spend all the time defining the challenge.

4. Debrief the process.

Ask your team what they found helpful and challenging about the process. And explore other ways they can share ideas and help one another solve problems formally and informally going forward.

Your turn. 

As we continue our research and writing toward our next book on Courageous Cultures, we would love to hear your best practices for building teams of micro-innovators, problem-solvers, and customer-advocates. Would love your ideas in the comments, or reach out to us at info@letsgrowleaders.com.

Practical Ideas for Fostering True Collaboration: A Frontline Festival

This months topic, collaboration, is particularly poignant for me, as the Frontline Festival has now been an active collaborative adventure including thought leaders around the world for five-and-a-half years.

In March of 2013, while still working at Verizon and having been blogging for under a year, I sent a curious email to thought leaders whom I respected and asked them if they’d be willing to share their very best leadership thinking for frontline leaders.  I was overwhelmed by the response of so many well-established bloggers willing to play along.

I was a busy executive and an earnest rookie blogger. For grins, you can see my headshot at the time 😉

I could never have imagined how many of those who originally contributed would still be sharing their insights on this our 66th Frontline Festival, as well as all of the new people who would have joined along the way.

Some of you may remember our original Festival branding (see right.)

I’m delighted that so many of these contributors have become collaborators in many other ways and some of whom have now become incredible friends. And yes, this first Frontline Festival is the first nugget of collaboration I had with David, who is now my husband, co-author, and business partner.

I have learned so much from all of you. I am grateful for the work you on our shared mission of growing leaders.

You can see the inaugural post here. 

We’re always welcoming new contributors. In honor of customer service week, next month’s festival is all about customer service. You can submit your blog post URL  here!

Now, on to collaboration!

Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors!

Collaboration Tools and Techniques

Julie Winkle Giulioni of DesignArounds writes The Work of ColLABORation. Done well, collaboration looks effortless. It appears to be a fluid give-and-take, a hand-in-glove partnership among individuals who make it all look natural and easy. But these appearances belie the fact that ‘labor’ is at the center of collaboration… and that most collaboration is the result of very deliberate work and attention.

We particularly love Julie’s 3D reflection approach where people are encouraged to reflect on what they need, what the other person needs, and what they most need together.  Follow Julie.

Sean Glaze of Great Results Teambuilding asks, How Can I Get Rid of Silos on My Team? Lack of collaboration (Silo-ing) occurs because of a lack of clarity in terms of expectations…If you set up those expectations, with an organizational chart that shows who everyone is responsible for, those relationships provide clarity and keep communication flowing.  Follow Sean.

Laura Schroeder of Working Girl shares Get Off the Couch: Agility, Innovation and Failure. Collaboration helps drive innovation but how you do it matters. Without a cohesive strategy and clear priorities pulling everyone in the right direction – and clear game rules – collaboration on its own can result in wasted effort and demotivated teams. Follow Laura. 

Collaboration, Innovation and Productivity

Jesse Stoner of Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership gives us Let’s Stop Confusing Cooperation and Teamwork with Collaboration. Often the words collaboration, coordination, and cooperation are used to describe effective teamwork. But they are not the same. When we use these words interchangeably, we dilute their meaning and diminish the potential for creating powerful, collaborative workplaces. Follow Jesse.

Great insights here about how collaboration relates to vision. True collaboration involves working together to achieve something new.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group provides What Great Teams are Made Of (It’s Not What You Might Expect.)  A study found that the time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50 percent or more over the last two decades. The message is clear: paying attention to how teams interact is critical for effective leadership. Research shows that the best and most effective teams aren’t those that combined the best and brightest people, but rather, something you might not expect.  Follow David.

Collaboration is like carbonation for fresh ideas. Working together bubbles up ideas you would not have come up with solo, which gets you further faster. ~ Caroline Ghosn

Ronni Hendel of InsightOut Leadership offers New Ways to Navigate the Increasing Complexities of Work.  One of the keys to operating in complexity is recognizing that expertise alone won’t get us to the finish line. Collaboration is required. Ronni explores a powerful model for understanding complexity and collaboration. Follow Ronni.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership gives us The Team’s the Thing and the People are the Team.  For the most productive teams, it’s all about the people. Follow Wally.

Collaboration and Influence

As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life. ~ Amy Poehler

Sophie Blumenthal of Resume Library shares How to Give Constructive Feedback to Your Boss. This post highlights how to give constructive feedback to your boss, demonstrating how collaborating on all levels can be beneficial to employers and employees. Follow Sophie.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited offers How to Handle the Workplace Nag. Some co-workers want to “over-collaborate” in the form of constant reminding or following up. Here are a few tips, based loosely on a true story, to collaborate more effectively in that situation. Follow Beth.

Robyn McLeod of Thoughtful Leaders Blog provides Four Steps to Making Office Politics Work for You.  Learn how to avoid office politics, so you can make your daily work life much more rewarding and create pathways for even greater success.  Follow Robyn.

Collaboration and Virtual Teams

Rachel Blakely-Gray of Patriot Software, LLC  gives us Four Ways to Increase Collaboration in the Virtual Workplace. Collaboration in the workplace shouldn’t just be encouraged among your in-house staff. Use the four tips in this article to encourage collaboration by your remote employees, too.  Follow Rachel.

Ken Downer of Rapid Start Leadership offers Leading a Virtual Team: 12 Powerful Ways to Lead a Team You Can’t See.  Collaboration gets harder as the physical distance between teammates grows. Here are 12 ways to close the gap and improve teamwork even when you are miles or time zones apart.  Follow Ken.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates wrote What a Sailboat Captain Taught Me about Leading in Adversity.  When you are on stormy seas with a small crew on a small boat you need to collaborate with one another to make it through the adversity.  Follow Shelley.

Stories of Collaboration

Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen gives us a book review of What the Eyes Don’t See.  When Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha saw signs of a problem in her community, her questions were refused and minimized. It took collaboration with other caring people to help her get her message across and save lives. Follow Paula.

Scott Savage of Thin Difference offers Learning from Lincoln: How Our Greatest President Invited Difficult People to the Table. The world doesn’t get better when we tune out contrary voices and opposing opinions. Echo chambers don’t make a better world – collaboration does.  Follow Scott.

Frontline Festival: Leaders Give Pointers on Handling Conflict

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is about handling conflict in your team. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about building brand awareness. What approaches are you and your team using to build your organization’s brand? Submit your relevant blog posts here!

Robyn McLeod of Thoughtful Leaders Blog  presents how to handle in-fighting on your team by sharing four tips that help leaders break through communication barriers and eliminate in-fighting within their teams.  How to Handle In-fighting on Your Team  Follow Robyn.

Jesse Stoner of Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership says that a list of values that are simply a list of single words that are not clearly defined can lead to confusion and team conflict, as this true story demonstrates. 5 Tips to Ensure Your Values Unify Your Team, Not Divide    Follow Jesse.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership   says if you’re the boss, you have to confront team members about poor performance. When you do it promptly and well, everyone is better off.  Confrontation and Splinters   Follow Wally.

For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.  Margaret Heffernan

David Grossman of The Grossman Group  explains that conflict is a paradox that every leader faces:  Create teams that work well together but embrace conflict. Embracing Conflict: It’s Part of Every Leader’s Job  Follow David.

Chris Edmonds of Driving Results through Culture  says when team members are of “one mind, one heart, and one voice,” there are fewer conflicts, better decision making, and more aligned performance.  Does Your Team Have “One Mind, One Heart, One Voice”?   Follow Chris.

From Chery Gegelman of Simply Understanding: In all conflicts – the only person you will ever control is you…but learning to hold others accountable with compassion will grow your influence and your results.  Got Sugar?  Learning to Speak Truth with Grace   Follow Chery.

Amanda Cameron of Patriot Software, LLC knows that being the boss isn’t easy. Business leaders need to know how to handle conflict in the workplace to keep operations running smoothly. How to Handle Conflict at Work for Small Business   Follow Amanda.

Conflict is drama, and how people deal with conflict shows you the kind of people they are. Stephen Moyer

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates explores how to handle conflict well by pointing out that your team needs to have healthy conversations. She provides some tips for turning competitive talks into collaborative discussions. For Better Decisions: Convert Competitive Talking into Collaborative Talking  Follow Shelley

Nathan Regier of Next Element Consulting – Next From Nate  shares his viewpoint that when we mediate, manage, or reduce the conflict, we necessarily reduce the energy available for productive problem-solving. When we respect the tension and use that energy to create instead of destroy, the results can be transformative.  My Manifesto For Change: Conflict Isn’t The Problem  Follow Nathan.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference  shares his perspective about how business can be a power for good amid the the conflict that pervades our nation’s political discourse. It’s time for CEOs to become activists for positive change and help handle the conflict infecting our American team.   The Leadership Power Shift Underway (A Political and Business Undercurrent)  Follow Jon.

Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.  William Ellery Channing

From Paula Kiger of Weaving Influence: In this post, Paula shares the story of a father who sends his children to learn teamwork via a “challenge course.” The situation deteriorates when there is conflict over who will lead and who will follow.  Gambling on Leadership  Follow Paula.

Chip Bell of Chip Bell.com  challenges us to get a child to hear your positions and make recommendations.  There is nothing more sobering than hearing an eight-year old comment on your positions and practices.  Their innate humility and innocence can be a boon to seeing through the minutia and sometimes silly things that trigger conflicts.    Follow Chip.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited  knows that to handle conflict well, you sometimes owe someone an apology. She shares about a well-done apology she was given. How to Give an Effective Apology   Follow Beth.

 

 

Frontline Festival: Leaders Share about Confidence, Humility, Results, & Relationships

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is a celebratory finish line of the Winning Well International Symposium with themes of confidence, humility, results, and relationships. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about handling conflict in your team. Submit your relevant blog posts by June 9 here!

 

CONFIDENCE

If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.  Marcus Garvey

John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement discusses why the lack of confidence is more problematic than having confidence. Building a Great Software Development Team    Follow John.

Robyn McLeod of Thoughtful Leaders Blog shares that building our self-respect strengthens confidence and allows us to be more open to feedback. Why Self-respect is a Key Leadership Skill  Follow Robyn.

HUMILITY

Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.  Augustine

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership explores the virtue of humility as a leader. Don’t Worry About Being Humble, Just Do It  Follow Wally.

Skip Prichard of Leadership Insights leads us in discovering a unique leadership lesson in humility from Pope Francis. You’ll find 12 leadership lessons from the Vatican. Lead With Humility: 12 Lessons from Pope Francis.    Follow Skip.

RESULTS

The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual. Vince Lombardi

David Grossman of The Grossman Group tells his story of self-discovery and stresses the value of leaders living authentically so you can be your best self, motivate your teams, and get results by showing leaders how to bring your best to work and bring out the best in others.  Respectful Authenticity    Follow David.

Artika Tyner of Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute shares 5 key lessons on how to achieve results in your business and professional development. 5 Lessons on Business Success from the American Small Business Champion TrainingFollow Artika.

Note: We’d like to congratulate Dr. Tyner and the Planting People Growing Justice organization on the national recognition as an American Small Business Champion!

Sean Glaze of Great Results Teambuilding  talks about the problem with getting results and buy-in on many teams is that mission statements stay on the walls. It never makes it into the hearts and minds of the people working together to establish a relationship between what they DO and what they are helping to accomplish.  How Many Mission Statements Does Your Team Have?  Follow Sean.

Hiro Taylor of HeroPay Starting knows starting a small business can be hard. When the times get tough remember these words of wisdom, from some of the most successful people of the last century. Keep your eyes on the prize – in business and in life. 10 Motivational Quotes Every Small Business Owner Should Read Follow Hiro.

RELATIONSHIPS

Trust is the glue of life. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships. Stephen Covey

Mike Kappel of Patriot Software, LLC  When it comes to leading a team to success, relationships are key. For top results, leaders need to know how to connect with the workforces they manage. How to Be a Team Player in a Leadership Role   Follow Mike.

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership.  offers her thoughts on why connection fuel progress, and is the source for progress that is both meaningful and satisfying. We sacrifice that progress when we don’t consciously take the time to just talk to each other — human to human — and take the time to connect meaningfully. 3 Reasons Why Connecting is Essential to Progress    Follow Susan.

Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer Leadership talks about how a leader’s ability to build relationships with their employees is fast becoming a critical key to their success. Learn about 3 strategies to help with this.  3 Keys For Building Relationships With Those You Lead  Follow Tanveer.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited reminds us that there is an “I” in teamwork and helps us assess whether we are a good team player.  There is an “I” in Team  Follow Beth.

Jesse Stoner of Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership  shares a personal experience of bridging the divide.  This is the story of how my brother and I came to terms with our differences and what I learned about how to bridge the divide.  Dialogue Bridges the Divide    Follow Jesse.

 

 

 

 

Development

Frontline Festival: Leaders Share about Growth and Change

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is all about growth and change. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival corresponds to the Winning Well International Symposium. We will run the Frontline Festival as our closing post for the symposium, the week of May 22.  Please share your best blog post that correlates with one of the four Winning Well principles: Confidence, Humility, Results, or Relationships.  Submit your item here by May 15.

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership shares that understanding your typical personal style of leadership can help you grow as a leader, by guiding your approach to the three fundamental acts of leadership  Speaking Up, Stepping Up, and Standing Up Follow Susan.

Lisa Kohn from Thoughtful Leaders Blog practices Positive Psychology, and is working to be more consistent in its application of the tools and mindsets, and also more equipped to guide clients through it. Get Serious About Your Growth  Follow Lisa.

John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement gives us ways to focus on growing and changing. Our culture seems to encourage the superficial and new even when, as it so often does, it mainly amounts to fooling oneself.  The Road Not Taken    Follow John.

The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.  Ray Kroc

Rachel Blakely of Patriot Software, LLC  advises that as a small business owner, your company will experience huge benefits when you develop leadership skills. Eight Tips for Growing as Leader in Business.  Follow Rachel.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group is focused on leading with respectful authenticity. The Secret Respectfully Authentic Leaders Know. Follow David.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership says leading change in an organization is a lot like pouring coffee in a restaurant. You can learn a lot from a professional waiter. Change and the Gentle Pour.   Follow Wally.

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.  John F. Kennedy

Skip Prichard of Leadership Insights is focused on growth to increase my creative side. Many of us don’t think of ourselves as creative – not only are there many types of creativity – but all of us can use hacks to increase our creativity. 23 Hacks to Boost Your Creativity.  Follow Skip.

Chip Bell of ChipBell.com comments: After watching Will Smith in the new movie Collateral Beauty I want to pay more attention to and value the details of my experiences and be more in the moment.  I am an overachiever (a trait I like) and try to maximize productivity (a trait I also like).  But I too often miss the beauty of the cardinal outside my office window or the amaryllis starting to bloom or the pain on the face of the guy who picks up my garbage each week.  I need to remember to ask him a question about his life and thank him for his work.  Follow Chip.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited provides a list of 10 Apps, Tools and Resources for Your Professional Development and Inspiration. Follow Beth.

Hold yourself responsible to a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.  Henry Ward Beecher

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates suggests walking a labyrinth to learn leadership discipline. Follow Shelley

According to Sean Glaze of Great Results Teambuilding leaders have a tremendous impact on their organization because the phrases they share with their teams can either produce distrust and apathy or ignite passion and commitment. Follow Sean.

Visme.com contributed the following leadership infographic by Gordon Tredgold of GordonTredgold.com which provides a compilation of 20 Habits of unsuccessful leaders.  Follow Visme.  Follow Gordon. 12 Exalting Phrases Good Leaders Share with their Team.  Follow Sean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frontline Festival: Leaders Share Team Building Ideas

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is all about team time. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival follows up on this month’s with a theme all about growth and change. The question for the month is:  What is an area of growth you are focusing on, either professionally or personally? Submit your growth and change related blog posts and answers to that question here!

This month’s question was: What tips do you have for working well with a team?

A sense of teamwork is crucial for a productive small business staff. Try steps for leaders to take for building teamwork in the workplace from Amanda Cameron of Patriot Software, LLC Follow Amanda.

If you find yourself on a dysfunctional team, or just want to get a new team off to a great start, ask yourself the following three questions from Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership. You may discover that your team is nothing more than a committee in disguise. If so, now you’ll know exactly how to correct course.Follow Susan.

Skip Prichard of Leadership Insights gives us 10 strategies to help make a team work well together. They are derived by Dennis Perkins who studied the incredible survivor story of the Midnight Rambler and the storm that almost destroyed everything. Follow Skip.

Part of developing a team that works well together is developing the individual skills of people. A bigger part of it is developing an understanding of the system within which those people must operate and adjusting that system to the people on the team.  Too much time is devoted to changing people to fit into the constraints of the existing system and too little to changing the existing system to take advantage of individuals on the team now. Thanks, John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement Follow John.

Building product is not about having a large team to manage. It is about having a small team with the right people on it. ~ Fred Wilson

Jesse Stoner of Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership asks, “How many teams have you been on that came to an official end?” If you’re like most people, it’s not too many. That’s because teams seem to take on a life of their own, even after their initial purpose has been fulfilled or no longer makes sense. Here’s how to tell when it’s time to close down a teamFollow Jesse.

Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer Leadership   helps us learn about three tactics successful leaders use to build thriving teams that can adapt to the changing needs of their organization.  Follow Tanveer.

Robyn McLeod of Thoughtful Leaders Blog notes that at times, the way a team is set up and work gets done, can cause a team to be more at odds than pulling together. But with four simple tips – as simple as reducing conflicting goals – you can help your team work as one rather than against each other.   Follow Robyn.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership reminds us that most of us do most of our work in teams. Here are four important things you should know that make a core work team effective. Follow Wally.

Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people. ~ Steve Jobs

Chris Edmonds of Driving Results through Culture shares an important exercise you can do with your team to help them write their unique story in “Nurture Your Team’s Narrative.” Follow Chris.

Julie Winkle Giulioni of DesignArounds shares the 10 Top Trust Terminators that will break down teamwork. Follow Julie

Chery Gegelman of Simply Understanding tells the story of an under-performing team that was feeling victimized but changed their focus, learned how to play together, built trust, began exceeding their goals and instigated organizational development projects throughout the company.  (When we create workplaces that encourage people to use their imaginations and to laugh, we will increase energy, teamwork and results!) Follow Chery.

Alli Polin of Break the Frame  shares that the best leaders know that teamwork is a dance between individual strength and team capacity. Skills matter, but team members must have each other’s back, consistently give their personal best and learn how to play well with others too. Follow Alli.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates shares some ways to increase participation in your team. Follow Shelley

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited acknowledges that sometimes, team building starts by looking at ourselvesFollow Beth.

The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team. ~ John Wooden

 

 

team

Frontline Festival: Leaders Give Pointers on Creating Connection

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is all about creating connection. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival follows up on this month’s with a theme all about team time. The question for the month is:  What practical tips do you have for working well with a team and building a sense of teamwork?? Submit your teamwork related blog posts and answers to that question here!

Amanda Cameron of Patriot Software, LLC explains the importance of promoting teamwork in an organization and the positive results that can be achieved through creating connection. Learn the benefits of a team that works together, tips for encouraging teamwork, and how Patriot Software uses unique methods to connect team members. Follow Amanda.

According to David Grossman of The Grossman Group great leaders don’t just manage employees; they make sure employees are motivated, engaged and inspired when coming to work. There are a number of ways this can be done, from asking open-ended questions to create dialogue and being a role model, to recognizing employees for doing their job. More on these, and 7 other ways to engage and connect with employees here.  Follow David.

David Chaudron of Organized Change  recalls that Traditional Management theory had managers dictating work and assigning tasks to workers. Today we know that an engaged employee is more productive and has more to offer than completing assigned tasked. 360 Feedback systems connect the loop for communication and engagement Follow David.

According to William Steiner of Executive Coaching Concepts, your ability to connect with others is directly related to your ability to demonstrate empathy for them.  This post talks about key elements for you to make an empathetic connection and some key “Don’ts” that could hijack your efforts.Follow William.

Communication, the human connection, is the key to personal and career success. ~ Paul J. Meyer

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership shares the most important single thing you can do to create connections and start conversations. Follow Wally.

Jesse Lyn Stoner of Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership reminds us that identifying team values are a great way to create team connection. But if it’s not done right, it can actually create discord, as this short story shows. This post also includes 6 questions to ensure your team values unite your team. Follow Jesse Lyn.

John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement believes it is important to focus on creating a shared connection to working together.  He advises that we seek to provide people an opportunity to take pride in their work.  With intrinsic motivation for being proud of the work that naturally encourages people to work together.  Artificial “bonding” outside of the context of work mostly doesn’t translate to the work environment and therefore is not where we should focus.Follow John.

David Dye of Trailblaze tells us that one of the most powerful opportunities you have to connect with your team – is when things go wrong. David shares how you can Own the Ugly and show them they can trust you. Follow David.

Loneliness is proof that your innate search for connection is intact. ~ Martha Beck

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates knows that connection and motivation can go hand in hand. Using brain science, she provides five ways to motivate your team. Follow Shelley

Alli Polin of Break the Frame   observes that teams are increasingly decentralized and leaders are challenged to create connection when face to face interaction is infrequent at best. She provides a guide to help leaders facilitate success in the age of virtual teams. Follow Alli.

Lisa Kohn from Thoughtful Leaders Blog shares a challenge that teams sometimes face. It’s the amount of work that needs to get done, and the tendency to “dump” work from one person to another. When team members find ways to work together to solve a joint problem or issue, the dumping often lessens or stops, but sometimes getting together isn’t that easy to do. She gives a few suggestions on how to do it. Follow Lisa.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited recognizes that in order to foster strong team relationships, sometimes you need to apologize. She gives some pointers on how to apologize well. Follow Beth.

The business of business is relationships; the business of life is human connection. ~ Robin S. Sharma

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference reflects that creating a connection between members of any team requires trust. To recover from our current trust depression, we need to reexamine some of our decades-old thought patterns and rethink our assumptions. With new information and updated analysis, we can craft plans to help employees and partners while building trust in the process. Follow Jon.

Chris Edmonds of Driving Results through Culture   reminds us that creating  authentic care–a genuine connection  where team members like and trust each other-takes time, energy, and consistency. A bowling event or a trust fall exercise won’t have long term benefits unless the experience can be quickly tied to daily challenges the team faces. In his post, “Most Teambuilding Isn’t,” he proposes a proven path to helping create trust and respect across a team. Follow Chris.

How to Build a High-Performing Team- despite a stack-ranked performance management system

Bell curves bring out the worst in your best. Rewarding individual performance drives individual behavior. Yet most performance management systems do just that.

Of course unless you’re running HR, you’re can’t change the system, but you can build great teams within it.

In this video I share 6 ways to encourage true teamwork and collaboration.

Lead past the curve to greatness.

 

If you’re looking to take your team to the next level, I’d love to give you a demo or my online course, Results that Last, just send me an email at karin.hurt@letsgrowleaders.com

SPECIAL EDITION-Frontline Festival – Thought Leaders Share about 7 Roles That Lead to Lasting Results

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. I’m delighted to have so many thought leaders weighing in on the seven roles I see as most critical to building results that last.

This Festival is also a celebration of my new multi-media e-course that is launching October 27th. You can learn more about it by clicking here.

On that page, you can also download my FREE ebook: Mentoring in the Age of the Millennial and sign up for my FREE 5 Day Leadership Challenge.

Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors!

Thought Leaders Share About 7 Roles That Lead to Lasting Results

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Translator:  Don’t Motivate Until You Translate

Key Question:  What’s most IMPORTANT?

Key Behaviors: Stays on top of industry and competitive trends; helps his or her team understand how their work fits into the bigger picture; works to ensure other departments know what we do and why it’s important.

Thought Leaders Share:

According to David Dye of Trailblaze, many team leaders consign their people to meaningless drudgery and are surprised when people don’t care about the work. David shares how to avoid this leadership mistake and keep your people energized with one simple practice.  Follow David.

Charles Saliba of HR Works tells us that leaders are messengers. They play the most important role in mobilizing their teams, helping them see the whole picture, and stimulating their motivation. Hence, if Leaders are unable to translate the Business Vision to their employees, they will not be able to motivate them. Follow Charles.

builder

Builder: To See More, Be More

Key Question: How do we IMPROVE?

Key Behaviors: Challenges each team member to continuously improve their skills; addresses performance issues head on; provides consistent, candid feedback.

Thought Leaders Share:

Chantal Bechervaise of Take It Personel-ly  reminds us that Leadership is a skill. And like any other skill, it can be something you’re naturally talented at, something you practice, and something you learn. This post examines some of the “good” skills that leaders have or should have. Follow Chantal.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership points out that human beings are naturally creative. Your challenge is to get them to share ideas at work. It’s not that hard. Follow Wally.

John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement suggests you favor efforts that will help you build organizational capacity to do more of what you want going forward. Partially this is about building expertise in the organization. It is also about building your circle of influence so you can expand to more ambitious improvement efforts once the organization is prepared to succeed with such efforts.  Follow John.

Dr. Artika Tyner of the Planting People. Growing Justice Institute  suggests that Nelson Mandela’s leadership legacy provides us with a daily challenge to make an impact through service in the global community. We are reminded that it is #Time2Serve and the time to serve is always now. Follow Artika.

Lisa Kohn from Thoughtful Leaders Blog presents Building with Thrown Bricks where she shares that successful times are those when we take the bricks that others throw at us and choose not to be defeated, not to give up, and not to live our life dodging thrown bricks, but instead to build an even stronger foundation for the project we’re leading, the goal we’re after, the life of our dreams, and the person we want to be.  Follow Lisa.

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Connector: Trust Them to Trust You

Key Question:  How can we best work TOGETHER?

Key Behaviors:  Communicates frequently through multiple channels; provides opportunities for cross training; helps the team surface and discuss their conflicts productively.

Thought Leaders Share:

Paula Kiger of Perspicacity shares about Bob Hentzen, who led an organization which crossed boundaries of 22 countries and many socio economic and other boundaries. He left the poorest people feeling capable and the richest people feeling connected to the poor.  Follow Paula. 

John Manning of Map Consulting reminds us that if you trust your team you’ll not only foster employee morale, growth, and productivity but also attract the best and brightest talent throughout the course of your leadership. Here are three surefire ways to show your people you trust them.  Follow John.  

Jennifer Miller of The People Equation says leaders must give trust to get it in return from their teams. But trusting behavior doesn’t just “happen.” She offers seven questions for leaders to ponder to determine their trust-building Point of View. Follow Jennifer.

galvanizerGalvanizer

Key Question:  How do WE make a difference?

Key Behaviors: Rallies his or her team toward a compelling vision of the future; asks great questions that inspire employees to do more; people on his/her team are excited about what they are up to.

Thought Leaders Share:

Matt McWilliams of Matt McWilliams Consulting shares that every great leader must learn to instill belief in his team. When you say “I believe in you” to someone, you are empowering them to stretch beyond their limits and achieve new levels of success. Follow Matt.

Bill Treasurer of Giant Leap Consulting suggest that one challenge most leaders face is how to inspire more workplace creativity. Inspiring creativity and imagination often requires disrupting people’s mental routine and catching them off guardFollow Bill.

#resultsthatlast

Backer: Help Them Taste the Win

 

Key Question:  How do we accomplish MORE?

Key Behaviors: Proactively removes roadblocks for his or her team; helps team members recover from setbacks or disappointments; will “take a bullet” for the team.

Thought Leaders Share:

According to Lisa Hamaker of How Good Can You Stand It? leaders know that empowering each person on their team reaps benefits, but may focus on hard skills. Here are Three Ways that the super soft skill of Creating Joyful Work benefits the team’s work. Follow Lisa.

 

Accelerator: Burn the Script

Key Question: How can I HELP?

Key Behaviors: Finds ways to eliminate wasteful and redundant work; runs efficient and effective meetings; includes the right people in decisions so projects move along efficiently.

Thought Leaders Share:

Michelle Cubas, CPCC, ACC, of Positive Potentials, LLC tells us leaders must be in better touch with their communication and emotional intelligence styles to be significant transformers in today’s frenetic human spheres. It will serve them to generate enthusiasm and momentum for the visions that put before their people. Follow Michelle.

Chery Gegelman of Simply Understanding  shares that when objectives increase, the volume of customers increase, the demands on your time increase and the effectiveness of your tools decrease… How do you do more with less?  Follow Chery.

Paul LaRue of The UPwards Leader reveals that routine can slow down an organization; excuses even more so. By burning the script of “we’ve always done it this way”, organizations can start to move forward towards faster innovation and growth. Follow Paul.

Blogger David Oddis was inspired by the Accelerator role and shares an analogy he has used with his team for many years, with success. Follow David.

William Steiner of Executive Coaching Concepts gives a simple and practical step by step guide to reducing 5% of what’s on everyone’s plate by identifying what you can stop doing.  Follow William.

ambassador

Ambassador

Key Question:  How do we SHARE our success?

Key Behaviors:  Provides the team with opportunities to communicate their results to key stakeholders; advocates for team members and their careers; helps employees build a strong network of position relations with other departments.

Thought Leaders Share:

One of the tasks of an Ambassador is to set healthy boundaries with and for the team. This involves being able to say “no” graciously. Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited gives us some tips on how to do just thatFollow Beth.

Call For Submissions: Next Month’s Festival is all about Gratitude. New submissions always welcome. Click here to submit a post.

 

7 Roles of an Exceptional Leader

 

5 Reasons to Lose a Battle- And How To Lose It With Grace

If I had to pick a side, I would have chosen hers. But picking sides was entirely beside the point.

The other guy’s heels were dug in deeper than skis sunk in a tree well of deep powder. No amount of convincing was going to change his mind. “It’s time to let it go.” I offered. “This battle is not worth winning.

“But I’m right, she insisted.”

That’s entirely possible. But the battle was weakening the relationship, and was making the project much less fun. When projects feel hard, they seldom blossom with creativity which is what we needed most. Plus the wasted energy was exhausting all of us.

Should the other, older and theoretically more mature guy have been the one to succumb? Perhaps. But he didn’t. Age isn’t necessarily a leadership competency.

And so I offer our collective wisdom from the scar tissue from this battle. I’m book marking this page as a reminder to myself as well. Battle losing is never handled.

5 Reasons to Lose a Battle

1. To maintain your dignity.

This may sound counterintuitive, but trust me, no one shows up at their very best when they’re spitting teeth mad. Even the ugly words that you’re saying on the inside ooze toxins from your pores.

2. To enhance your reputation

Others are watching how you handle the small battles. People respect (and look to follow) leaders who get the big picture and focus on the end game over minor irritations and disagreements.

3. To win the war

Getting mired down in the debate over the small stuff will drain the energy for what matters most.

4. You might be wrong

Just saying.

5. To preserve the relationship.

In long-term collaborations it’s almost always true that it’s more important to preserve the relationship rather than win on some minor point. Even if you’re majorly ticked off, consider the satellite relationships that are impacted by your disagreement.

How To Decide If a Battle’s Worth Losing

Members of our online community weighed in with some initial advice. I hope you’ll add yours.

Carey Green:

I find a simple question is helpful at times like this. ” Will my insistence on being right benefit or bless this person or advance our cause?” 

David Dye:

The phrase I use is “Do you want to be effective…or “right”?” As a leader, your team exists to achieve results. That, and the leaders you leave behind you, are the measures of success. More of than not, insistence on being ‘right’ prevents you from achieving either of those outcomes.

7 Reasons Collaboration Breaks Down

7 Reasons Collaboration Breaks Down

Great ideas come in halves.  Work is enhanced by true collaboration. One of the best parts of my entrepreneurial journey has been the amazing collaborations, in writing, in business, in shared passions.

I’ve got four deep collaborations in process now, including writing a children’s picture book with Alli Polin  and the launch of a Parent’s Guide to Leadership (a free ebook downloadable from the sidebar.)

I’ve also had a few false starts.

7 Reasons Collaboration Breaks Down

Here are my lessons learned. I look forward to hearing what you would add

  1. Misaligned Passions –Collaboration works best when you’re both deeply in it to win it. Your shared passion fuels inspiration. If one or the other of you is less of a zealot, sooner or later the spark will fade.
  2. Propinquity- Joining up with the usual suspects or the guy next door, simply because of convenience limits possibility. Go slower and cast a wider net when looking for potential partners. When you stumble on chemistry search deeper. Sure working with partners around the globe is logistically more tricky, but becoming easier each day due to amazing technology.
  3. Score Keeping – Real collaborators don’t keep score. They’re too engaged in the cause to count who’s doing what. The focus is on the end state.
  4. Surface Respect – For true collaboration to blossom mutual respect must run deep and thick.  It becomes slippery when one or the other feels superior.
  5. Fuzzy Communication- Collaboration requires a constant flow of real-time communication. Don’t rely on email or chats, look in each other’s eyes, even if it’s over Skype.
  6. Short Term View- True collaborators value the relationship over the small stuff. They’re willing to let go of what really doesn’t matter and spend time seeking to understand differences that do.
  7. Rigid Boundaries – True collaboration involves doing whatever it takes to get the job done. Toe stepping goes unnoticed or is met with a real-time discussion.

5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Teamwork

If your team has as much teamwork as a box of crayons without a child to guide them, don’t blame them. Consider what you may be doing to inadvertently sabotage their teamwork.

5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Teamwork

  1. Insisting On A Team That Doesn’t Make Sense – I’ve seen so much energy and money wasted to improve the team dynamic when the real issue is organizational structure. A cluster of human beings is not a team. No one is bonding if the only common denominator is who they report to. If you can’t identify several common goals (beyond your performance agreement), consider the structure rather than organizing a team karaoke night. The best teams truly need one another to be successful. If you can’t change the structure, think harder about a few collaborative goals or projects that can get the team moving forward together.
  2. Ignoring The Obvious Dynamic – If everyone on your team is frustrated by one member, stop pretending it’s not an issue (yes, even if she’s an a player). I once worked on a team where one of our peers won a numbers-only based National recognition. Every one of her immediate peers understood the nasty back-stabbing dynamics beneath the surface. Our boss seemed to get it, but she got results, and results helped him. Instead of addressing it, he chose to call each of us individually and remind us of the right thing to do, to call her and congratulate her. The truth is, those calls had already begun. But his call assuming we couldn’t get there with her, reinforced the fact that we all had work to do in these relationships. Pushing us to be cooth was scratching the surface on a bigger issue that needed to be addressed.
  3. Fuzzy Vision – Teamwork blossoms when the group is inspired by a vision bigger than themselves. If all you’re doing is passing down organizational goals, you’re missing an opportunity to energize your team toward creating local magic. Everyone likes to be part of a winning team. See: Teams Need Vision Too.
  4. Misusing Your Staff Meetings – If you’re using your staff meetings as an opportunity for serial updates from your team, instead of a high-energy brainstorming of ways to collaborate, you’re wasting time. Trust me, everyone hates your meetings if all they’re really doing is reading out to you with no engagement from others. If you want your meetings to inspire teamwork, save updates for your one-on-ones, and then shorten the team readouts to what’s most relevant for the whole crew. Have updates conclude with statements such as and what this means to the team is or the implications for our team are. It will take a bit more time investment on your part, but the resulting teamwork will be worth it.
  5. Overusing Competition – Trash talk has its place, but it’s tricky. In many organizations there’s an unspoken stack ranking dynamic that’s already out there. See: 6 Secrets To Building Teams In A Stack-Ranked World. Instead of firing your team up to out do one another, reward the sharing of best practices and collaboration. Be sure that leadership toward the greater good and team behaviors are part of your performance evaluation and recognition strategy.