Changeboard's Future Talent Conference 2018.
It should go without saying that the goal of a team is to develop better ideas together. We have studied the dynamics and interactions of thousands of teams, and we’ve found that one of the most common struggles among teams of all sizes and levels is creating an environment of “robust challenge” - that is, one characterised by high levels of support and challenge.
Teams here are exceedingly critical of one another’s work and ideas, thus creating a hostile environment in which people build walls around themselves and progress is paralysed.
At the other end of the spectrum, many teams live in the “comfort zone,” with such an excess of support that ideas go unchallenged and the team underperforms. The worst of both worlds is when team members “zone out,” neither inspired by challenge nor supportive of one another.
We have used this quadrant exercise with many teams to determine where the team currently operates and flesh out the specific actions it can take to move toward the growth zone.
Recently, one client realised that one of its teams was operating in the stress zone. We performed this exercise with the team members and realised that the team environment was hostile because its members lacked a shared agenda; just getting enough consensus to make a decision was getting in the way of making any progress.
The team leader took [this action to correct the behaviour]. As a result, the team achieved [what]. <How did they know they’d improved, or how could we show that they did?>
Getting to the growth zone
Teams that operate in the growth zone do several things well: they positively confront one another, hold each other accountable, challenge assumptions, and give honest feedback with positive intent. To determine which of these areas need work, consider performing this exercise with your team:
- What would it look - and feel - like to work in each of these zones?
- What behaviours would we experience?
2. Review how your team currently works together, the zone you perceive yourselves to be in most of the time, and the behaviours experienced. Discuss your experience in terms of:
- How does each member personally contribute to creating this climate?
- What behavioural feedback do others provide to contribute to the current climate. What helps and what doesn’t?