ITEC (International Tire Exhibition and Conference) this week in Akron, Ohio, prominently presented some of the latest manufacturing technologies and innovations in industry. New automation, increased precision, and material science advances were consistent themes from exhibitors, speakers, and training. An abundance of industry experts attended, searching for new knowledge and technologies to sustain and grow their business.
Being a devoted people-watcher, it was fascinating to observe the diversity of people. This spanned the spectrum from gray-haired veterans to the wide-eyed youth, along with countless global cultures. People with experiential wisdom cruised the aisles, being very intentional in their search of new ideas. Youthful associates new to the industry were also making laps, searching with a curiosity of a young pup and learning how to bridge their state-of-the-art knowledge with the fundamental principles of industry. Their unquenched curiosity was refreshing. All were seeking to learn, unlearn, and relearn.
As the ITEC week progressed, the realization grew that the veterans, who helped bring the industry to where it is today, and the youth, who bring new ideas, must strategically collaborate to take it to the future. Equally evident is that the preparation of this collective talent is a critical success factor to sustain our society.
The seasoned talent must “pass it on”, that is, teach the youth the fundamentals of the business and impart their experiential wisdom amassed from personal successes and battle scars.
The youth must also “pass it on”, that is, bring their energy and state-of-the art knowledge to the table to improve current best practices. Both the seasoned and the youth must be open to “take the pass” from each other, being uninhibited in their search and unselfish in sharing, routinely doing brain-drains of each other.
Demands on the leaders of the past and today have been tough. Demands on the leaders of tomorrow will be tougher in a hyper-connected and expanding technological world. Solutions to the challenges will span from the routine to the revolutionary, from local to global, and from material to information. Subsequently, today’s leaders, veterans, and youth have a responsibility to equip each other to meet tomorrow’s challenges.
… “Pass It On!”
Quote from Thurgood Marshall: “None of us got where we are soley by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony, or a few nuns bent down and helped us pick up our boots.”
Team Building Meetings are an opportunity to get away and grow together, but “how” to guide the meeting is easier said than done. The quality of a Team Building meeting is dependent on the preparation by the leader and the personal relationships within the team. Several Best Practices and Principles are summarized here in a slightly different framework than before to help leaders:
1. The objective is to work better together by building the trust, the team, and relationships around the goals, roles, and plans.
2. These meetings to get away and think must be a disciplined part of the culture that is regularly scheduled. Otherwise, you’re just hamsters running on a wheel and you’ll never get personal enough.
3. Everyone must be united in purpose, always respectful, open, and confidential when appropriate.
4. It is OK to be passionate and have a constructive debate. There can be no hidden agendas that undermine the trust.
5. Leaders must remember all teams have these questions on their minds:
• What are your expectations?
• Can we trust you? Do you trust me?
• Do you do what is right for the company, for the team, and for us individually?
• Can you make me a better “me”?
• Are you more concerned about “We”, or “I”?
1. The leader must strategically plan the agenda for what most helps the team. Deciding an agenda at the last minute doesn’t work.
2. If the team digresses onto a “healthy” tangent, that is OK.
3. The 3-Questions of Expectations are a must for new teams. (Blog http://frontlinefocus.us/?p=1351)
4. Round Robin Questions are great for established teams. (Blog http://frontlinefocus.us/?p=1387)
5. Team Building Meetings are an expectation of every manager and a condition of employment.
6. Every manager is trained in “how to” lead Team Building Meetings, with the teams also trained in “how to” participate.
7. Recommended frequency is monthly for operations, quarterly for staff. Duration is max one hour.
8. A Leader’s deliberate follow-up after the meeting ensures commitments are understood and delivered.
9. Leading Team Building Meetings is a line-item on the Performance Appraisal.
10. The facilitator keeps meetings flowing in the right direction, stimulates participation, and keeps conversations respectful.
11. “Hard” subjects about the work process and “Soft” subjects about relationships are kept in separate meetings.
High-Quality Team Building is a competitive advantage and Best Practice of World-Class businesses. It gets personal, uniting the team in purpose and opening them up to healthy disagreements. The result is a high-quality teamwork environment.
Make it a great week! …And Pass It On!
Quote from the late great Football Coach Bud Wilkinson: “If a team is to reach its potential, each player must be willing to subordinate his personal goals to the good of the team.”