“Do you think I need to be more organized?” … These words formed the question Jimmie asked the team during the Round Robin Team Building Meeting.
…Ken’s kind response: “Yes, you can do better but couldn’t we all?!”
…Phil’s respectful words: “Jimmie, if you would spend more time organizing your work, it would help us do our jobs better too.”
…Then, Billy’s tense words: “Jimmie, you are the most disorganized manager I’ve ever worked with in my life! In fact, your disorganization drives me crazy and makes it hard to support you, your projects, and your team’s projects!”
…Frank, after a long pause and talking slow: “I tell you what, Jimmie …If you could be just a little more organized, you could help the team more than you know and we would all be happier too.”
Jimmie scanned the team’s eyes, possibly looking for a lifeline. He had obviously asked the question for a reason and the answers confirmed his fears. And then, Jimmie’s deliberate words had a profound affect on building the team: “I thought I might be disorganized, but I did not realize how much it was hurting you. I’m sorry. Please, help me here guys… How can I improve?”
And then, Jimmie was respectfully offered tangible suggestions from the team who wanted to help him. Just as important, Jimmie acted on those suggestions over the following weeks, which garnered more support.
This is an example of another Round Robin Team Building format that is an effective Best Practice, especially with small teams numbering about seven people. It works best when the team’s maturity is high, they know each other well, and the meeting is kept on a respectful tenor. This Round Robin Team Building process goes like this:
1. The room is arranged with chairs in a circle and the team members facing each other.
2. A facilitator leads the process, encouraging balanced participation, open dialogue, and respectful debate.
3. Each team member takes a turn asking a Round Robin Question of their choice from a prepared list. (For a list of potential questions, click on this link: Round Robin Q’s.pages)
4. Then, going around the circle, each team member answers the stated question. Everyone is respectful, so by the time everybody answers the question, the questioner has an accurate understanding of perceptions as well as ideas on how to improve.
Round Robin Team Building Meetings are usually not as blunt as the example above. Team Building Meetings always entail some risk, but that is easily mitigated with some preplanned strategic thinking and positive direction from the boss or facilitator. The rewards of a Quality Team Building Meetings are the building of trust, collaboration, and connection, which improves attitudes, and then delivers results.
… And Pass It On!
Quote from the late great, wonderfully hilarious, and sincere Robin Williams: “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
CEO’s, Plant Managers, Mayors, or County Commissioners, while accountable, likely do not understand the new world of Sustainability as deeply as they would like. My experience is that most are eager to learn as well as be an advocate, especially when shown that cost savings and Sustainability benefits are mutually inclusive. These key leaders, where “the buck stops,” are motivated to select strong talent and build strong teams for Sustainability using the same intentional practices as when building any team, with a few unique twists.
Sustainability has moved rapidly to a central focus in society, with perceptions of problems and solutions spanning a broad spectrum. Bringing volumes of disparate ideas and facts to a level of understanding falls on quality Sustainability leaders. Hence, selection of quality talent is key. When selecting Sustainability teams, the more critical core skills and attributes are:
• Strong Values and mission-driven to make a difference (assess with a tool like the Hartman Value Profile)
• Able to inspire commitment to the mission of leaving the organization and the planet better for future generations
• Able to connect, collaborate, and mentor across the organization
• Project management skills and problem solving methodologies (e.g. Six Sigma)
• Ability to think strategically and tactically
• Sustainability-related experience, education, and training
• Communication Management skills, including social media
• Ability to smell money-generating opportunities
Sustainability is a great proving ground for high-potential talent because they are exposed across the enterprise and experience a variety of complex problem solving challenges.
Above all, a quality Sustainability leader is authentic in pursing the mission, not taking on the role because it is a job, or because it is the right political thing to do personally, but because of their deep conviction that their work can make a significant difference to the business and to the world. Sustainability leaders have an uphill challenge, yet the job is highly rewarding, as words and speech are transformed into truth and action for the business and the common good.
The most effective Sustainability leaders are the most authentic. They have conviction!
…And Pass It On!
Quote from Bishop Ron Scott: “Sustained leadership only comes when they believe more in who you are than what you do.”