I want to share a communication from a project we did a while back. As we prepared to run a 2-day workshop for a team within a local technology company, I asked the leader to sit back with a cup of tea, and note pad, and a good pen – and write out a little story.. Here’s what she wrote:
My Cup of Tea – For about a year or so, I’ve wanted to get together and learn why sometimes we work well with each other, and at other times it seems like we are on each other’s last nerve. I thought this would be a great time to do this since I will be out of the office for a while and communication between the core team will be very important during this time. I know we are all very busy and taking a day and a half away from those things and people that make us busy doesn’t seem like such a smart idea. We all have a lot of demands and interruptions, not only here but at home as well. One of my goals for this time away is to help us deal with those frustrations right away or even be able to prevent them by understanding another teammate’s perspective.
I believe we ALL fall into the categories of being the causes and the recipients of frustration. Our company has been very good over the last five years at spending the time and money to help all teammates find the best ways to reach the mission of the company and find fulfillment within ourselves. Edge Learning, Academies, National Meetings, Rallies, the Paula Dillard training, time management and Seven Habits training are all great programs that we have utilized to get better at what we do. But none of those help us understand the people we work with or work for. Our CEO always asks people here at the company what they do. The answer he expects is, “I give life”. That is our mission, to give our patients life. We need to be able to work together to make that mission possible. I want us to understand each other better, to learn how to communicate with each other, even the hard and uncomfortable stuff, and how to help each other. This is really important the next couple months when I’m not here. I am worried that you will hold things in until I get back and that is not going to be productive or healthy for the company or you. You all from time to time find yourselves in my office with issues with one another. I usually try to give you the tools to handle it yourselves. You usually leave my office saying you will try them but I never know if you really do or if you just let it go and build-up. Next week, we’re all attending a 2-day workshop. Please use this time to help each of us learn about one-another and how we can use the knowledge we gain to continue to grow as a team and find “excellence from within” ourselves.
I am sharing this because it speaks with volume to several issues. Specifically the true investment a leader owns in the health of a team and secondly, the unfiltered sharing of thought as a mechanism for connecting in an authentic manner. Building skills around understanding self and the perspectives of others, is central to actual team building.
Adventura is founded on authenticity and a passion for development. When we set out to run this workshop, I told K we needed to be very intentional about communicating with the team and helping them buy-in to the purpose. Years later, K still reflects on this workshop as the single most powerful thing she’s ever done with a team.
What are you doing to express your investment, passion, and commitment to the growth of your team and the people that make it thrive.