Three weeks ago, I have shared with you the first section of the Storming Agile Teams workbook called “Our Role & Multi-dimensional Storming Challenge”. In today’s article, you will read about the main techniques that I use to help groups wanting to become Agile teams to build a successful path of T.R.U.S.T
When building a path of TRUST with a team, what I have generally observed is that in order to collaborate effectively, people need to feel listened to, included and considered part of the whole.
Human Beings come First
Once I have the opportunity to work with a group of people that are doing their best to become a team with a common purpose; before working with the group as a whole, I am going to put my efforts and energy into establishing a strong connection with the human beings behind the group members.
My reasoning is simple:
If there is no individual connection, based on a strong one on one relationship of trust, then how am I going to help the people trust each other? I first need to build a relationship of trust with each one of them.
Well, you got it. After joining a group, I used to spend the first two weeks meeting each member individually for at least half an hour, to get connected and learn more about each other.
What do I focus on during my one on one meetings?
I ask questions and listen actively to:
- Get to know more about the person.
Example: Would you mind sharing your story with me?
- Understand their perception of the group.
Example: How do you perceive the group/team is doing?
- Understand their role within the group/team.
Example: What role do you play within the team?
- Understand their relationship with management and the company.
Examples: What do you think about management? How is that working from your point of view?
- Get a better picture of the person’s level of engagement and motivation regarding the group and the organization.
Examples: What motivates you to come to work? What do like about being part of the group/team/organization?
- Validate if the person is willing to take actions to help the group/team improve.
Examples: What do you think needs some improvement in the group/team? What do you want to do to help the group/team improve that?
- Validate the level of curiosity and openness to get to know more about me. Before ending the session, I ask if he/she has some questions/curiosities about me, and I answer the questions briefly.
- Show gratefulness and start building a bond. I thank the person for allowing me to get to know more about him/her.
- Try to understand the value of the meeting to the person, by asking if there is some interest to do it again.
In parallel, it is crucial to maintain collaboration and create moments for the team to continue building Trust. A great way to do that is through relying on each other.
Further than that, I truly believe that installing common sense should be our motto. Guiding individuals, teams and organizations to understand that doing and being Agile means to use common sense every single step of the way.
I also believe in the benefits of connecting people through thoughtful and genuine collaboration, as our main purpose when playing the role of continuous improvement agent. But please, don’t get me wrong by thinking that this is an easy task. Even with practice, it might be hard to apply everyone’s common sense to any situation, especially when the only authority you would have over people comes from your ability to influence their way of seeing life with a different perspective and help them embrace change as part of their journey.
But let’s face it, it is a huge challenge to lead by example and be there, trying to inspire others to inspect and adapt. It requires courage, self-awareness, humbleness, love and hope that the best will come if we do it together. But it’s so great seeing people’s faces illuminating after an AHA moment has made a click on their minds that the effort worth giving it a try.
Each team’s path is unique
The Storming Phase of a team’s development journey has a special characteristic: it could be the most terrifying mirror that you have ever seen. So, you should always be aware of that, to stay at step ahead of every single situation. Remember that the team is going through conflicts that could be causing people’s pain, suffering and stress. So our role is crucial to create the conditions to help the team heal as soon as possible.
What I think matters the most, is that you pay attention to your feelings and emotions first, before jumping into any intervention possible with the team, because that would help you raise self-awareness and allow you to raise your self-control level.
Make Success Visible
It’s also our job to manage conflicts within the team and mentor them, the team’s supervisor(s), stakeholder(s) and the organization too, about dealing with conflicts in a constructive way. It’s also our responsibility to help the team and its entourage to build real T.R.U.S.T.
Whatever you do when building a team, try as much as you can to do it together. If the team experience a win or a lost, live it together. It’s crazy important during this stage of the team’s development journey, to build up upon learning moments and serve as the glue to connect team members through emotional situations. Encourage togetherness, invite people to decide, think and collaborate to solve problems together as much as you can.
That’s what I think our role is in the team’s transformation process, so remember that we are at heart of it, and yes, it’s up to us to make the difference and change the world, one team, one collaboration at a time.
Something resonates with you?
Then I’ll give you two options to help you take action:
Tell me what’s your view of our role and your comment might be considered as part of the final version of the workbook.
Thank you for being there for me, for supporting my journey in many ways, and for making me a better human being.
All the best wishes,
Michael Norton, One on One meetings, https://dzone.com/articles/one-one-meetings
Jesus Mendez, Forming Agile Teams, http://www.jesusmendez.ca/books/forming_agile_teams