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Posts Tagged ‘team building’

Building Confidence

Recently I had the opportunity to work with a management team of food producing company. The owners of Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt wanted:

  1. The team to work more independently in the daily management of the company so that the owners could devote more time to growing the business, and
  2. As they trust that the team, they also wanted the team to be more confident in their own abilities.

I was engaged to facilitate a six hour workshop using the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology to:

  1. Help the team visualize and understand the overall system in which the business functions, and
  2. Simulate a few key “what-if” scenarios

The workshop journey started with understanding the individual roles within the team and within the general context of the company. The next step of the process was to define the actors that affect the business and their relative importance. This allowed us to create a system with which we could simulate through several key scenarios related to production and operational issues.

Participants building their models

Building the actors that influence the business.

So, what did we uncover? The team discovered for themselves how an event in one area of the business cascades into other areas and how it impacts the overall business cash flow. They arrived to simple guiding principles that will help them guide their decisions during any event in the future. These principles also included key values of the team and the business. Just as important, the team learned more about one another in a very short period of time.

The insight for me was the power of first sharing our individual ideas and then collaboratively constructing a shared story. This gives unity and purpose, thereby enhancing engagement and alignment with the organization’s purpose.

I wish all the success for such a wonderful team and company … and if you ever see a tub of Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt on the shelve at your local store, get it! you won’t regret it.


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    Posted: May 11th, 2016
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    “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else” Benjamin Franklin 

    “The best excuse is no excuse!” a phrase my father drilled into me since I was a child. And to be honest, it has served me well when leading teams, and when creating a safe and effective team. By not accepting excuses from one’s self, you won’t accept excuses from others. When you create an environment where team members feel safe to voice their opinions, when you overcome face saving, embarrassments, and fears, you get to a point where the team will not accept excuses.

    So, what is an excuse? It is that which we use to make ourselves feel better about a situation or to avoid admitting our fears, founded or not. It is usually a knee-jerk reaction to the question of “Why …?”

    Is there an appropriate answer? Yes! It is one where you stand up for your actions, decisions, and look forward to how you can make the best of the situation or at the very least, prevent it from happening in the future if it was deemed a failure. We all fail sometimes, after all, and we are all imperfect: but this should not prevent us from working together in a respectful manner and get good results.

    The next time you start a sentence with “because” or “due to”, check if you’re trying to hide from the fact that you failed to foresee a situation or an aspect. If you give an excuse, you’re not only being disrespectful and deceiving to yourself, but worse, to your team. A sure fire way to ensure failure in any endeavour.

    Posted: July 19th, 2015
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