Thursday, April 3, 2014

How to Introduce a Culture Change to Our Team Part 1... Planning a Whole Team Meeting

How to introduce a culture change to your team Part 1

Building our team… The Mother of All Meetings!

OK… so you’ve had your meetings with your apprentices, hashed out where you are, where you need to be, how to get there, and who is going to do what.  You, you are the Team Leader after all, led the process, however you did not steamroll through it pushing your agenda onto everyone, right?  ‘Cause if you did you will put a lot of effort into something that is not going to achieve the desired results.  I’ll take your word that you did it the way I told you to in the building our Leadership team series of posts, starting here…  Before we talk about how we are going to bring your new ideas and proposed changes to the team as a whole…

Please read this…

And listen to
The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast and the 2 podcasts on Defining Your Organizational Culture.  You will listen to all of them, and for now you need to listen to those two.

Each member of your Leadership Team should be reading the same book from this post, read the article above, and listen to these 2 Andy Stanley podcasts.  You will all talk about them together.  Some of your apprentices will have questions, and/or need to talk about what they read and heard.  You will listen.  Your job is to listen to understand what is being said, as well as how the person who is talking feels about what they are saying.  Allow your other apprentices to answer questions if they can.  It should be a group discussion, NOT you telling everyone what they heard and what it means.  You can and should add what you heard, and what it means to you, however you should wait until the end of the discussion.  If you weigh in on anything at the beginning, your voice as the Leader will influence the others in the group, even without intending to.  Just being the Leader means you will be influencing others with every action and with every word, every day.  Remember that!

Remember, your team/workplace has a culture.  Part of the reason you and your apprentices were meeting together was to decide how to redirect/restructure/recreate your team culture.  There is no one right answer.  Like we talked about before, your personal answer may not be the best answer… remember that the best answer is the one that the most people will gather around and get excited about.

It’s possible that after reading and listening, the group might want to rethink some of your values and goals.  That’s great!  Please do not shoot down any ideas from your apprentices if they want to go through part of the process again.  It is NOT a personal affront for them to disagree with you.  Allowing, and participating in this will reinforce their trust in you, and their buy-in not only to the process, but also to whatever the group comes up with.  The odds of your team accomplishing their goals will be much better if you follow this through.  Trust the group, and allow the process to happen.  It might be helpful to invite a trusted peer or mentor to sit in and moderate the process.  This will be most helpful if you have, in the past, been perhaps a little overbearing, or perhaps not been as transparent as you could have been.  Ask the moderator to use his or her voice to make sure everyone is heard.  If you’ve been reading along here, you know that means more than everyone hearing the words that are spoken.  It means every person involved actually listened to understand what was said, and often more importantly, how the person speaking felt about what they were saying.  That includes you… doing the listening I mean.  If the moderator is there to make sure everyone listens to what you have to say, or to help you get your agenda across, you will be wasting your time and energy.  Nothing good will come of this whole process, so please do not play that game.

We good?

Ok, so you now have to plan a team meeting.  Yes, a whole team meeting.  If you absolutely must you can break it up into two meetings, but only if absolutely necessary.  If you end up with two meetings they must be as identical as possible.  I’ll speak about this as if there is only 1 meeting to make it easier (on me).  You and every apprentice must attend as a team (and you all must attend both meetings if you have two), and this includes the best team members who took part in the process so far.  You are speaking as one voice.  You will stand together, and work together to get the message across as powerfully as you can.  If you have regular whole team meetings and they are more like organized chaos, you can have a few of your apprentices around the room to get people to pay attention and be quiet enough so that everyone can hear what is being said.  This is arguably the most important meeting your team has ever had, so let’s make it good.

As part of your meetings with your apprentices, you will work on planning this whole team meeting.  This meeting is about introducing the desired culture shift to your whole team, as well as introducing the goals you have chosen to take on right now, so take your time.  I think most of you can plan on a majority of your team members going along with whatever you bring up, as long as the expectations you set are reasonable and clear.  So… in this meeting you will, in my opinion, be best served by being mostly positive.  You can address those few people with whom you will get the most pushback individually, and set very clear expectations of the behaviors they need to change.

I know some of you are balking at the length of this process, the time and energy, and getting everyone together time and time again.  I would ask you again how important is this to you?  How important is it to change the culture on your team?  Do you want to continue working the way you are, always putting out fires, and feeling like you are always playing catch-up?  Or are you ready to start hiring the best people, developing your team members into Leaders, and being part of a hard working, high functioning team?  Yes it takes a lot of time and energy, especially in the beginning.  Once you get some good hires on the team, get your Leadership team on the same page, introduce and uphold your new higher standards, and develop strong relationships with both your apprentices and team members, you will find yourself with so much more energy!  Your new team will give you energy instead of draining you.  You will go home and talk about all of the great things that are happening, instead of bitching about all of the bullshit you have to put up with.  This is not rocket science, and it does take a real investment of your time and energy, along with a commitment to see it through, so let’s not stop now!

This is going to take several post, since every part, from what we have done so far, to preparing for the whole team meeting, to actually pulling it off is all so important…

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