Thursday, April 10, 2014

How to Introduce a Culture Change to Our Team Part 5… The Actual Whole Team Meeting

So… are we ready to talk about the actual meeting?  I’m going to describe this for you as if you do not regularly have whole team meetings.  If you do, much of this will second hand for you.  In that case, please leave some comments describing all of the important things I left out. 

You and your apprentices are reading, if not finished reading the book you were reading, right?  You talk about what you are getting out of it with each of them, right?  And since you are each at different levels in developing your Leadership qualities, no one is forcing his or her thoughts onto the others, right?  You’ll be much better off sharing your experiences, and your mistakes to get your point across. 

We have our values in hand, you have met individually with your apprentices, and you worked with each of them to come up with a plan to work on skills and qualities, right?  And… you were positive, supportive, and they are still energized and excited about the coming changes to the team, right?

You’ve read this post, and have done some of your own work with your therapist/mentor/coach, and you have your own plan to work on your skills and Leadership qualities, right?  You cannot go into this if you have not done your own work, taken your own inventory, and are ready to admit your mistakes and really change the way you lead this team.  Well… you can.  And you will fall flat on your face, so I’d advise against it.

You and your apprentices have worked out the logistics of getting everyone to the meeting, dealing with all of the obstacles that your team members will throw your way, like kids, other jobs, etc… right?  Your meeting is scheduled at a time when the most people can get there, you have a speaker system that you’ve made a dry run with, a plan to make a space and return it to the way it was, chairs for everyone, etc…  You asked your mentor/coach/peers for things you might be forgetting, and you feel good about it, right?

Well then let’s talk about how the actual meeting will go.  Jeez it’s about time!

You’ll want to have your best apprentices right up there with you.  They will not only offer moral support, but they also probably have better relationships with most team members than you do, and you need the team to see them supporting this whole process.  It might pay off for you to do an actual dry run, like a dress rehearsal before the actual meeting, and you can do this anywhere you have some privacy.  I say this because each of us has different strengths, and public speaking is something that, for most, needs to be practiced.  You may be lucky enough to have an apprentice who is passionate AND a good public speaker.  If so, allow them some time to talk to the team… it will mean a lot to see ‘one of their own’ owning the process and excited about the changes.

I have found that I get the best results if I make an agenda, read through it enough times to know it, feel passionate about the topic, and then just speak from my heart without using any kind of a script or notes.  I should say that I also depend on my apprentices to keep my on topic, remind me of things I’m forgetting, and watch the time to keep us all on track to end the meeting on time.  You are not me, and so you will do what works for you.  Don’t make it so serious that you can’t accept help, can’t deal with some wisecracks from the team, and plan on losing your place.  You will mess up, repeat yourself, get heckled, and you can still have a great meeting if you go into it with the right attitude.

So… welcome!

You’ll want to thank everyone for attending.  You need to actually appreciate the effort it took many of your team members to attend.  If you feel it, they will get it.  If you are not good at small talk and perhaps uneasy about a group this large, partner with the apprentice with who has these skills… you’ll be glad you did.  Introduce all of your apprentices, including everyone who was part of the group that came up with your goals and values.

Start the meeting with positives… celebrating whatever you can.  Introduce the team member that’s been there the longest, and the shortest time.  Celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, goals the team has recently met or exceeded, job or sales growth, and just the hard work you see every day.  You appreciate that right?  Then tell them!  Talk about whatever is important and current in your workplace…

“Some of you already know, and for those of you who don’t, let me tell you why we’re here…”  You will tell them about your interest in becoming a better Leader, and what that means to you… mostly it will mean changing the behavior pointed out in the feedback you received, as well as the behaviors that no one told you about but you know good and well need to change.  You will be taking the time and energy to start meeting with everyone, and building relationships.  The team will not know what you mean by that, so you will explain it… how you are interested in helping them achieve their goals, and get those that are interested ready for the next step.

Since you’ve been reading along, you are ready to answer any questions about what that means, like working on finding everyone new opportunities to learn, and getting those who are interested experience doing more than just their normal job.  You will explain why this is important to you, and that you know you have not been the best Leader, and you are going to change that.  Remember that  you are being transparent, so the way these changes will benefit you cannot be ignored or hidden.  Everyone will benefit from the changes you will all be implementing, and credit will be shared. 

You may not get any questions, and you may be inundated with questions.  I have found that it’s best not to allow too many questions at this point, as people like to resist change, and can easily derail you with questions around the unimportant details.  If you do get a lot of questions, answer the ones that help in understanding the larger picture, and assure your team that you are happy to answer any and all questions, and we have such a limited time for all of us to be together, let’s make sure that everyone understands the big picture while we are all here.  Explain that you will make yourself available to talk about details, or whatever is coming up, in the coming days.  If you get two or three people asking questions around the same issue, you probably need to explain that issue better.  Remember, if one person asks a question, at least several people are wondering the same thing.  If three or more people ask about a topic or detail, a huge number of people need a better explanation of that issue.

You will remember to say something to the effect of… I know I haven’t been as good of a Leader as I could have been, and I’m working with a therapist/mentor/coach to change that.  I also know that you have probably had at least one boss who has given you a line like this, and the only thing they wanted was to get you to work harder and make them look better.  Here… if you’ve had any experiences like these, talk about them and how you didn’t like it.  You will not be doing that, however you don’t expect the team to take your word for it… they will believe it when they see it.  This all goes for your apprentices too… you have to say that part…

So far so good, and we still have to address the behavior that needs to change.  That’s when we introduce our values, and how and why they came to be.  Talk honestly about the meetings with your apprentices, which of course included some of the best team members like I suggested, right?  Talk about the Leadership group defined the kind of team you wanted, and the kind of team we have.  Now… be careful not to get all negative, or point out individuals, after all, you played a part in allowing this behavior to develop and continue. 

Back here in Part 2, the examples of values I used were teamwork, punctual, self-responsible, and quality.  So, here in this current example, we will introduce those to the team by giving them examples of what behaviors had been acceptable in the past, and were no longer going to be acceptable.  Like:

In the past, it was acceptable to sell items that did not meet our quality standards.  Moving forward that will not be acceptable.  Every product that goes onto the sales floor must meet our quality standard, and you can expect me, your supervisors, (whoever makes sense in your workplace) to be checking the quality in each of your departments.

In the past, we have all lacked self-responsibility.  That means some of you had to be told every single thing that needed to be done.  That means we did not take responsibility for the work we did, or how we left our workstations.  And this was acceptable.  Moving forward, this will not be acceptable.  Each person who works here, including me, will need to show self-responsibility.  I will have to fulfill the promises I made here tonight.  You will each be held accountable for meeting the standards that are currently in place.  Since we, your Leadership team, have not been very good about holding you to these standards, we will be talking to you when we see examples of a lack of self-responsibility.  We are not expecting perfection, and we are expecting to see an improvement in the attitudes around the standards around our work.

In the past, it was acceptable for anyone to show up 10 minutes late, and arrive at their workstation after another 10 minutes.  Moving forward, this will not be acceptable.  We have allowed that behavior, so you will receive a verbal warning the next time you are late to work, and we will talk about self responsibility, and why it is important to get here on time, in addition to what will happen if that behavior continues.

In the past we have walked past another team member who obviously needed help without stopping to aid them.  In the past we have allowed to verbally abuse each other, refuse to answer phone calls for each other, and failed to answer questions from each other.  Moving forward these kinds of behaviors will no longer be acceptable.  Moving forward we expect each and every one of you to act as if we are all on the same team.  That means helping each other without being asked, in every way we can.

The examples above are just off the top of my head examples… you will create your own ‘in the past… moving forward’ examples depending on what kinds of attitudes and behaviors you need to change on your team.  You worked this out in the last meeting with your apprentices, remember.  We talked about it here in part 3.  These posts are getting way too long… Let’s pick this up next time.

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