Archives for February 2014

3 steps to creating action, accountability and authority plans (sixth of six video series)

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3 steps to creating action, accountability and authority plans (sixth of six video series) from Hugh Blane on Vimeo.

Video Notes:

Good morning, everyone. My name is Hugh Blane, and this is the Monday Morning Minute.

This is video number six in a six-video series that I’ve done about high-performance teams and breakthrough performance.
Over the last six weeks, we have talked about

1. Clarifying your desired future
2. Creating alignment
3. Clarifying your desired results and expectations
4. Crafting a team agreement, and
5. Cultivating exemplary performance

Today we’re going to talk about creating action, accountability, and the plan that can then be promoted to everyone so that they say, “This is exactly what we’re going to do.” There are three steps that this action, authority, and accountability plan must include.

1. You must define the roles and the responsibilities of each member on the team.
I have said in the past that you must let each person know what they’re responsible for. This is a little bit more of a global issue. This is clarifying what each person is responsible for, in totality, to enhance team performance. For example, the team sponsor is responsible for shepherding the mission of the team with other individuals, so they are an evangelist going broad and wide. You may also have a change agent, they are responsible for getting other people bought into the change initiative and what you’re trying to achieve. You must define these roles and the responsibilities for every individual.

2. You must define the decision-making process for the team.
When there is a decision that needs to be made, who is the ultimate person responsible? How will you make the decision? Is it based on consensus, or is it based on one individual having the full responsibility of that area and they are charged with making the decision? Define upfront who is responsible, what their role is as well as how you will make decisions.

3. Put everything we’ve talked about in writing.
Number three is to create the action plan that is very clear. This involves clarifying who is responsible for what and how this links with what we as a team are committed to achieving. This is the timeframe. This is how we’re going to measure it. Every single thing gets put into one document. It is circulated to everyone, and you have regular meetings to check in.

Creating high performance teams can be chunked down into six steps. This last step really is where a lot of teams break down. They have wonderful ideas, but they don’t have the action plan. Execution, being able to take the idea and execute on it and drive it and overcoming obstacles, is absolutely essential.

Ladies and gentlemen, I hope that these six steps are going to help you create truly high performing teams that create breakthrough performance. With that said, I hope you’ve enjoyed this series. This is the sixth video. We’re going to go to something different next time. If you have any questions, please go to the blog, and I will happily give you my thoughts.

That’s it. I hope you have a fabulous week. I’ll see you here next week. Take care.

Three steps to exemplary communication (fifth in a six video series)

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Three steps to exemplary communication from Hugh Blane on Vimeo.

Video Notes:
Good morning, everyone. My name is Hugh Blane, and this is the fifth video in a series of six videos that I’m doing about breakthrough performance and breakthrough teams.

Today we’re going to be talking about cultivating exemplary communication. We have talked about cultivating and clarifying your desired future, about checking for alignment, about clarifying the desired results and the expectations, and we have talked about crafting a team agreement. Now it comes time for the communication piece.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to make a bold statement. The number one reason why teams do not perform at a high level is because of miscommunication. What I mean by that is words mean different things to different people. People’s intent may be as pure as the driven snow, but their impact can often times be negative.

If people have a miscommunication or a fly-by because not all words mean the same thing, and/or that they’re doing something because they think it’s the right way to do it, and then all of the sudden it has a negative impact, you’re toast.

I want to suggest three things to you this week that will cultivate exemplary communication.

1. Each individual on the team must understand their communication preferences.
How do they like to receive information? Do they want the bottom line with an executive summary and three bullet points, or do they want a three-page document that gives the historical context? If you give a three-page historical context document to someone who wants the executive summary with three bullet points, the person just goes, “Wait a minute. This is too much information” and they dismiss the context and the content of the e-mail because it’s too long; and all of a sudden, if that happens, performance starts to deteriorate.
You have to understand your communication preference as well as the communication preference of everybody on the team. If you do that, then you have to commit to communicating in ways that work for the other person not solely for you.

2. You must cultivate listening to understand as opposed to listening to respond. When things get really busy, when the yogurt starts hitting the fan, it is harder to stop and listen attentively to what people are saying. We typically listen with a filter of just saying, “I already know the answer, and I’m just going to respond to you as opposed to listen to you.” When people don’t feel heard, when they don’t feel listened to, then all of a sudden the trust and respect in the team breaks down. Ladies and gentlemen, listen to understand as opposed to respond.

3. You have to jettison triangulation. If there is ever an issue on the team, that individual must approach the person with whom they have an issue and have a conversation about. For example, “I think we’re getting off track. I don’t think that this way of interacting is working for you. I know the communication is not working for me. How do we improve it?”

There must be a responsibility for each person to go to the other person and say, “How are we going to reconcile this?” No triangulation. You’re not allowed to go and have a conversation with three other people before you go and talk to the individual. No, no, no, no. That is triangulation, and it must be avoided at all costs.

If you do those three things, ladies and gentlemen, it will have a dramatic improvement in the communication effectiveness and in the results of your team.

With that said, that is video number five. We’re going to come back next week and talk about creating action, responsibility, accountability, and authority plans. It will be the final video. If you have any thoughts or comments, I’d love to hear them on the blog. I’ll see you here again next week.

Take care, everyone.

3 steps to crafting team agreements (fourth in a six video series)

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3 steps to crafting team agreements from Hugh Blane on Vimeo.

Video Notes:

Good morning, everyone. My name is Hugh Blane, and this is video number four in a six-video series that I’m doing about high-performance teams and breakthrough performance.

Today I want to talk about creating a team agreement. Specifically, what I’d like to do is piggyback on creating the desired future, checking for alignment, and clarifying the metrics and the expectations of team members. All of the previous videos easily flow into creating a team agreement.

Team agreements are important because when done well they become non-negotiables. I don’t believe team agreements are nice-to-haves. They are indispensable to helping team members craft and commit to doing. Let me give you three ideas about how to do this.

1. Do a brainstorming session with your team and ask people, “What are the traits, characteristics, and competencies that make for an excellent team? What does it feel like when you’re on a great time? What does it feel like when you’re on a really bad team? What are the traits, competencies, and aspects of really bad teams?” Step number one is simply putting answers to these questions on a white board or flip-chart and understanding what great teams and bad teams do.

2. Step number two involves reviewing your lists and asking, “Are there some things on the good teams list that we need to keep doing? Are there things from our bad team list we’re doing that we need to stop doing? What are the three to five things from each list we need to address?

Your job here is to find three things that you’re not currently doing, that if you were to start doing them it would transform your teams performance. Doing so will provide you with behaviors identified as mission-critical, non-negotiable for the team.

3. The third step involves looking at your six behaviors and asking, “If there were only three things that we could do behaviorally that would ensure we achieved our desired future, that we achieved our desired results, that we stayed in alignment and that we met all of our expectations, what are the three things that are absolutely, non-negotiable, that everyone will commit to?

When you come up with those three things, you can craft a team agreement. An agreement that leaves everyone on the committed to accomplishing.

If you do this ladies and gentlemen, you will have cemented in everyone’s mind what three things must be done behaviorally in order to achieve something extraordinary. It is not something that is an intellectual construct for team members, this process is about a creating behaviorally explicit agreements that you make purposefully in order to achieve your desired future.

Once you’ve accomplished this step, we’re going to talk about the fifth aspect of high performance teams and breakthrough performance, and that is to cultivate exemplary communication. If you come back next week, we’re going to talk about that.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the Monday Morning Minute. I hope you have a fabulous week. As always, if you have any thoughts or comments, please respond to the video below. I’ll see you here again next week.

Take care, everybody.

Good Team / Bad Team

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Good Team Bad Team from Hugh Blane on Vimeo.