HR Consultant - McGeachy Consulting
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Posts tagged Team Meetings
5 ways to get your team back on the same page

When a team is working well together, it’s like nothing can go wrong — everything runs smoothly, projects end up better than you could have hoped, and any setbacks you have seem challenging, but doable. But when a team gets out of sync … everything goes downhill fast. Things start to get lost in the shuffle, communication breaks down, important tasks slip through the cracks, and before you know it, you’re struggling with total chaos. Sound familiar? Try these 5 things to get your team back on the same page fast.

  1. Create a clear vision

You know what your vision is for the company, team, and project, but your team won’t unless you tell them. So start by getting very clear on your vision and the real reason you do what you do.

For instance, if you have a financial services company, you’re not just selling financial services. You’re giving people peace of mind about their retirement. If you have a catering company,  you’re not just providing food — your services make or break important events. Knowing this big why makes it easier to keep employees engaged with their projects, and it helps them love your company. And as one of my favorite quotes from Simon Sinek says, "Employees must love the company before the customers ever will.”

Once you’ve figured your why out, it’s time to break your vision down into specific goals and communicate those to your team. Break it down so it’s clear what part each team member plays in meeting those goals, and answer any questions that come up. This way, you’ll be able to get everyone heading in the same direction, towards the same goals, using the same road map.

  1. Work together, play together

It’s rare to find a team where everybody naturally pulls in the same direction. But you can foster that sense of teamwork by having people work on non-work projects together. It can be something that contributes to the community, like building a house together for Habitat for Humanity or working a water station at a local marathon; or it can be something a little lighter, like playing a game together. One client even had their team visit the Portland Escape Room — they had a blast and came away a stronger team.

Want a really easy way to implement? Try doing a team builder at the beginning of your team meetings. it will get everyone focused, and will help the team work together. Here is an epic list of great team builders.

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  1. Schedule regular team meetings

It sounds archaic, but team meetings can be a lifesaver if you know how to manage them properly. Make sure you set an agenda before the meeting, and pre-schedule meetings in intervals that work for your business so your team can count on them happening. This is the ideal time to reinforce the vision and focus on team building.

And remember, your meeting doesn’t have to look like a stereotypical, hour long, talking in circles team meeting. Some teams only meet for 15 minutes every Friday, others meet for an hour every month. You could set a timer to ensure your meeting ends on time and is efficient or have a standing meeting - standing meetings are always efficient. Figure out what works for your team — and stick to it!

  1. Appreciate the good stuff

In so many businesses, the only time employees really hear from their leaders is when things go wrong. But this is discouraging, and it sets up an adversarial relationship between teams and leaders.

So make sure you take the time to appreciate what’s going well with your team, especially if it’s on par with your vision. This could be as simple as saying “thank you” when someone does a really good job, or you could go with something more tangible, like giving Amazon gift cards for a team that’s really knocking it out of the park. One important thing to remember: when you do give positive feedback, make sure it’s specific, timely, and grounded in an example. (More on this here.)

  1. Communicate

Your team needs to hear from you regularly, so decide how often and in what ways you’ll communicate with them. For example, you may decide to send out a regular Monday morning email to your whole team setting out the goals and agenda for the week, and then have a quick Friday afternoon email, video message, or conference call to wrap up the week.

Or you may decide to base your communication around projects, with a call to start the projects and weekly email check ins. It’s all up to you — but remember, be strategic, not tactical about your communication plan. You don’t want these particular communications to get bogged down in back and forth or detailed discussions. This is more about high level leadership than day-to-day troubleshooting.

Love practical tips for creating an exceptional business? We’ve got loads more in The Exceptional Workplace, an eletter for conscientious business leaders! Sign up here.

Strengths is Our Superpower - Team Training
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Imagine with me for a minute what it would be like going through life, or even a day, using only your non-dominate hand to write with during your daily activities. Sure, we don’t write as much as we use to, but the exercise remains relevant. Think about this, you’re making your to-do list for the day, taking notes during a meeting, editing a report, writing a note to your partner, creating your grocery shopping list and you can only use your non-dominate hand. What would it be like? People report that it is “difficult”, “not as easy”, “I really have to think when I write with my other hand”, “it doesn’t come naturally”, and “my handwriting is horrible”. This is precisely what it is like when at work you focus predominately on overcoming your weaknesses. Now, imagine using your dominant hand for those daily handwriting activities. It feels “natural”, “easy” and people report, “I’m good at this”. This is the same feeling you get when you focus on and capitalize on your strengths. Things come easy, natural and you’re good at them. Using strengths-based leadership is like creating a certain Zen in the workplace. It’s how things are meant to be. You and your team are working “in the zone”!  

In Q4 of 2015, I invested in Gallup’s Strength-Based Leadership materials for trainers/consultants.

About Strengths-Based Leadership

Nearly a decade ago, Gallup unveiled the results of a landmark 30-year research project that ignited a global conversation on the topic of strengths. More than 7 million people have since taken Gallup's StrengthsFinder assessment, which forms the core of several books on this topic, including the #1 international bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0.

In recent years, while continuing to learn more about strengths, Gallup scientists have also been examining decades of data on the topic of leadership.

(SOURCE: www.strengths.gallup.com)

Gallup has 50+ years of researching that has given me a deeper knowledge base so that I could train and facilitate more strengths-based programs with my clients. I believe in this approach, and the results it delivers, thus using Gallup’s tools has become a focus of my practice. Did you know that leaders who focus on their teams’ strengths increase the chances that their team is engaged eight-fold?

Strengths at Work

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In January I conducted a Strengths is Our Superpower training for a client. The 24 participants began the training by taking the StrengthsFinder Assessment to identify their top 5 strengths. Based on what they learned they participated in a fun exercise to show the benefits of knowing and using their team’s strengths. Strengths is Our Superpower is built to help participants gain a deeper understanding of their top 5 strengths.

Participants worked in teams to build a structure out of uncooked spaghetti, string, tape and a marshmallow. The goal is to build the tallest freestanding structure using only the supplies provided. Teams were given time to plan as a group how they would build prior to actually executing the construction of this structure. Then they had 10 minutes to build. Some teams building process or execution didn’t go according to plan and they had to adjust their plan on the fly. Teams that leveraged their members’ strengths proactively had better and quicker results than those that did not take this information into account or only considered their strengths reactively after initially experiencing failure.

Team Strengths Grid

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Beyond understanding strengths individually, having a strengths grid for the overall organization, can be a powerful tool. At the recent client training, we mapped everyone’s top 5 strengths, to show where employees had similar and different strengths. For this client, executing is what they do. It’s not surprising then, that many of the strengths fell within the executing domain. It makes sense. For leadership teams, having a strengths grid ensures alignment between people resources and current business goals. Looking to the future the strengths grid is a tool to understand any gaps in your organization’s skill set in order to more effectively recruit and hire in a purposeful manner for the future.

Knowing and understanding your individual and organizational strengths is a super power.

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Are you looking for ways to invest in and super charge your workgroup? Contact Amy to learn more and/or schedule Strengths is Your Superpower™ for your team.