Confronting and conquering team risks
Very similar to their changing work environments, there are many unknowns and risks involved in being on team projects. From my years in working and facilitating team planning and project sessions I have compiled a few key lessons that I have observed over the years about how effective teams deal with risks and uncertainty when organizations are trying to implement change management initiatives. I hope you can use some of these insights to support your team and organization reach its goals:
1. TEAMS ARE MORE EFFECTIVE WHEN EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS THE PLAN and “significant over-riding goals (SOG) .
Almost without fail, teams begin their initial interactions and startup activities without reviewing their values, beliefs, assumptions and without having a shared plan. They tell me they did this because “time is money,” but employees who don’t understand the organization’s strategies, team initiatives and lack experience, training and confidence in problem solving and decision-making are much more costly.
2. PEOPLE NEED SUPPORT AND TRUST TO TAKE REASONABLE RISKS or raise difficult issues for team discussion.
Encourage people to confront difficult and often unspoken issues. When someone identifies a crisis or touchy subject, most team members look disappointed, ignore the comments as disruptive and some even walk away. How eager will someone be to try again after experiencing that reaction? If you desire employees to be creative and take reasonable risks, reward their positive behavior NO MATTER WHAT THE RESULTS, reassure the person that he or she is still a valued member of the team. If you don’t reassure the person, their willingness to take risks will certainly diminish.
3. VIEW “FAILURES” AS VALUABLE LESSONS FOR EVERYONE.
When failure is feared, it is avoided at all costs and kept secret when it occurs – only serving to harm the organization. A reporter once questioned Thomas Edison, “Mr. Edison, I heard you failed nearly a thousand times before inventing a light bulb that worked.” Edison replied, “I did not fail 1000 times. I learned 999 ways a light bulb will not work!” How does your organization view “failure”?
4. CELEBRATE ALL SUCCESSES.
We must reward all successes, for they make it possible for someone to make it all the way to the end goal. As a leader practice given the credit away because it builds strong team atmosphere and breaks down individual competitiveness. Who gets the recognition in your organization and how could it be improved?