Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Why of Work : Book discussion with author Robert Ulrich

I was just listening in to a Book discussion on "The Why of Work" with author Robert Ulrich today. Here are my notes:

Team Work is more important than having star players
In research done by the authors, it was found that for all Academy of the Arts best movies, only 15% of the time were the actors/actresses in those movies also awarded best actor/actress for the same movie. The same is true for sports teams: It was found that teams that won the ultimate season game(s) only in 15% of the cases did they have the best players.
So, team work is very important!

High Performing Teams focus on these aspects

1) Clear and Common purpose/objectives
Call it vision, goals, purpose, objectives, or whatever, but it must be clear and common.

Ask your team members to jot down the answer to "What are we trying to accomplish" and see if you have agreement. If not, clarify it!

2) Governance
How well do we work together? Are people on time to meetings? Are people "present" (or distracted)? Do we make good decisions? Is everyone involved/engaged?

Discuss issues with the above questions.
Discuss if it people are "present" or distracted? Does it matter? Why is it happening? How can we improve?
Ask a question at the beginning of the meeting: e.g. everyone jot down 2 things we've been successful at (or to answer some question/issue). Call on a random first person to speak, then when that person is done, they choose the next person.

3) Relationship
Do we care about each other? We don't need to be best friends, but there should be some caring. There should be some knowledge of people's personal lives. Face conflict. The discussion "in the room" should be the same as "out of the room." Acknowledge people's worth.

Ask team members to write down the strengths of each of the other team members, then pass the answers around.
Everyone share a success
Everyone share a failure
Have team members share what hobby they have and how it relates to the way they like to work (e.g. I am detail oriented, I like to interject humor...)
Team leader can tell each team member why they were brought onto the team
Perform a physical task that is unrelated to the work (e.g. Habitat for Humanity on a Saturday)

4) Learning
Teams increase their effectiveness by learning and developing

Ask what has worked well and not well in past 30 days
After Action Review: Conduct a "lessons learned" to see what was done well (or not so well) and how it can be improved on

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