The influence of the team on individual behaviour is often (invariably) underestimated … as is the impact of the wider organisation culture on the team. Attempts to transform the organisation (or team) one person at a time are destined to be both time-consuming and, ultimately, frustrating.
The most powerful "change tool" in the leader's arsenal is to reframe the context. "Context" is found in - although not limited to - the emerging customer's needs, how the space is organised, the team leader's behaviour, who is brought onto the team and/or who is asked to leave, imagery, the organisation's values, group norms, the degree of transparency, access to best practice, storytelling, the metaphors introduced, work that has meaning, the spirit of affirmation and giving back. For millennials, giving back includes a high priority to the environment.
Keep the following questions in mind when framing the context:
- Do team members have a full and unambiguous understanding of the organisation's values? Values aren't rules; they give people permission to act.
- Does everyone on the team fully understand the culture the wider organisation is seeking to create?
- If the team is dispersed, how are team members who don't have day-to-day contact made to feel part of a team?
- Is it understood why today's customer buys and how and why that will change in the future?
- Is the promise implicit in the brand integral to how the team faces new challenges and/or makes decisions?
- Is the team imbued with a sense of urgency?
- Is simplicity the watchword in everything the team seeks to do?
- What extra care is taken to explain the meaning (concisely) of those words that must have a shared understanding? The organisation's values being a case in point.
- Is the organisation's story clear?
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