Ask the teamwork coach: How do you design and run large group meetings?

Here's an email I received through my "Ask The Teamwork Coach" service:

I'm in charge of a large meeting at my organization and I need some tips on how to plan and run this meeting.  Help!

My good friend Michael Goldman at FacilitationFirst.com specializes in training people how to lead (facilitate) meetings. 

Click HERE to read Michael's Tips for Designing and Running a Large Group Meeting - - this link will take you to one of his free e-newsletters. 

Some of the topics he discusses:

  • Pre Meeting - Managing the Client
  • Room Logitics
  • During the Meeting - Managing the Group

Ask The Teamwork Coach: How do you motivate a team?

Here's an "Ask The Teamwork Coach" email I received from a TeachMeTeamwork.com member:

I'm a manufacturing/process engineer and as a peson in charge of Continuous Improvement, how do I motivate a team? How do I inspire them to want to be there, to want to make a difference, or in some cases to want to make the time to be at the meeting in the first place.

This goes for hourly people as well as salaried people whose stake is somewhat higher than just the "normal" hourly persons.

-- John

John poses an important question.  How do we motivate people?  How do we inspire our team?

The place to start is to understand the difference between "inspiration" and "motivation".  In his book entitled ONE: The Art And Practice of Conscious Leadership Dr. Lance Secretan offers an important insight on the differences between inspiration and motivation.  Watch the short video clip below to see Dr. Secretan address this very issue live before an audience:

To lead from a place of inspiration one must be inspired.  You can't fake inspiration.  If you aren't living an inspired life then it will be impossible to lead from a place of inspiration.

Everyone can live an inspired life.  One resource to help you is the book "The Passion Test".  I offer one-on-one coaching to help leaders get clear on their passion and lead from inspiration.  Contact me to setup a free 15 minute coaching session to see if coaching is right for you.


Ask The Teamwork Coach: Do you have articles to handout at the end of a teambuilding training event?

Here's a recent exchange I had with a TeachMeTeamwork.com member looking for advice on articles to provide a group after his teambuilding session.  I'm sharing it because I'm guessing this person's approach to providing resources for the group is common.  Most trainers don't provide pre-assessments and therefore must rely on what the group's contact tells them about the group (like you'll see below). 

NOTE:  Arnold isn't really his name.  I changed it to protect his identity.

Hi Tom,
I am putting together a leadership training program proposal. I am in search of some hand out articles that they are requesting at the end of the three-hour teambuilding program. Can you suggest anything?  The participants are young professionals 25-35 years old.  Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you, Arnold

Hi Arnold,
Have you done a needs assessment with the group?  The resources you supply should be in harmony with their needs.
Thoughts?
-- Tom

Hi Tom,
Yes of course, I am looking for articles {general in nature}. One of their requests was that the participants have research articles or information articles as “take home” reading and information.  Can you help recommend articles and how I can obtain them?
From my proposal...
>> At the end of this session, participants will be able to describe:
Why organizations rely upon teams
What a productive team looks like
How to Build Effective Teams
Group and Team Dynamics
-- Thanks. Arnold

Hi Arnold
I get that you have an outline of what you want to give to the group.  However, unless you complete a detailed needs assessment with the group (each member of the group) then whatever you give them you'll just be guessing and if you want to guess then give them anything.
-- Tom

Tom-
I do not believe that every group member needs a “needs assessment.” The needs assessment was given to the director of the program. The program is being designed for the director of the program I will ask you in a more direct way. Do you have an article that specifically speaks about ways to find common ground or win-win between different opinions?
Thanks, Arnold

Hi Arnold
You wrote:
    I do not believe that every group member needs a “needs assessment.”
In this case I disagree.  We see things differently.  That's OK.
    The program is being designed for the director of the program
Again, we see things differently. Designing the program to meet the needs of the director will do just that - - but you'll likely miss the target when it comes to meeting the needs of the team.  That's OK to.  All is in perfect order.

As for articles....
I suggest everyone on this team read "Silos, Politics and Turf Wars" by Patrick Lencioni

I also suggest this team read Lencioni's "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team"

You can get abstracts of the above books here.

I hope that helps. Good luck.

Tom

PS  There is a very simple and very powerful needs assessment survey in "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" that you could easily administer to all team members prior to the program.  The information you gather will likely change your program design.


Ask The Teamwork Coach: How do you handle someone who is being obnoxious?

When you work with a team (on a team) you are going to encounter behavior that is less then ideal.  Knowing this in advance allows the team to create a set of operating principles (rules of engagement) that #1) sets the tone or standard of behavior and #2) let's the team know what's expected when something undesired happens.

How then do you handle a team member who is being obnoxious?

If your team has no predetermined course of action, no expectations, then you might try to ignore the behavior or the person all together.

However, if the expectation is to hold team members accountable then you would address the behavior.

Daniel Goleman is the author of the NY Times best sellers "Emotional Intelligence" and "Social Intelligence" and he offers some valuable insights on how to handle obnoxious behavior HERE.


Ask The Teamwork Coach - Trust is low, don't use that icebreaker!

June 15, 2007

Hi Tom,

I have a new internal client who has asked me to work with him on restructuring his management team. The manager's been in the position 2 months and his take on the team of managers who report to him is there is a lack of trust. He'd like to do an icebreaker to kick off the day's meeting/work with something leading to trust -- my concern is:

  1. I'd like to use an ice breaker that will build into the material and theme of the day;
  2. I'm concerned that any ice breaker with trust could go into a negative direction and I'd like the day to start upbeat.

Any suggestions?

Sandy*

###############################

June 15, 2007

Hi Sandy,

Based on the information you've supplied I would not advise this manager to lead an icebreaker. 

If he is sensing trust is low then he needs your help designing a system to address this issue. 

Leading an icebreaker could actually diminish the level of trust the team has in him especially if the manager is not skilled at leading and debriefing/processing the experience.

Do you know the book "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni?

The book has a simple and easy to administer team assessment.  Start with that. 

Have the team read the book and decide if they want to build a high performing team using the principles/model outlined in the book.

All meetings led by the manager should follow the guidelines presented in Lencioni's book entitled "Death By Meeting"

The experiential activities (icebreakers, team activities, etc.) need to be in alignment with where the team is going.  The disjointed, whimsical use of experiential activities hurts the team.

CLICK HERE for an example of how you can use experiential activities that are in harmony with the program design:

Is this helpful?

Tom Heck
Teamwork Coach

###############################

July 4, 2007

Hi Tom,

Well, yesterday was my big debut with the group I wrote you about.

The senior manager took my recommendation (thanks to you) to read the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team and in turn after he had read it, asked his management team to read it before our session yesterday!  They did – all but one – and they soaked it up.

The day was super – and I’m so excited yet this morning about the work that occurred.

And I’m excited because this was a new gig and career venture for me.  He liked my design of the day, the activities, the discussion, and I’m thinking this could be another path the Lord has put me on to serve.

Thank you for your personal email attention and quick response. I appreciate so much what you do.

This new venture of training with my coaching is so exciting.

I am looking forward to next spring when I retire from my current full time job and hope to have gigs like yesterday to work and coach on my own.

Thanks much!

Sandy

*NOTE:  Name changed to "Sandy" to protect privacy.


Ask The Teamwork Coach: Should a manager new to the team lead an icebreaker in an attempt to address the low trust?

Here's a question I received via my "Ask The Teamwork Coach" service:

Hi Tom, I have a new internal client who has asked me to work with him on restructuring his management team. The manager's been in the position 2 months and his take on the team of managers who report to him is there is a lack of trust. He'd like to do an icebreaker to kick off the day's meeting/work with something leading to trust -- my concern is:

1. I like to use ice breaker that will build into the material and theme of the day;
2. I'm concerned that any ice breaker with trust could go into a negative direction and I'd like the day to start upbeat.

And here's my response...

Hi Nancy,

Based on the information you've supplied I would not advise this manager lead an icebreaker. 

If he is sensing trust is low then he needs your help designing a system to address this issue. 

Leading an icebreaker could actually diminish the level of trust the team has in him especially if the manager is not skilled at leading and debriefing/processing the experience.

Do you know the book "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni?  CLICK HERE

The book has a simple and easy to administer team assessment.  Start with that. 

Have the team read the book and decide if they want to build a high performing team using the principles/model outlined in the book.

All meetings led by the manager should follow the guidelines presented in Lencioni's book entitled "Death By MeetingCLICK HERE

The experiential activities (icebreakers, team activities, etc.) need to be in alignment with where the team is going.  The disjointed, whimsical use of experiential activities will hurt the team.

CLICK HERE for an example of how you can use experiential activities that are in harmony with the program design:

And her response...

Oh my gosh—this is perfect! Thank you, so much! I so appreciate your help and your very speedy reply!

What advice do YOU have for Nancy?  Place your comments below.

Do you have a question for Tom Heck the Teamwork Coach?  If yes, send it to tom@teachmeteamwork.com

NOTE:  Names have been changed to protect privacy.


Ask The Teamwork Coach: How do you balance motivation with pressure to get the team to work towards the vision of the company/entity?

The Question

From a principal working in a public school in the US...

How do you balance motivation with pressure to get the team to work towards the vision of the company/entity?

Also, how to handle a team member whose heart just isn't into that vision?

My Answer

Answering your first question...

How do you balance motivation with pressure to get the team to work towards the vision of the company/entity?

The problem is motivation.  It's just not sustainable because when you motivate someone the "pressure" (as you point out) comes from the outside. 

Stop trying to motivate people. 

Inspire them instead.

Inspiration is sustainable because it comes from the inside.

Listen to the interview with Dr. Lance Secretan where he addresses this notion of motivation vs. inspiration.  CLICK HERE to access the interview.

How do you get the team to work towards a common vision?

Read the book by Patrick Lencioni entitled "Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars"

There's another book by Lencioni you AND your team must read.  It will help you all understand what it takes to build a high performing team.  The book is entitled "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team"

Here's the problem you'll run into if you aren't careful - - you work in a school system and teachers (I'm guessing this is your team) have "seen it all" and this book and your efforts will likely be seen as "just another example of the new thing".  If you want your efforts to work then you've got to follow through ALL THE TIME.  If you (personally) can't commit to following through all the time then I advise you to save your energy (i.e. don't waste your time).

You write:

Also, how to handle a team member whose heart just isn't into that vision?

I'm guessing you are referring to a teacher and I bet this teacher is tenured. 

Hire a coach that specializes in helping people re-connect with their passion.  When people live and follow their passion they don't have time to play the "small game".  They won't tolerate people or situations that don't support them.

And if this team member won't get on board?  Then you'll have to let them go.  If this is a tenured teacher this will be hard.

Here's what it all boils down to...

You are creating your experience.  You are responsible for everything in your life (including your experience with this team member).  When you change what's going on inside you the outer will change. 

And how do you change the inner?

The best way to start learning is from a new movie on DVD entitled "The Secret".  Learn about it HERE  You can order it off the site, watch it on the website, or you might be able to find it at your neighborhood DVD rental place.

Get this movie as fast as you can.  Watch it as many times as you can. 

Learn and apply what this movie has to share and you will be amazed at the types of teams you can build.