The Forming & Norming Team:
SixSEED Partners was invited to facilitate an executive council retreat for the Heart and Vascular Institute (HVI) of a community-based medical center. The HVI recently re-structured their roles and leadership within the institute to better meet their mission. The Chief Physician Executive of the Institute, in partnership with the Business Strategist, wanted to provide a day of learning and development where the members could build trust, align around shared objectives and engage in establishing accountability. Amidst Covid-19, the leaders felt these objectives were so important to warrant an in-person gathering. It was clearly as important to the executive team members, who showed up engaged and fully present during the full day team development process. As several of the members are also clinical physicians, it highlighted to us that proper planning can facilitate the space for them to join in this work, which is also important to them.
Can we learn multiple tools and apply them in 1 day? YES!
Do you believe it is possible to deliver four different tools in three hours and have participants feel they learned them and could immediately apply them for their benefit? Thanks to Petra Platzer, our COO, we know we can! In less than three hours, the administrative and physician leaders were introduced to Thinking Environments, DiSC®, the Team-Work Cycle® and the Three Vital Questions®. Petra also facilitated experiential activities that had participants immediately applying what their learnings to their own work and team dynamics. Joy Goldman further facilitated application of these tools through the team beginning to draft their team charter. Elements of focus were their interaction rules around meeting practices, communication, decision-making, communication, feedback and evaluation.
But was it effective? Yes
We modeled creating an environment for feedback & evaluation by dialoguing on feedback for us within the session. Each participant said the day was effective for them, some surprisingly so, in fact, as they often are skeptical about “these things”. Each also named how one or more tools were new and powerful for them, and immediately applicable in some way. Some spoke about their insights into their own behaviors and styles as compared with others on the team. Others especially enjoyed the powerful visuals by physically going through the team work cycle. They quickly identified gaps, and possible solutions, to some of their self-identified needs for moving more efficiently from ideas to execution. The visual exercise provided the gift of addressing these topics without blame or personalization, which fostered trust and new understandings together. The best gauge for how effective they rated this was their assertion: “we need more of this from you.”
How is your team developing together?
Whether your team has been working together for a while, is newly forming due to a re-structure, or is somewhere in between – how are they working together? Is there a benefit to focusing on their ways of interacting and learning additional ways for navigating what seems to be never-ending change together? Making the effort on this work is what makes teams perform higher and more productively, with much less wasted energy and re-work along the way. Like this HVI executive team experienced, it is often a pleasant surprise and energizing to spend time developing together. And, without doing this kind of work, teams can often experience side conversations, wasted energy and good, but not great performance.
What are your experiences in teams for creating clear agreements on how you’re interacting so there’s greater productivity with less wear and tear on the system? We’d love to hear from you about your experiences and challenges.