I’ve been doing quite a bit of work recently with various teams. Some of them are virtual. Some senior peers eg at Director level. Some entire departments, and so on. What’s interesting is that in all cases people are at pains to stress how much they like each other – which is great – although the simple fact of liking your colleagues isn’t in itself enough to get you from a bunch of disparate individuals to a high-performing team.
Take us at Kissing With Confidence. Last weekend everyone decamped to London, with partners and spouses, for an event that involved as much business as pleasure. We spent an afternoon (whilst partners enjoyed some free time) looking at various initiatives that are on the go, making sure that everyone understands what’s happening and why. Then we had a laugh practising how to articulate concisely and uniformly what these initiatives mean for our clients, and getting some feedback on how we’d done.
This meant that by the end of the afternoon we understood each other’s involvement in said projects, we’d shared some knowledge, felt reassured of the “right” way to go about things, and were confident that we could help ourselves, and each other, to help our clients.
You’re busy people. We’re busy people. Time such as this is hard to carve out in the calendar, and it’s all too tempting to defer the stuff which is important, but not yet urgent, in favour of the stuff which is urgent and important. Of course if you only ever deal with stuff as and when it becomes urgent you have a nightmare on your hands, constantly firefighting and doing only just enough to cope.
So although there’s never a “good” time to take people out of the business for a day, it needs to be balanced against the risk of keeping them in it all the time, dealing only with their band of activity and the risk of them not understanding how it fits into the whole, or appreciating what others are dealing with.
And in terms of liking your colleagues? Well I know that we all do like each other, very much in fact. But we’ve recently been working on ways of delivering feedback around our performance ie what we do and our versatility ie how we do it, particularly how we flex our own style to meet others’ needs. It’s not always an easy thing to do (work in a style that doesn’t meet your own preferences) and neither is it an easy thing to receive feedback on how well – or otherwise – you flex your style. But the payoff means that not only do we like each other but we are much better equipped to work really well together.
The final part of the weekend was a trip to the smash-hit musical Kinky Boots. Not only was it brilliant – you laugh, you cry, etc etc – but it provided us with yet another opportunity to learn more about our colleagues. I won’t tell you who turned up in the nod-to-glam-rock skintight burgundy leather jacket, or who in the red sparkly shoes, but suffice to say it was a reminder that the more you know about the people you’re working with, the more you appreciate them and the more you get from each other in terms of the quality of your relationship. It’s business as usual again, but the benefits will keep us going through the rest of the year and beyond.
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about the author
Nicky Denegri is our Senior Consultant. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop her an email and we will be in touch.