Over the course of this month, we’ll be focusing on TEAMS:

  • What practices do high-performing teams have in place? 
  • Would it really be so bad if there was an “I” in Team? (To counter all those youth sports coaches that shouted from the sidelines that there isn’t one)
  • What questions are helpful to ask when onboarding new team members?

In doing some research on teams, I came across this Harvard Business Review article: 5 Things High-Performing Teams Do Differently, written by Ron Friedman. Feel free to click the link and read the article; it’s good.

However, if time is of the essence and you want to cut to the chase, the article lays out these 5 High-Performing Team Differentiators:

High-Performing Teams:
1. Are Not Afraid to Pick Up the Phone
2. Are More Strategic With Their Meetings
3. Invest Time Bonding Over Non-Work Topics
4. Give and Receive Appreciation More Frequently
5. Are More Authentic at Work

I’ve written quite a few Thought Partners on leveling up the effectiveness of meetings, and you can find some of them here:

I’ve written about connection and gratitude and you can find a few of those here:

Yet as I was reflecting on my own practices, I realized the opportunity I personally have with two of these differentiators.

So I asked myself the following questions:
1. How often do I pick up the phone? 
2. How authentic am I at work?

Being on Zoom every day for the bulk of the day, I rarely pick up the phone.
But what if I did?
How much more effective could I be in providing information, answering questions, and deepening faster connections? 
Answer: Probably quite a bit! 
Challenge: Can I start with two phone calls a week? I’m going to see! 

My clients know my collection of eyeglasses tends to show a little personality. And aside from being open and welcoming, which I aim to be with all my clients, I wondered if there was another way for me to be more authentic when I show up to work, given that the session is all about them and NOT about me. This one I felt could be a little trickier for some of us (the article makes an interesting correlation between authentically expressing negative emotions and their corresponding yield on positive performance if you want to dial that up). 

I began to wonder how much permission we give ourselves to be authentic and what might hold us back from doing so.

I was having a conversation with a client (during the NBA Finals) and I offhandedly mentioned that I almost came to our session dressed in my Miami Heat attire (as one of the games was that evening). This particular client, SVP in a rather large enterprise organization, lit up and he said “You absolutely should have; your clients would think it was great. I would have thought it was great.” 

Answer: Wow; that felt great to hear. Somehow that was permission granted to me, that for whatever reason, I wasn’t going to grant to myself. It was small of course, I’m not equating wearing sports attire to the psychological safety needed to raise a red flag if the disposal of hazardous waste materials is being handled incorrectly. But permission to show up nonetheless.

Challenge: I took that cue and later in the series, I did show up to work in my HEAT gear. The first client I saw that day said “Look who’s showing up as their authentic self. I love it!”. (True story; not making that up). 

WHICH of these FIVE behaviors do you want to give a try this coming week?
1. Are you going to pick up the phone?
2. Tweak your meetings for more effectiveness and engagement?
3. Have a quick chat about non-work related topics?
4. Express more gratitude and appreciation to and for those around you?
5. Show up a little more authentically? (Whatever your comfort zone is.)

Let me know how successful you are with your challenges! I’m rooting for you!