I am often in conversation with people I coach where the person is focused on action. I hear things like…

  • I am experiencing turnover, what can I do to stop or reduce it?
  • Not sure if my people feel valued or are contributing to their full potential?
  • We have a diverse group, wondering how do I get them to bond and behave like a team?

Much has been written including various techniques to answer these questions. While these are important questions, and I am sure techniques for monitoring and evaluating these challenges are valuable, for me, it is difficult to address these issues without a pause. For me, asking these questions is starting in the middle rather than starting at the beginning.

If we were to start at the beginning, these are questions I would ask:

  • What is the purpose of this team or workgroup?
  • What do I as the leader expect, what is my vision of success?
  • Do I and the team have a shared vision of success?

Once these questions are answered, then we can begin to address the questions above. For example,

  • Does each member of the team understand and support the team purpose?
  • Does the team feel ownership for the project or work effort?
  • Did the people who exited fit the team purpose? If so, did they understand it?
  • Do the team members need each other to succeed, or are they actually a workgroup with individual expectations?

There are many more questions to add to the second list, and the answers only become useful when we begin at the very beginning.

Why Vistage Works

Elisa K. Spain

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