7 & 7 is for you and me…

Sustainable high performance teams are teams that are built on deep trust. Personal, ethical, strategic, and situational trust are the ingredients to team chemistry which is trust at it’s highest level. One of the favorite exercises we facilitate at BUILT TO LEAD we have named “7 good minutes.” The purpose of the exercise is to build situational trust. Quick reminder…situational trust in a sentence is when your team believes in your ability, desire, and willingness to understand them and their situation. This kind of trust leads team members to switch from wanting to “stick it to the man” to simply “stickin’ with this HUman. This is HUge.

The exercise is simple. You can try this at home and at work.

Step 1. Set aside a quiet time to play “7 good minutes” with one person that you want to better understand.

Step 2. Ask them questions. Only ask questions that lead to understanding. Do not interrogate. Start easy and progressively go deeper. Maintain eye contact.

Step 3. Do not comment. Do not attempt to fix…simply ask questions to understand. Notice how hard this is. Focus your mind exclusively on the other person.

Step 4. Switch roles and start over with Step 1.

You just spent 7 good minutes understanding and being understood. How did it feel? What did you learn? How can you apply what you learned to improve performance? Who else do you need to understand instead of rushing to judge and FIX?

Turns out Anatol Rapport’s formula doesn’t limit you to 7 minutes but it is almost the same formula she puts forth for resolving conflict. You can check out her “blueprint” on page 241-242 of John and Jule Gottmans book 10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage. I’ve found that what works at home works period. 7 & 7 is not my idea of a good drink, but it is a great formula for building situational trust…if you pour one for you and your team you just might agree. All it takes is time.

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