…is also why practice is core to our playbooks.
Here’s a simple illustration from Practice #7 with a CEO, his exec team, and his up and coming team leads. A cool team of 12.
In the 8 Essentials of Leading Teams, the team took turns reading one paragraph at a time on building trust. After each paragraph, we paused and each leader underlined one thing they wanted to remember. We rinsed + repeated for a couple pages – reading & reflecting. Then we broke into 3 teams of 4 to practice speaking & listening about what we had underlined and why.
Afterwards, each team broadcast the melody line they found at their table. For the first team, it was a reminder the leader must trust first – a reversal of what seems intuitive. For the second team, it was a reminder how a leader must subordinate their desire for control to trust the team to do what they can while doing for the team only what they are yet unable to do for themselves. For the third team in which the CEO sat, it was a reminder to build a tolerance for “just this side of chaos”, and a reminder for the leader to model the way when it comes to ‘fessing up mistakes.
This was 45 good minutes. The last part of practice was even better. The team accepted my challenge to write ONE THING they wanted to make sure the leader heard from our reading – and CEO wrote one thing he wanted to make sure the team heard.
Then, each team member spoke in turn to their leader (nobody chose to pass), and CEO played back what he heard:
“Sometimes your mind seems made up when the team might have additional input.”
“Teams will stick it to the man but stick with the human – keep being human.”
“Continue to trust us.”
“When you are away for awhile and then re-enter, check in with us first upon re-entry before judging what you see.”
This last one was from the COO and it took two rinses for him to hear it — and the team really wanted him to hear it. It took twice because she was using way too many words and being way too indirect. At practice #7, this is normal. My challenge to her for next time is “less qualifications, less disclaimers, just SAY it CCD.” Done so.
CEO thanked the team, and then he told them the one thing he wanted them to hear. “In my worldview, most business problems are math problems. Bring me your input and your feedback — I welcome it — but if you want to persuade me, show me the numbers. Boil it down to something non-emotional – bring your ideas in that format.”
Practicing using our playbooks builds a common language for “together we transform”. Reading together highlights how each of us doesn’t see things the same, we see things the way we are at that time.
In just over one hour, fear took a hit. Trust went up. One-ness set in. This is why practice is core to our playbooks, and why our playbooks are core to practice.