Today during practice 5 a team of twenty something built some trust. Their leader is slowing them down so they can individually and collectively, pick up speed – speed that’s sustainable – speed that scores goals. Good. Remember, sustainable, high performance teams 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 BTL we’ve named “7 good minutes.” The purpose of the exercise is to build situational trust. 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, not easy. You can practice this at home and work.
Step 1. Set aside time to practice “7 good minutes” with one person you want to better understand. Quiet your mind. Calm your spirit. Slow down and think about what you want to learn from this fellow human being.
Step 2. Ask them one curious question. Listen. Learn. Love. Ask them to tell you more or ask them another curious question if you think you’ve got their message. Only ask questions that lead to understanding. Do not interrogate. Start easy and progressively go deeper. Maintain eye contact in a curious, not creepy kinda way.
Step 3. Do not comment. Do not attempt to fix. Practice being curious. Do not rush to judge. Notice how hard this is. Focus your mind exclusively on the other person. Wherever they go, go with them. Ask them to “tell me more.” Relax. Lose yourself in understanding another. Remember, the brain loves it when you only ask it to go in one direction. Focus on getting them. When we get someone we give a great gift so rare and so, so welcome. Give this gift, leader.
Step 4. Switch roles and start over with Step 1.
You just invested 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 attempting to fix? You know, friend, conflict is not a problem to avoid but a conversation to be had. Conflict with another does not age well, it gets worse over time. Do not let conflict sit in your craw or in the craw of your teammates. Practice 7 good minutes to the point of mastery. Give the gift of getting another human being. You just might get what you give, friend. Give more, friend. Situational trust is built when we give and take. Give and take care, remember?
Live hard. Love harder…