Organisational,team and individual performance:the power of words


Marcial Losada’s groundbreaking research taken from the enablersnetwork blog

“Meta-Learning (ML), here is a very brief introduction. ML has three variables (dimensions) and 3 parameters. The variables are inquiry-advocacy, positivity-negativity (P/N), and other-self (or external-internal orientation). The three parameters are connectivity (the critical, control parameter), negativity bias and resistance to change (system’s viscosity). The model is driven by a set of nonlinear differential equations that have the same mathematical structure as the Lorenz model (the one that generates the famous butterfly-shaped attractor and is used in many branches of science). ML accounts for 92% of variance in a system’s (couple, team, organization) performance. The best linear models only account for 30% of that variance.”

The full article can be accessed via the link below


How have you turned things around?

I often meet organisations and teams where things are not working well. I met with a senior executive from a public sector agency to talk about the issues he had with his team. I had been recommended to him by a private sector manager from a local networking group.

After describing how his team were acting and reacting to one another, how some of the issues were to do with specific individuals, he then explained how difficult it was to change their behaviour. Typically these issues were the surface reactions and through some further discussion I discovered that some team members avoided each other, some set each other up to fail and some competed over everything or simply did their own thing and generally acted very unlike a team.

I suggested it would be useful for me to meet each team member and talk through the situation and how it was affecting them. During these discussions we talked about what it was like to work for that company, what they got out of it, what they enjoyed, what frustrated them and how they saw themselves. A common problem in situations like this is that everyone sees others faults and problems, and the need for change, but few are willing to make the change themselves. This proved to be the true in this situation.

To get things started I did some individual profiles, this allowed them to have a common language to describe how they worked with one another, what their preferences were, and why they saw the world differently. These profiles were conducted individually and privately so they could challenge and discuss freely.

Then I brought the team together to display the results (anonymously) and talk through, where they were now and where they wanted to be. During this process it became apparent that the team was very used to playing ‘the away day’ game; where everyone was nice to each on the day, but once back in the office reverted to their previous behaviour.

What they hadn’t realized was that other parts of the workshops would be about them having paired discussions and that these discussions would form the basis of their action plans. I think for the first time in a training session they were required to commit to change and this would be followed up by mentoring from their boss with some coaching from me.

Everyone understood that they could speak without fear of recrimination. At times emotions and concerns were highly charged and often very vocal. The focus was on moving forward, not reconstituting the past. It proved to be a liberating experience for them all.

At the end of the workshops (held over several days) the team created a ‘team charter’ detailing how they would work with each other, how they would behave during their group meetings and how they would be mindful of each others feelings. They also agreed that they would exchange information and teach each other about their diverse roles and how these interrelated.

This process released the trapped potential of the team, with team members and the team leader now being energized and committed to a common and shared future. The way they worked with one other changed dramatically. In terms of results they went from being mid-table and on a downward trajectory for their type of agency, to being in the top five in the country.

Don’t be paralysed by perfection.

Lots of businesses,organisations, teams and people claim 100% success, they have never had a failure and that they are perfect. Do we really believe them or does this claim make us more wary.

If we expect perfection, we are setting ourselves up for a lifetime of frustration, disappointment and failure because let’s be honest, none of us is perfect .

Striving for perfection or worse, insisting on it, costs a fortune in lost productivity, lost sales, lost opportunities, lost sanity and lost creativity.

Don’t confuse having high standards and wanting to be the best with perfectionism. Perfectionism  accelerates doubt and mistrust of oneself when taken to an extreme.  We get so obsessed by  wanting  to make our product, project or process perfect, that we   forget to check whether they offer any significant and commercially worthwhile benefit. We take our eye off why we are in business in the first place to provide a product or service which our customers and clients want to buy. That means producing something of real value, not a paradigm of perfection.

By creating a culture of perfectionism we paralyse our people by giving them impossible targets and expectations. This sets people up to fail; an activity that unfortunately is still very prevalent in a lot of organisations. If nothing they do can ever be good enough and they are constantly reminded of exactly how far they have fallen short every time they will soon become demoralised, de-motivated and determined to find a new job!

Look to your organisation’s strengths, focusing on strengths means we can achieve and are successful not that we are found wanting

Encourage people doing things that make them proud

Encourage your team to ask for help, which is a sign of strength and make sure they get it

Appreciate the work that is done, appreciation helps promote creativity,and growth

Accept that everything can be better or not or it just might be different or OK for now

Look for opportunities rather than opponents

Look for clarity rather than confusion

Look  for collaboration rather than conflict

Look  for success rather than suspicion

Look for what’s good rather than fault

Being in business is about quality, excellence, professionalism. These are admirable goals. But endlessly trying to get things absolutely perfect, is a waste of time – the time our competitors are bringing new products to market.

How I work with clients

Coaching is a series of meaningful discussions that facilitate the performance, learning and development of another; this can be either at work or with present or emergent personal concerns, questions or values (Peter Mayes 2011).

Professional personal coaching sometimes known as life coaching is an ongoing partnership that helps the client produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Through this collaborative alliance, clients deepen their learning, understand their values, what drives them, and enhance their quality of life

 Coaching has been defined in many ways

A collaborative solution-focused, results-orientated and systematic process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of work performance, life experience, self-directed learning and personal growth of the individual. “Grant, University of Sydney, 2000”

The coach uses psychological skills to help a person develop into a more effective leader. These skills are applies to specific present moment problems in a way that enables this person to incorporate them into his or her permanent management or leadership repertoire “Peltier 2002”

It often starts with some questions

1.    What makes your heart sing?

2.    What are you passionate about?

3.    What direction do you wish to go in now and what would you have to do to achieve this?

4.    What does this mean for me?

5.    What needs to change here?

6.    What needs to happen what is the next step?

7.    What is trying to emerge or unfold?

8.    What is the bigger picture?