Aim to Team Think not Group Think

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Having facilitated another company team day, I have had cause to reflect on what makes for an exceptional team. There are, of course, many factors. 

Team days are such an awesome way to help team members get to know each other more and work more effectively together. The opportunity to brainstorm possibilities and explore how to tackle challenges, utilising the whole team's knowledge, skills and perspectives, creates powerful buy-in and innovative solutions IF the team is free to express their thoughts.

Groupthink is a term coined by Irving to describe his influential theory of group decision making that he called groupthink. The idea is that groupthink is a kind of thinking in which maintaining group cohesiveness, harmony, conformity and solidarity is more important than considering the facts in a realistic manner.This can result in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making process and outcome. 

To get the most from a team, they need to feel safe to discuss, debate, agree and disagree. The enemy is artificial harmony. Team Think occurs when a team of people have an agreed common goal that they are committed to achieving. Team Think is characterised by a mindset that is eager to participate and collaborate. There is a sense of unity and the team sees and refer to themselves as a unit - “we” rather than “you and me”

Team Think is focused on adding value (contrasted with group think which is focused on the individual and being valued). One of the most powerful aspects of Team Think is common alignment to a clear goal - this allows the team to focus on the ‘prize’ as against the cost. 

The whole team needs to think right, if they are to act right and get the right results. This thinking, however, has to start at the top. Very broadly speaking Team Think has 5 key elements:

Team leadership - How the leaders think set the tone and creates the culture

Team identity - from this culture the team forms its identity. When the ‘team’ as a unit becomes more important than the ‘individual’ team members that make up the team the team can transcend to new heights.

Team purpose - Strong leadership and culture combine as core elements to build a strong sense of purpose. People need to know that they matter and that what they do makes a positive difference. People with purpose and on a mission will often outperform higher skilled teams.

Team prize - The purpose give people something to aim for. This sense of striving for a prize fires people up to give more, do more and be all they can be.

Team energy - When teams have the above elements they can create an almost self perpetuating energy that allows the to operate at higher levels and outperform their peers.

What could you do to enhance the latent potential inside your team?
If you need to look at a team event to review this year and plan for the year ahead do get in touch - we would love to facilitate the day for you!

What Skills Do You Need?

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What is your greatest point of difference as a company?

Whenever I ask this question, inevitably I get a similar answer - the one thing people cannot copy. It’s not your product, or your systems, or your processes - it is your people and the culture that they create which enables them to be the best and deliver the highest quality of work. It is this characteristic that makes organizations stand out.

Are you getting the most out of your team?

Do you have a culture where people feel enabled and empowered to give the very best?

Do you invest in your team members and help them to increase their skills so that they are able to give even more?  When I ask this question with business owners and managers, one of the responses I often get, is that they are not sure who to develop and in what areas.  How do you select which team members you will invest in and develop and how do you ensure can you get a return on the investment in your people?

Firstly, whoever you choose must actually want to develop.  Some people are very happy just the way they are, doing what are they are doing and don't actually want any more responsibility or to do anything other than what they are currently doing.  This is, of course, their choice.

Secondly, it can really help to have a succession plan in place so that you know what skills you need to meet the growth plans that you have outlined in your business plan. Any business plan needs to have a people development section - it's who people bring the skills and the time which we need to grow internal capacity.

Thirdly, it can really can help your succession plan to create a skills gap analysis.  This is simply done by dividing your business into its relevant departments and then breaking down each task within each department and indicating which people are able to do that task unsupervised. Also, which people are able to train others to do

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that task and which people are able to do the task under supervision. One of the benefits of this exercise is that it can often show big gaps in skillsets within your organisation and your over-reliance on certain individuals in certain places.

Fourthly, it is incredibly motivating for your team to have a personal development plan created for each person. I strongly recommend that your PD plan includes both future goals for work and for home, as this shows people that you care about them as a whole person - they are not just what they can do for you in a work environment.

My final recommendation comes from years of working in this industry and it's simply this. Make sure training methodologies encourage people to cascade train after every training session. You can find out more about cascade training on our website:  We find when people come to training with a sense of expectation, they pay more attention and they are actively looking for takeaway action points they can share with the team. This shared team approach helps people to take more action.

If you need any help in working out how to best develop your team to ensure you are maximising their engagement and enjoyment at work as well as their ability to produce well, please do get in touch.

Know the Course - Stay the Course

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Success is made up more of the continual movement forward than one-off actions - Mike Clark

For the month of April we chose the topic of “overcoming.” We set the topic at the beginning of the year and it has been an interesting topic to delve into. For me the topic resonated around the resolutions I have set towards achieving our goals especially in the area of being more consistent and focused.

It has not been without challenges as I suffer from “the next shiny thing” syndrome and overcoming being distracted by the exciting, new, interesting has been too easy. The key difference this year is that I am quicker to self correct. I resolved to ‘stay the course’ this year. When I see I am off track with our annual goals I go back to what I know is important.

My 4 keys for to help you STAY the course:

Set what you want. This is crucially important. It needs to be done properly. Yes it is hard doing this. It is much easier to set some goals to sound right and move on. Don’t do this. Setting what you want requires clarity in what success looks like, why you want it and what life will look like when you achieve this. In setting your goal, ensure you set the strategic goals and the daily KPI’s. The better these are set, the sooner you will know when you are off track.

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Team clarity on the goal is key. When the team knows what they are aiming for and why, then there is an exponential amount of unified effort - synergy in motion! We all know we are far more likely to do something when we know someone is going to check on us. Leverage this tendency by regular reporting and transparent progress against KPI’s.

Action gets results. Planning has its place but it is only as good as the action it creates! Have good reporting that shows how close you are to achieving your goal. Great feedback is quick and precise and allows you to adjust your actions as necessary.

Yield of your efforts is important. ROI is one of the most important measurements in business. Ensure you are getting the return you want. Financial return is only one measure. Faith, family, friends, contribution, learning, health and wellbeing are all important make a complete life that is worth living. Your goals and actions must align and be underpinned by your values and your greater life purpose.

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When you know who you want to be, you can set out each day and be that person and that is who you will become. Know what matters. Focus clearly on that. Start and STAY the course!

Here's to your success!

Process - The Answer To Everything

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Question time finished and after the customary photo I could scarcely wait to call and share my biggest learning with the team – “The answer to everything is process!” Earlier this year I was privileged to hear All Black Ben Smith share some insights on Team Motivation and high performance. My single biggest takeaway is wrapped up in one word “Process.” As we look at the topic of “Flow” with our Learning BITES I felt it was perfect to briefly share my top takeaway.

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Ever looked at something someone in your workplace has done and slapped your hand against your face in absolute frustration? Or burst out in anger and outrage? What were they thinking? Did they even think? From observation in many sessions of our team training, it would seem this is not an unusual state for team members to find themselves in. This week, I was reminded again that observation is not the same as experience, and that theory is best understood in practice.

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Tough Calls - Reality Check

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How many calls do you get in a day? Ever had one that made you stop and gave you a reality check? We had one this week. Saw a call coming in from Australia and answered thinking it was a work call. It was my in-law's next door neighbour. She told me to sit down and then said that my Mum and Dad in-law had dropped 5 meters off an embankment and had been cut out of their car and taken to hospital in highly critical condition.

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The Best and Worst of Meetings

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The best meetings don’t waste people’s time. They add value to businesses and team members by giving them the opportunity to tackle issues collaboratively, and by involving every member. They are action- based, not appearance-based. In other words,their purpose is to get something done which needs to be done. It may be to create a product or form a strategy, or it may be to foster internal connections and an understanding of each team member’s importance in the business. They value the people and the purpose of the meeting. They have a goal, a structure and an outcome. Whether your meetings are regular or spontaneously as required; contribution, acknowledgement and action focus make the best use of the time your people have chosen (or are required) to invest in turning up.

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A million dollar question

Compromise can be the dove of peace or a deadly viper - Mike Clark

What would you do for a million dollars? 
Lie? Cheat? Steal?  How about sell company secrets? Murder someone? 
Many people would tell a lie for a million dollars, some waver on the cheating and stealing and many stop at murder. 

What's Important?

What moments take your breath away? When you stop to reflect on life what is front of mind? Who do you think of and worry about in moments of great anxiety? All of these are indicators of what is important. They make up the parts of your life that...

Counter Intuitive Action

“Sometimes it pays to go against your gut instinct” – Mike Clark

What would you do? You are asked to guess which one of 3 boxes has a large prize in it. You guess box 2...

So You Want to Change?

I am fascinated with change that is effective, and lasting.  I have to be.  Our very livelihood depends on it.

We offer a triple guarantee. If our training does not work - you don’t pay. With an offer like that - It pays to be absorbed in techniques that work.

How Do You Receive Feedback?

Have you ever heard the words, “I have some constructive feedback” and cringed internally knowing that statement precedes negative feedback? Of course we all know this is meant to be constructive criticism but ….

In a previous blog on 'Feedback and Mindset', I covered how organisations can make receiving feedback easier and a productive element in individual and team development. This week I wanted to speak to you - yes ‘you’ the person reading this. How do you personally receive information that is counter to what you want to hear, and/or what you are currently doing?

My Wonder Woman’s 8 Essentials for Effective Feedback

Today, 1st August, marks the birthday of my best friend, my wife and the most amazing Mum (and yes they are all wrapped up into one very special person). We have 10 great kids between us ranging from 10-25. We are often told we are lucky to have such good kids - while one must admit that there is a solid dash of ‘luck’, it is mixed with loads of hard work, tons of love, regular communication, quality time and lots of feedback. Watching someone juggle 10 kids, run a business and home, volunteer weekly for charity and radiate love is an honour and privilege. I thought I would share some of love and joy through the top 8 skills I have seen Kiri apply when it comes to FEEDBACK.

Sales Skills Are Core Skills

Can you sell?

What one skill would help you sell more?

How much could a core sales skill be worth to you and your organisation?

Provocative questions and statements are a great way to stir people up and heighten engagement. One of my favourite questions is, “What is the most important department in this business?” In a world of equality and ‘equal rights’ etc, that can get people quite animated! Then I state, and argue, that it must be sales because if you do not sell something no other role is required.

Irrespective of your stance every business acknowledges they need sales. Who's responsible for sales in your business? Do you have a “sales mindset” that defines your culture or is sales the domain of one or two individuals or a department?

Customer Care - Creating an Experience

Word of mouth referrals remains one of the highest lead generating marketing tools of the current day. The busier we get, the more we look to friends, family and trusted referrers to help us make quick decisions. We do not have the time or the tolerance for a bad experience. The power of referrals can be seen in one of the most popular customer surveys - the Net Promoter Score (NPS). One question is asked after each interaction...

Team Care – 18 essentials towards a productive culture

Every business has a point of difference (POD) – the people that make the team. A company’s ability to engage it’s people and enhance the strengths they bring, underlines the culture within the team. When people feel valued, seen, acknowledged and part of something bigger, they are more engaged. Woven into the ‘fabric’ of our being is a need to be seen and heard (Which is why solitary confinement is such a tough sentence). People need to have purpose and to know that they matter and are making a (positive) difference.

Surviving and thriving in 2017

Have you set some goals for the year? Are you aiming to get and do more? Have you resolved to be more? The call of many at the start of the year is often, “Work harder, do more, call more, sell more and you will be more successful with even more to show for it all.”

This perpetual drive is what keeps companies growing and we are encouraged to apply this to our personal lives. The challenge is that all this ‘growth’ needs something to feed it...