I have the honor of leading the Programming Department at The Leadership Program. We provide training and coaching for companies, schools and beyond on leadership and organizational culture.
Last week, part of our work was culminating for the year and despite the hectic hustle of closeout procedures that needed to occur, we held a closing team meeting to reflect and celebrate.
As the team entered the meeting, I asked them how present they were in the room on a scale of 1-5. 1 represented an extreme urge to be on some sort of electronic device tending to the day-to-day business with 5representing a focused readiness to be together and share. I’d say the average in the room was 2. Yikes! What a way to kick-off a meeting.
Eventually, the energy in the room started to vibe and it slowly transformed our ability to be present for each other and present for the work. The real work. The work to share challenges and celebrate successes. The work to reflect on lessons learned. The work that takes us away from our desks and connects us to the mission and fuels us to continue.
After just a few hours, I asked the team again how present they were. This time, almost everyone was at a 5. If we provide the space and a container for an experience to happen, our staff will fill it up with whatever is most needed for their personal and professional development. I promise you leaders, the commitment to creating this time for your team is vital and the payoff is worth it. The ROI on a connected, committed team is priceless.
Here is the simple recipe for our time together:
tables in an open, inclusive ‘U’ formation
music playing (we kicked it off with The Sound of Sunshine by Michael Franti)
blinds open to allow the light to come in
our PowerPoint with a team pic of us as the cover slide
a piece of scrap paper with their name pre-written showing you a space for them is valued and you are prepared (cost: nothing…if you are reusing something pre-printed)
a marker for our warm-up activity (cost: supply your office probably already has)
a chocolate bar in a flavor I thought each of them might enjoy (cost: less than $2.00 per person)
Content of Meeting:
o Opening Warm-Up/Check-In
o Planning the Next 3 Months
o Sneak Peek at Systems Improvements
o Brainstorm “How to Appreciate our Staff”
o Lessons Learned Update
None of the meeting elements I shared are new, fancy, flashy, expensive, or incredibly innovative. None of the meeting elements on their own, will take a team through the stages of form-norm- storm-perform in the results-driven environment in which we lead. However, over time, a leader’s investment in creating meaningful team-time, in reflection, in the sharing of challenges and successes, and of future foundation building becomes essential to the healthy, thriving development of a team.
In the fast pace of each of our industries, it is so easy to launch whole-heartedly into the next project, grant, or task on our to-do list. I write to remind us all of the importance of carving out this time for your staff.