From Roger Schwarz: Jointly designing next steps is one of the Ground Rules for Effective Teams. When you jointly design next steps, you make decisions about what to do next by involving others rather than deciding privately and unilaterally. You’re transparent, curious, and enable others to make informed choices. Using this ground rule increases the likelihood that team members will be committed to the solution.
Bumper stickers for leaders
I like bumper stickers. They’re brief, to the point, and often clever. Here are a few of my favorites along with how they relate to Mutual Learning leadership.
Minds are like parachutes; they function only when open. If you want to be a leader who gets the best from your team, it’s not enough to try to influence them to follow your views. You need to be open to being influenced by their views as well. If you expect your team to be open to new ideas, it’s essential that you model what you expect. That’s why one of the core values of the Mutual Learning approach is curiosity.
You don’t need a parachute to skydive. You need a parachute to skydive twice. (Why are parachute bumper stickers so popular?) This bumper sticker is a brutal reminder that you need a different kind of mindset and skill set to create sustained team results than you need to get your team to perform only in the short term. It’s also a reminder that solid preparation pays off.
186,000 miles per second – it’s not just a good idea, it’s the law. This physics bumper sticker reminds us that we work in systems with immutable natural constraints and interdependencies that we must operate within. It’s similar for the social system of a team. For example, if you focus all of your energy on improving team performance and neglect how your team members’ work together, over time you won’t have high team performance or effective working relationships.
Forget about world peace… imagine using your turn signal. This is a satirical version of the bumper sticker “Think global, act local.” I’m all for world peace, but as a formal job, it’s a little above my pay grade. This bumper sticker reminds us that the little behaviors we engage in every day can make a significant difference for the people we work with.
Don’t believe everything you think. It’s smart to question others’ thinking; it’s wise to question your own thinking. You lead yourself astray when you tell yourself stories about what’s happening in your team and then act on your stories assuming that they’re true. It’s critical to question yourself and how you came to know what you think you know. And that takes us full circle to the first bumper sticker.
Copyright Roger Schwarz & Associates, 2011. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission.
From Roger Schwarz: Compassion involves noticing others’ suffering, connecting to them cognitively and emotionally, and responding to them with help. It doesn’t mean taking responsibility for solving other people’s problems or pitying them. Here are some steps to take.
From Roger Schwarz: Leaders are only beginning to entertain the idea that there can be leadership from every chair. This kind of team leadership involves shared control that is engaging, fluid, and flexible, and recognizes that any one sitting around the table can provide the insight and ability to move the team forward. At the same time, it provides the formal leader with responsibility for how decisions will ultimately be made.
Theory-in-use models for interpersonal communication based on the work of Chris Argyris and Donald Schön
The video shows a concert by Bobby McFerrin, the world famous vocalist of the tune "don't worry, be happy." We can see how he gives the Gounod version of Bach's Ave Maria a new dimension. The way he does it is quite remarkable and simple at the same time: he makes the audience contribute to the performance.
From Roger Schwarz: Most meetings get off course as soon as they start. Starting a meeting or simply a conversation is like launching a spacecraft. (No, you’re not on the lookout for aliens.) If you start the meeting just a little off course, by the end of it, you’ll be way off course. And making course corrections later costs a lot of time and energy. There are three major missteps at the beginning of meetings, and there are three basic steps you can take to make sure everyone is on board and headed in the same direction.
From Roger Schwarz & Associates: Typical preparation usually contributes to the very results you’re trying to avoid. Approaching a challenging conversation so you can learn with the other person and craft a solution that will work for everyone takes a very different kind of preparation.