ENGAGE SERIES: Coordinate - Connect


It's self-evident to say that if you want to coordinate your team for higher degrees of engagement then they need to meet. However, there is a big difference between meeting and connecting. How many times have you seen people in meetings zoned out and not participating? Even before meetings begin most people are on their devices or even worse disrespecting other participants by being late.

“Together, we have the power to inspire, connect, and deliver on new opportunities and rich experiences that can open doors to innovation and progress while growing global economies and increasing well-being.” Wise words from Tae Yoo.

The frustration here can be a lot of capable individuals missing the mark as they fail to connect with those around them and understand their part in the coordinated whole.

What we want is a level of relationship and understanding between team members that multiplies their effectiveness because they understand the context in which they are operating.

When you get this right, great things happen, because all of your team’s resources and attention are focused on achieving an aligned, agreed outcome. If you don't achieve this then whilst you can get things done, it's usually with a high degree of frustration, false starts and misunderstandings.

The principle we're dealing with here is that a team is more than the individuals involved and there is value between roles. As a leader we need to connect those we lead, with each other.

You maybe the smartest person on the room, but you are not always right. You have one perspective, one set of experiences and one world view. Regardless of how smart and experienced you are, if you’re human, you’re often wrong, or as we like to say, “not quite right”. When we are surrounded by a team, why wouldn’t we unlock that potential and leverage the collective experience in the room?

Steve Jobs may have had an enormous ego as the head of Apple, but he understood his place in the information age when he famously quipped, “It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”

So how do we connect and coordinate in a way that makes sense when all around us is changing rapidly. The cadence of decision making is amplified in a fast moving environment, so too the collaborative cycle. This is our new normal in the digital revolution.

You can also be more effective by reducing the number of people having input. Whilst you should absolutely maintain diversity and ensure full representation of your organisation at the table, minimising the numbers makes sense when urgency is required.

John F. Kennedy had his fair share of crises, as is unfortunately traditional in his family. He said this; "In a time of domestic crisis, men of goodwill and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics."

It is a time to coordinate for connection and collaboration, but why? You get a better answer because you have a more diverse view and more intelligence and experience to draw from. Plus, you get buy-in! That great and somewhat underestimated commercial multiplier. They build it, they will own it and make sure it happens. That gives you momentum and productivity, two essential ingredients in getting stuff done!

During the early days of the turnaround at Gloria Jeans Coffees I went and met the 400 Franchise Partners around Australia 20 at a time. They were angry and quite rightly so. I took the time to listen, heard the stories and helped them prioritise what they needed. Despite some obvious cynicism I was transparent and came away with a clear insight into their real issues. When we co-created solutions the buy-in was such that sales turned around very quickly. No collaboration produces no buy-in, and no buy-in produces no result. This was a coordinated approach to connection.

You don’t have to have all the answers, most of them will be in the team you have already assembled. Be transparent, open up to your team, you can be confident but not directive, include them in the solution. Remembering leaders talk last. Relationship and creating a safe environment are the drivers of connection. Don’t fall for the temptation to make decisions without collaboration. The irony of that is if you wait, share, ask, discuss and then act, you’ll go faster and get a better outcome. It’s like links in a chain. It only works when they’re connected.

So, start to plan your connections and coordinate your collaboration. If you’d like to know more about how, let us know, we can help.

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