Articles categorized as:

Collaboration and Communication

  • July 30, 2019Bringing Remote Teams Together

    More than ever before, teams don’t share the same space. The challenge of getting everyone aligned is more difficult when face-to-face exchange is limited. Monthly or quarterly check-ins are barely enough to cover the myriad topics that arise between contacts. Often, the result is teammates heading in different directions. They may be running fast and working hard but they are not necessarily in synchrony. Products get sold and services delivered but not at the level that would be possible with full coordination of efforts. Here are some basics for remote teams.

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  • February 19, 2019The Space Between Pain and Problem-solving

    Growth happens for many reasons. The demand for your products and services exceeds your capacity. Your business plan calls for expanding to new markets. An acquisition doubled your headcount overnight. Whichever the cause, the employee engagement surveys identify the same pain point: constant change. Constant change energizes some teammates and exhausts others. The team quietly divides into subgroups separating those who embrace the speedy transformation from those who need time to process the impact. How do we bring these sides together?

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  • August 23, 2018When You Join or Lead a Team

    “…Think hard – really hard – about what it means to join or lead a group of people.” When Seth Godin endorsed Team Clock in 2009, he urged readers to consider the accountability they own for being a part of a team, regardless of the role. By linking people together, everyone shares responsibility for the wellness and productivity of the group. What roles have you assumed?

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  • May 24, 2018Choosing Your Role on the Team

    When Seth Godin endorsed Team Clock: A Guide to Breakthrough Teams in 2009, he stated, “This book made me think hard – really hard – about what it means to join or lead a group of people.” Whether joining or leading, everyone has a role. Often, your role on the team is not defined by your job description. Usually, it’s determined by the way you choose to interact with your teammates during key moments in the team’s lifespan.

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  • April 18, 2017Multi-lingual Collaboration

    A key driver of effective collaboration is customization. After a careful assessment of strengths, we tailor our relationships to create a language unique to each connection. Every partnership adjusts to accommodate the nuances of personality, history, perception, and psychological wellness. Try this path to enhance team communication.

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  • January 9, 2017The 10 Landmines that Disable Team Communication

    It’s usually the topic we’re not discussing that wields the most power in the room. Subtle and often hidden from view, insidious obstacles make collaboration difficult. These landmines are both sins of omission and sins of commission. Usually, we know they are causing or perpetuating struggle but we’re not willing to risk the consequences of unveiling them for open communication. So, we make them normal in our culture. Consider these ten landmines and perform a quick assessment of your own team.

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  • September 20, 2016Your Team’s Next Conversation

    Without exception, every team has work to do. Whether fixing something broken or fueling an opportunity, there is a conversation needed to move things forward. We all know which conversations are most important. It’s usually the ones that are awkward and sensitive. It’s often the issue not being discussed that fills the atmosphere with tension. Here are a few of the most common team conversations waiting to be initiated:

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  • May 19, 2016Me vs. We

    The drivers of workplace behavior can be both selfish and altruistic. Our personal desire for achievement can overtake our mission to advance the lives of others. When our own needs clamor for satisfaction, the greater good sometimes gets sacrificed. Few of us, however, live in isolation. Most of us are members of relationships, families, teams, and organizations where goals are shared.

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  • May 5, 2016How Communication Changes in Team Settings

    The ability to collaborate effectively within teams is one of the greatest tests of communication. Growing up, most of our education is skewed toward individual success. We learn to set goals, take initiative, and budget our time based on our own pace and work ethic. We assume that applying the same rubric will lead to success in team settings. We believe the contribution of strong individual performance along with respect for others constitutes teamwork. Not always. In fact, it might even be a detriment.

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  • February 22, 2016The 10-Ingredient Collaboration Recipe

    Blending differences has the potential to polarize as well as coalesce. How do you collaborate effectively when everyone at the table is an expert? How might generosity and sharing occur when each stakeholder represents a different cause? Understanding the recipe for effective collaboration provides a starting point. Consider these ingredients:

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  • July 21, 2015Why it is Difficult to Collaborate

    As obvious as the benefits of teamwork might be, collaborating is difficult. Imagine what it would be like to enjoy the outcome of joining our talents without having to make the sacrifices required to share. Unfortunately, letting go of self-interest is a primary ingredient of the teamwork recipe. Sadly, working in silos is easier despite the subtraction of advantages that come from working together. Let’s look at the spectrum of hardships required for healthy collaboration.

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  • May 21, 2015Why You Should Listen to Your Quietest Teammate

    Activate an idea circle. Rather than opening a discussion where the most verbal participants shape the conversation, create a structure that invites everyone to pitch in. Often, the best ideas are left unspoken. Sometimes team politics make it unsafe to speak up. Maybe more introverted teammates prefer to listen than talk. An idea circle extracts innovation from the quiet side of the team. Here’s a way to turn up the volume.

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  • February 26, 2015Finish the Argument

    Day-to-day interactions with colleagues often provide an indication of the quality of communication without revealing much evidence about the reasons for its strength or weakness. True data usually lives beneath the surface. When it’s not going well, the motive for the choice not to collaborate is frequently some unresolved grudge that converts a “we” into an “us vs. them.” Perhaps a teammate said something insulting six months ago. Maybe a counterpart came from the wrong side of a merger following a corporate acquisition. Sometimes a colleague stays loyal to a previous leader. Either way, a talent with whom you should partner is rendered off limits. What should you do?

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  • November 10, 2014Does This Make Me Look Fat?

    Ask the tough questions only when you truly want the answers. Requests for feedback are often misunderstood as appeals for praise. Why ask unless you are prepared to absorb the critique and make the changes it evokes? Consider intensifying the challenge. Rather than asking a friend, ask a stranger. Instead of soliciting one opinion, ignite a feedback circle. Here’s an example:

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  • April 3, 2014Peer Pressure

    It took nearly three years for the Team Clock Institute to publish the soon-to-be-released interpersonal suite of products. The assessment sort cards and action workbook unfolded quickly since they are both anchored in the trademarked principles and methodology of the Team Clock. The book, Useful Pain: Why Your Relationships Need Struggle, took over two years to complete. While the author had his own obstacles, the primary source of delay was the decision to invite critique.

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  • April 18, 2013The Music of Teams

    The executive leadership team I coach on Friday mornings doesn’t always see eye-to-eye. Sometimes, a teammate opts out of the discussion when he or she isn’t getting their way. As a coach, I finesse a way to invite them back into the conversation. The musicians who gather in my basement on Friday nights find ways to collaborate without words. It’s a universal language. Sometimes there is harmony and other times there is dissonance. There is always communication. Fridays are full of lessons.

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  • November 20, 2012The 2012 Team Clock InstituteThank You List

    Surrounded by vital partnerships, it’s time to give pause for reflection and gratitude. Where do you fit on the Team Clock Institute’s 2012 Thank You List?

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  • October 16, 2012Who is in Your Community?

    The Mayor’s director of economic development stood at the center of the room as the facilitator carefully arranged community stakeholders in a constellation around his orbit. The exercise was designed to assist the city’s leadership to better understand the priorities of their community partners. One by one, workshop participants were assigned roles and placed somewhere in proximity to the center either facing toward or away from the leader. If it wasn’t already clear before the exercise, there would soon be no question about which members of the community had power and influence in the city’s future.

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  • May 29, 2011The Gift of Teamwork

    The task was daunting, the time frame was pressing, and the outcome was magical. Resurrecting a 65 year old musical composition by musicians who had never before sung together for a 45-minute window in a recording studio was the challenge.

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  • August 1, 2010Can We Expand The Definition of Teamwork?

    Welcome back to the Team Clock Institute’s monthly newsletter. Each month, Breakthrough Teams will invite readers to participate in an Ask/Apply/Act model:
    Ask: this month’s team challenge
    Apply: example story
    Act: action steps for consideration

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  • March 1, 2010Are You a Team Player?

    Welcome back to the Team Clock Institute’s monthly
    newsletter. Each month, Breakthrough Teams will invite
    readers to participate in an Ask/Apply/Act model:

    Ask: this month’s team challenge

    Apply: example story

    Act: action steps for consideration

    Keep Reading...