Details of the Workshop - Building Enduring Teams
Duration – 8 hours
Testimonials available on request for this session from attendees.
|Leadership Lessons from the Armed Forces|
The importance of working in teams is recognized as an essential element of success in any organisation. And yet while individuals and groups acknowledge its importance, optimum teamwork is a skill that constantly eludes many organisations. This workshop addresses the specific challenge of building teams that sustain.
1. Defining the ‘enemy’
The core reason why teams don’t function optimally is not because individual members are not competent. Usually it is because the team members are not aligned to one universal mission. Though business groups mouth the same mission statements, very often parochial agendas pull the team and its members at cross purposes. This dissipation of energy and focus results in loss of opportunities and suboptimal performance.
The module begins with a short interactive exercise where attendees are grouped into teams and presented with the same problem. The attendees are stunned to discover that though each team has been presented with exactly the same information – there are diverse conclusions drawn by different teams and there is dissonance even within the same team. And each one is convinced that they are right. Most importantly however, virtually all of them miss the real answer which is staring at them in the face.
This module drives home the lesson that achieving team alignment is easier said than done and while business leaders believe that their communication and actions have aligned the teams, in fact there are multiple agendas operating as undercurrents and unless these are identified and addressed, teams are bound to fail.
2. Why teams fail to communicate well?
As organisations grow in size, leaders use a wide variety of tools to communicate their strategic intent, decisions, operating procedures and other aspects necessary for aligning and controlling the organisation. These range from dialogs, individual conversations, written instructions, knowledge portals etc. However, the usage of such tools and their efficacy is often misunderstood. The crux of communication is in the context – not the content.
This module demonstrates the importance of context in communication and the necessity of developing a ‘common vocabulary’ within the entire organisation by tasking the attendees with a set of instructions that they have to follow. Teams are again shocked to find that though they have identical instructions – different contexts cause them to follow the instructions in different ways and end with results far removed from the intent.
3. Speed of Trust
Research has proven that teams whose members trust each other perform superlatively. Ironically this is true even if the team members don’t ‘like’ each other. ‘Speed of trust’ is a major differentiator that organisations can leverage to catapult themselves into the next orbit. This module, based on a famous case study from the Korean War, consists of an outdoor exercise that demonstrates why individuals and teams don’t trust each other and often with very good reasons. Ironically, efforts of making people/ teams ‘like’ each other are neither practical nor necessary. Individuals who may not necessarily get along at a personal level can still operate as a highly efficient team provided they leverage the speed of trust on the professional competence of their team mates.
4. Using teamwork as a 'Force Multiplier' – Case Study
Is it possible for a small group that functions as team, to beat an opponent several times their size? If so what are the principles that can construct a sustaining team capable of taking on disproportionate adversaries and beat them.
This module is based on a historic battle between two armies. One side numbering just 5000 tired, depleted and exhausted troops who faced an enemy six times their size. Their adversary had fresh troops, better tactical advantages and more resources. Yet, at the end of this four hour battle, the smaller body of troops devastated their much superior foes following the fundamental principles of teamwork.
The participants go through a pre-read and discuss the battle from its preparation, planning and actual conduct and learn the finer points of developing their team building strategy based on own cultural strengths rather than being influenced by the competitor or the operating environment. They learn how a well organised team can beat a vastly superior competition by choosing the right building blocks.
5. Achieving team alignment across the organisation– Case Study
On June 6th 1944, mankind witnessed the largest body of troops ever assembled. These troops came from scores of different countries, with varying levels of motivation and many thousands did not even speak the same language or operate with each other before. Operation Overlord as the D Day landings were known, consisted of several sub-operations being conducted by different teams, the success of each one of which was critical to the overall victory and even survival. Yet under one unified command, the allied troops landing on the beaches of Normandy, achieved stupendous victory, despite the most adverse conditions and against the toughest opposition led by Germany’s finest General - Rommel.
What was the framework used by allied commanders to forge this disparate body of troops, being led by generals with monumental egos and differences into a singular unstoppable juggernaut that changed the course of history?
Using the backdrop of perhaps THE most complex human endeavor ever - attendees go through Operation Overlord step by step and discover the principles of achieving team alignment that works across armies and operations regardless of size and complexity. And they learn a template that can be used in their own thinking & operating processes and become able to implement it within their own organisation and teams.