Not Just Two Days and Done: It Takes Practice
Two-Days and Done.
“That was great! Really, amazing.”
“We made progress that I never thought we would.”
“I’ve been to so many of these ‘team-building’ sessions – This was by far the best.”
This is what we hear EVERY time we do a two-day team off-site. Two-days, and team has such a significant shift that they (and we) tend to think that they’re done.
It’s not just the leader’s or team’s issue. Frankly, we have too easily bought in to the two days and done philosophy. We see the progress, get caught up in the momentum, and step away confident that the team is committed and will stay on course.
While the team does walk away committed, they do not have the skill set, or a strong enough habit to make the smart and healthy approach stick.
It is much like learning a new sport or musical instrument. One intensive clinic, while giving you a big jump forward, does not keep you on track. No, it takes practice, ongoing coaching, and feedback.
Hey, it’s why both of us took both a golf clinic and lessons throughout the golf season! Going on year two, Susan’s score has been as low as 92. Not bad, but it would not have happened without some help.
I have yet to see someone improve their game just with playing. That simply reinforces the same ineffective habits. Coaching and feedback are the keys to improving and staying successful.
What Usually Happens
After the Two-Day Offsite, the team is going great for a while, successfully moving through their first collective goal, and creating some great business results. They’ve learned some more about each other, have cleared up some issues, and gotten aligned around strategy.
Then a few things start to slip.
Often the first thing to go is calling each other on unproductive behaviors and checking out stories. Then, the team norms disappear from view, forgotten altogether. The team stops rating their meetings along a smart and healthy axis. Then real-time agendas get replaced with the old status updates and individual status reporting.
None of these things are intentional or overly obvious.
See, just like any change, shifting a team’s culture to one that tends to both the smart and healthy, is not easy.
We know we haven’t done our part either.
Our job is to make sure a team has what it needs to succeed. That means we make sure that there is a commitment to follow-up – on the team’s part and our part!
Turing Two Day Success Into Long-Term ROI
The teams that have reached and sustained success have done two things quite differently than those teams that seem to rock, and later roll, right back to mediocre.
ONE: They shift the structure of their meetings.
Their meetings include some type of Health Check.
Dedicated Check it out! time
Team Norms are posted and a progress check is regularly done.
They institute three different types of meetings:
Weekly Tactical with real-time agenda setting
Monthly Strategic meetings
A variation of a Daily Check-In
They use a Thematic Goal to drive a collective focus in meetings.
The time frame is nine months or less
There is team accountability – everyone accountable for the goal – not parts
Once completed, they celebrate and choose next focus goal
TWO: They set up on-going support for long term high-quality results.
Coaching Package – there is coaching for the leader, and often other key members of the team. This ensures leader accountability, as well as, a sounding board and development of a healthy skill set.
Follow-Up Team Sessions are set-up at three, six, and nine month quarterly cycles. These are great checkpoints for healthy check-ins, as well as, tackling key strategic issues with some facilitated support.
Organizational Clarity consultation and organizational wide rollout are provided to ensure that the next level down, as well as, all employees are clear and aligned with the core purpose, strategic anchors, core values, and thematic goal.
Teams that make a commitment to these shifts ensure their continued growth and development and sustain amazing smart and healthy results.
Change doesn’t just happen. It takes discipline and commitment.
Bottom-line: Invest in your team’s health and make it stick! It’s not just two days and done!
CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke
Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict
CrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.
They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results.
Check out their website: www.thriveinc.com. Connect with CrisMarie and Susan on LinkedIn. Watch their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It! Find your copy of The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing Your Team's Competitive Advantage here.