Conversations about leadership, learning, coaching and change.

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Teamwork

Team work isn’t optional.  Management theorists tend to over-complicate things by differentiating between groups and teams, but I like to keep it simple.

I frequently work with leaders and teams who ask me a version of this question:

“What if we’re not a great team and we don’t all really trust each other?”

Which is a necessarily honest and courageous start.

In my work I encourage my clients to consciously re-think what we mean by “teams”; to go beyond the idea that a team is only the group of people who report to one manager or one project lead.

We all belong to multiple teams

If you need other people to contribute to your output at work, then you’re part of their team.  Their contribution might be time, advice, encouragement or materials and the contribution may be big or small, consistent or intermittent.

Team work is about co-operation and contribution

Great teams work well when the individuals have the mind set:

“What can I contribute?”

Not:

“What can I get out of this?”  or “How can I get other people to do what I want them to do?”

Don’t obsess about trust

Of course, trust is a fundamental aspect of a high-performing team, but the reality is that we all have experience of belonging to teams where trust might not be optimal.

Virtual teams, matrix organisations and a tendency to promote managers without formal training; mean that politics, turf wars and competing agendas are bound to get in the way of team work.

Teams don’t have to be perfect

I think that we have a tendency to romanticise the ideal team, when “good enough” is sometimes a lot better than average.

Instead of waiting for some magical time when trust will emerge or crossing your fingers that you’ll get some budget to hire an outside coach to help you strengthen those bonds, you could just do five things.

The  real world guide to “good enough” teams

Five things any team can (and should) focus on to get great results 

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Why everyone should be working out loud

Why everyone should be working out loud

by Moyra Mackie on March 1, 2014

I’ve been working out loud.

Wikipedia defines working out loud like this:

“Working Out Loud is working in an open, generous, connected way so you can build a purposeful network, become more effective, and access more opportunities.”

From this definition you can see a balanced combination of giving and receiving

I’ve been a passionate believer in this concept since I was introduced to the idea by John Stepper.  Like John, my clients tend to work for large multinational organisations where the sheer size and complexity of the business threatens to overwhelm the human connections essential to a fully engaged workforce.

Wikipedia again:

“Working Out Loud…synthesizes a number of vast challenges found in large organisations such as the need for increased transparency…, team productivity and motivation, effective leadership and communication”

Every large company that cares about its people should be working out loud

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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This is my favourite picture of me at work.  I love seeing every single one of those people, smiling, engaged, fully present.

What’s more, it’s taken in the middle of a challenging and competitive activity where everyone present has experienced unexpected loss and disappointment.

What you are looking at is resilience

Here’s what the CIPD has to say on the importance of resilience:

“A consistent theme among the range of definitions of resilience is a sense of adaptation, recovery and bounce back despite adversity or change” 

And what does this mean for organisations?

“The greater the diversity of resilience strategies available to an organisation, the greater its ability to respond to challenges. Having a number of strategies provides a bigger buffer to survive larger crises, or the cumulative effect of frequent crises.”

The picture you see was the result of a request from a global COO who could see that his teams were finding it hard to give up projects they were working on, were always searching for the perfect solution, causing cost overruns and a backlog of work.

He asked me if I could come up with “an interesting presentation” so that his senior team, and their teams would “know that this is harming the business, our balance sheet and our reputation.”

But here’s the thing.

People don’t do things because they don’t know what the “right” thing is

They do the thing that carries the least personal risk. Which is actually the right thing in personal survival terms.

To change requires experience of future pleasure that will off-set the imminent pain of doing things differently

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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“What’s the difference between management and leadership?”

A variation of that question is keyed into Google more than 1.2 million times a month.

Do people want to know the difference or are they asking how to be better at what they are doing?

Leadership steps that managers must take to get better at what they do include:

So here’s a true story of one of the managers I worked with

Perhaps you could assess this manager against those leadership steps?
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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Making heavy weather of decisions? Wear a thinking hat.

Making heavy weather of decisions? Wear a thinking hat.

by Moyra Mackie on February 3, 2013

You make decisions. It’s what decision makers do. But do the real thorny problems that you are given to sort out sometimes send your thoughts spinning like the wheels of a sports car in the snow?

It’s not about lack of intellectual horsepower. You’re probably applying too much, rather than too little.

It’s not that you have too few ideas. You may have too many, all at the same time.

It’s just that you’re not able to get traction and make your usual progress.

Sometimes there are so many different opinions to take into account and so many good ideas to think through that it can be like having a rowdy boardroom between your ears. And with a pretty ineffective chairman, too.

So if you’re making heavy weather of decisions, I’ve got a suggestion that most definitely works.

Try wearing a hat.

In a hurry? Download a handy PDF now

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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