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team building

10 Tips for Forming New Teams During Change

When riding on the subway this week, I noticed that the guy beside me had placed his bag on the seat between us. How rude to take an extra seat.

I scanned the subway car and saw other people doing the same thing. There were also people who held their bags on their laps not imposing on prime sitting real estate. 

Why were some people taking extra space and others not? Were some rude and others considerate, or were some just unaware of the impact of their actions? 

It is easy to judge people you don’t know. This is what happens when new teams form during change. New relationships are formed between people who have different expectations and do things differently. Some team members attribute these differences as premeditated disparities while others see them as natural diversity.

The first approach assumes negative intent while the second assumes neutrality. One interpretation leads to division and entrenchment while the other leads to discussion and inquiry. 

Here are some tips to avoid misunderstandings and negative perceptions:

  • Immediately schedule a meeting for people to connect
  • Ask people to share their backgrounds including roles, accomplishments and aspirations—people forget
  • Acknowledge that it is normal for people to do things differently given their different leaders and experiences
  • Align people around a common purpose or goal
  • Do something social. New and fun experiences leads to shared memories and fresh bonds
  • Ask team members to create rules of engagement based on their values and definitions of high performing teams
  • Insist on team members who are located in the same city to sit together
  • Use video conference technology to engage remote team members—conference calls are not good enough
  • Celebrate early successes as team accomplishments
  • Hold frequent team meetings to align on goals, share information and manage any challenges

Change management is about helping people move from where they are to where they need to be with minimal disruption. Managing early team dynamics is essential for minimizing misunderstandings and tensions that get in the way of this transition and better performance.

The guy beside me on the subway stood up to give his seat to a senior citizen who got on our car. Maybe he wasn’t so rude after all.


How to Energize People in a Round Table Discussion

I have been preparing to facilitate some round table discussions at a Leadership forum next Tuesday. 

Participants rotate through twenty-minute discussions with three different knowledge specialists. It’s like speed dating for executive learning.

I have facilitated similar sessions and they are fun, loud and shorter than you would like. Staying focused in a carnival environment is a key success factor.

The forum is branded “Recharge” and this session is guaranteed to deliver. My topic is Leading Through Ambiguity and Change. I want to over-deliver on the experience. What can I do to super-charge the Recharge?

As a facilitator, you have many ways to set the mood. Your tone, body language and energy level directly effect people’s thinking, feelings and behaviour.

Here are the approaches I will be taking to ignite my groups:

  • Set energized expectations with my welcome
  • Demonstrate open body language—hands open, good eye contact, facing people directly, smiling a lot
  • Ask everyone to stand in a circle—it’s easier to be energized when more mobile
  • Start with a quick energizer activity: “Shake hands with the person beside you and say, “‘I feel great’ like you mean it!”—there is neuroscience behind this one, really 
  • Add humour through stories
  • Ensure everyone participates
  • End with a crescendo!
We have a lot of influence on the environments in which we work. One way to recharge is to work with like-minded people who are energized by what they do. Just thinking about these energized discussions is already recharging me.

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