Leadership and Team Communication: Do You Have a Minute?

Leaders who uncork the creativity of their teams know that communication is key (see Are You Paying Attention). And the communication that shapes and engages a team takes time, both in terms of duration and frequency.

My work at Brilliance Activator deals with leaders who seek to build a shared vision with their teams through a collaborative, creative process. These leaders neither sell an established vision-mission-values to their teams nor use their teams as a focus group to evaluate and further develop their vision-mission-values. Their style of leadership shuns a dictatorial approach and favors a more facilitative approach.

Let’s be honest: such an approach takes time. It doesn’t take a lot of time to announce an agenda and tell people what to do. But it takes a lot of time to work with people to form an agenda and figure out what needs to be done. A graph from The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook nicely illustrates the point: the more a team is involved in direction-setting, the more active involvement will be required of the team leader.

(click on picture to enlarge)

Patrick Lencioni recommends in Death By Meeting that regularly scheduled two-day quarterly off-site meetings and a monthly on-site meeting ( 2 to 4 hours in length) are necessary to adequately deal with strategic issues. These meetings are not one-time events. They are recurring events, which leads us to the topic of frequency.

Vision-mission-values are not things that are established, printed on posters and then forgotten. They are the heart of the ongoing conversation that keeps a group of people bound together as a team. They should weave through virtually every meeting and gathering of the team. That’s how they receive vitality and provide vitality. Strategy is derived from the vision-mission-values and team tactics and individual responsibilities are derived from the strategy.

And when teams are involved in idea generation, the ideas generated have value only if they are aligned with and promote the team’s vision-mission-values.

Like performance reviews and budgeting, vision-mission-values are often seen as things that take a leader away from “real work.” They’re something to be endured.

Truth is, there’s little more important. Take the time to do them right.

Brilliance Activator helps leaders uncork the creative power of their teams to develop products and services that delight customers, increase repeat sales, and improve their profit margins. Receive regular insights and information from Brilliance Activator by subscribing to our free newsletter.
This entry was posted in Brilliant Actions, Communication, Innovation Strategy, Leadership, Teamwork. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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  1. By Trash Talk on February 22, 2011 at 6:11 am

    […] If, as a leader, you want your communication to be effective, you need to use the appropriate time, place and medium. Communication doesn’t work if no one pays […]

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