When team decisions are high risk and with potentially high impact, it’s important to get everyone’s thinking and judgment. If indeed you have the right people on the bus, then everyone’s vantage point will have significance to determine the best possible course of action. True team process is a protection from the hazards of short-sightedness. I hope today’s principle provides sound guidance on decision-making.
Unity. It is utopian to believe that all team members should or will agree on all issues. Authentic unity is at play when varieties of opinions are drawn from diverse backgrounds of human and corporate experience and then, after intense debate, culminate in a participative decision-making process. Only the amateur leader will rule by decree. So how do we foster and encourage real unity on a team? We begin by mandating that no-one abstain or “hide in the weeds” with respect to their view-this takes courage. When polled, each person must commit to communicate their own thinking based on their learning and judgment, and declare what they believe and why. Next, as a function of the team contract, all team members agree to suspend judgment until all views are heard; we listen hard, show respect, and ask clarifying questions even in light of disagreement. Debate should be robust and focused on issues, not personalities, void of any personal attacks. Whatever the outcome, each member agrees to defer and support the wisdom of the group, both publicly and privately.
Coaching questions: Do your teams have authentic unity? If not, what’s missing and why? Write your answers in your journal.
Read more coaching principles from Dean Harbry on the Internal Innovations website.