This is very easy, and you can tell with one quick exercise:
Ask the team to go around the room and assess their lives in these three areas. Ask them to score each area out of 10:
Their work life out of 10
Their personal life out of 10
Their health out of 10
Encourage them to provide commentary and elaborate on their scores.
I did this exercise with a team in Calgary this past week, and it took eight people about forty five minutes to get through the exercise. There was laughing. There were serious moments as real difficulties were shared. It was warm and real and authentic (to add context, they meet about three times/year so this isn’t happening every day).
Contrast that with another team doing the same exercise. This time it took 7 people about four minutes to complete the exercise. One gave all 10s (which I happened to know for certain was a lie). Did I really happen to catch this person at the ecstatic pinnacle of their whole life on that grey miserable Monday morning before diving into a planning and budget review? Her demeanor told me not.
Another lady simply said, “pass.” All other responses were as general as could be, and no one wanted to elaborate. There wasn’t any laughing, and it all felt very perfunctory.
That tells me that there are trust issues on the team. And until those issues are fixed, the team won’t function properly.
The leader needs to begin by modeling transparency. Not punishing people for wrong responses is another strategy to consider. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
In this age of intense competition for talent, building trusting, high functioning teams, is the last frontier of productivity.
You do understand that your culture/work environment is the biggest factor that effects hiring, recruitment, and retention of A-players, right?
The best want to be with the best. Those with inferior skills and attitude have to settle for whatever they can get. Those who take culture seriously get the best team members. It’s that simple.
Try this exercise and see how your team responds. Is there laughter? Are responses honest and real?
Getting ahead is about getting started,