Right-Minded Teamwork is the ultimate team building method.
It’s practical. It produces positive business results. It can be easily deployed in your team right now.
Five essential elements make up the method’s framework.
Read about each element and it will be apparent how Right-Minded Teamwork will benefit your team and your team’s customer. Furthermore, read the Right-Minded Teamwork implementation plan [at end of this article] and you will want to get started right away.
Right-Minded Teamwork is a business-oriented plus a psychological approach to team building where acceptance, forgiveness and adjustment are teammate characteristics and customer satisfaction is the team’s result.
This team building method addresses real teamwork issues. This method deals with the fundamental law of cause (your mind’s thoughts) and effect (your teammate behavior). This method is suitable for all work teams. No team games or meaningless exercises found here.
Framework: 2 Goals + 3 Methods = 100% Team Customer Satisfaction
Here’s a brief explanation. A detailed description plus an implementation plan follows.
1. Business Goal = Achieve 100% Team Customer Satisfaction
Meeting or exceeding your customer’s expectation is the primary reason for your team’s existence. Creating a high-performing team is certainly important, but it is secondary. That is why Right-Minded Teamwork ensures each teammate understands what customer satisfaction means to their customer.
2. Psychological Goal = Achieve Emotionally-Intelligent, High-Performing Teammate Work Behavior
Teammates create and sustain productive and efficient work behavior that is aligned with achieving customer satisfaction.
3. Work Agreements = Live Commitments
Work Agreements are short, customized and evergreen choices that describe how teammates work, perform and behave together. They are created for practically any teamwork issue. When fully executed, Work Agreements are the engine that powers your team.
4. Team Operating System = Effective & Efficient Organization
This system properly organizes your processes and procedures to ensure you achieve 100% customer satisfaction. Your system is the frame that contains all your functions for conducting your team’s business.
5. Right-Minded Teammate = Strengthen Individual Performance
If a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, then your team is only as strong as your poorest performer. Right-Minded Teammates do not punish poor performance. Instead, they band together to strengthen individual and collective performance.
Element #1 – Business Goal
The business element of the Right-Minded Teamwork goal is essentially the team’s clear understanding of what customer satisfaction is and what it means to the team’s customer.
Creating a high-performing team is certainly important, but in the Right-Minded Teamwork process, it is secondary. The primary reason is to exceed your team’s customer expectations.
Therefore, the team’s business goal needs to map out a plan for “how” teammates will deliver “what” their customer expects. By clearly identifying what will satisfy their customer, teammates can now make the conscious choice to follow “their” own set of team building practices such as collaboration and emotional maturity that will ensure they satisfy their customer.
To learn how to facilitate a business goal discussion, start by applying 8 Steps for creating a Customer Satisfaction Plan. You will see it is really quite simple and practical.
Next, apply the practices in our book “Right-Minded Teamwork: 9 Right Choices for Building a Team That Works as One.” You will find our list of over 40 team building practices and choices you can use right now.
Element #2 – Psychological Goal
The psychological element of the Right-Minded Teamwork goal is about teammate attitudes driving productive work behaviors. Striving for this goal will ensure teammate behavior is aligned with and supportive of the team’s customer satisfaction vision.
During facilitated team building dialogues, teammates consciously choose how they will respond when a difficult team situation occurs.
This conscious and deliberate choice allows teammates to use their desire and willingness to change their mind and behavior, so they effectively respond to difficult team situations.
At the core of their choice is their consistent willingness to achieve this psychological goal. They do that by asking themselves this honest question:
“How did I create, promote or allow this difficult situation to happen?”
Their answer will lead them to genuinely accepting their role in the difficult situation.
Next, they need to forgive themselves and others. The team concludes by discussing how they will adjust their work behaviors going forward.
Doing the above is why we say Right-Minded Teamwork is a psychological approach to team building because one has to think and be honest with oneself. This is more than habits or competency development.
This is, essentially, one’s willingness to look at how they think. When you do this, it will become easier to respond to difficult situations by accepting your part, forgiving and then adjusting work behaviors.
Actions you can take to put the Choice Model to work in your team:
To learn how to facilitate a productive work behavior discussion, start by applying the Choice Model which you can access HERE .
Give teammates a Right-Minded Choice Card.
Buy the Right-Minded Choice Model pdf template. Download here.
Print cards on Avery 5392; Buy Here.
There are three Right-Minded Teamwork methods for achieving the two goals. If these methods were a car, it would be easy to think of…
- Work Agreements as the engine
- Team Operating Systems as the frame and body and
- Right-Minded Teammates as the fuel and driver.
How and when your team uses these methods will different from team to team. Nevertheless, they are all essential and necessary.
This structure, which is also defined and continually refined by teammates, is how a team achieves its Right-Minded Teamwork Goals.
Element #3 – Work Agreements
A team without work agreements is like a machine without an operator’s manual.
Your teammates might function at acceptable levels for a while, but eventually they will deteriorate into further separateness and selfish interests.
Work agreements are one of the best ways to create and sustain a unified team. In team building workshops, leaders and teammates openly discuss and agree on work performance behaviors that will clear up unresolved interpersonal or process issues that either are hurting or have the potential to hurt team performance.
A work agreement is a covenant, promise, or pledge that transforms behavior. It is not a flimsy “ground rule.” It is an emotionally mature promise. Nearly all teamwork topics are suitable for work agreements, and there are two basic types.
… describes who will do what and the work methods they will use. These agreements define work tasks in terms of roles, responsibilities, interfaces, and decision-making procedures.
… describes how teammates will behave while they perform their tasks, such as the ways team members will bring to light, communicate, and resolve difficult performance issues or interpersonal conflicts.
A well-written work agreement includes an intention statement that defines your Team’s Choice. An example is, “Each team member will communicate his or her thoughts and feelings in appropriate ways.”
Each agreement will have clarification statements such as, “We follow the spirit and intent of our company values. If we believe another person is being inappropriate, we will … ”
Another thought might be, “Even though this agreement describes inappropriate behaviors, we also agree to give positive reinforcement, so we will … ”
I’m sure you will agree: It is not a matter of if conflict will occur, it is only a matter of when. For that reason, it is far better having work agreements in place before disagreements happen to mitigate or even make good use of those clashes when they happen.
When your team creates and actively lives right-minded work agreements, you will be following Right-Minded Teamwork logic by practicing how to recover when difficult situations happen, thus refocusing your collective energy on achieving your two team goals.
Learn How to Facilitate Work Agreement – 10 Step Advanced Process
This 39-page detailed instruction guide summarizes my three decades of facilitating Work Agreements in over 500 teams in the USA and six other countries. Everything you need to know is in this book. Click Here to Download.
When your team successfully and consistently recovers from difficult situations, you will strengthen and sustain mature working relationships that bring teammates together as one.
Element #4 – Team Operating System
A team operating system organizes your team processes and procedures to ensure you achieve your customer satisfaction mission. Your operating system is the written structure that contains all the functions for conducting team business.
- Team Meetings: this is a time when you make certain all teammates know and understand what has, what is and what needs to happen.
- Team Assessment: every 90-days, conduct a team assessment that tracks actual performance that will help the team identify needed improvements for the next 90 days.
- Recognition & Appreciation: create and implement a method for rewarding legitimate individual and team performance.
Teams That Work as One – Six Step Operating Model
This is a continuous improvement 90-day team operating plan organized to ensure all teams are doing their part to achieve the organization’s strategic plan.
Enterprise Vision & Strategy
The senior leadership team creates the plan and every team is accountable for implementing their part of the plan.
Once the team understands its responsibility and accountability, they create a team vision plus business and psychological goals. Their vision and goals ensure the team focuses its energy and resources towards achieving 100% customer satisfaction.
Now that the vision and goals are clear, the team conducts an assessment to identify what it needs to do to achieve its goals. The team assessment is administered every quarter to ensure they stay focused and on track.
Now that the team has identified what they need to do, they have to make new choices. The primary goal for this step is to determine the critical-few projects, deliverables and initiatives for the team to achieve over the next calendar quarter. The team makes choices in four categories:
- work efficiencies
- human dynamics.
The team has three basic, and sometimes, interlocking strategies for improving performance. It can create
- Process Agreements
- Action Agreements or
- Improvement Projects.
Team Operating Plan
In this plan, all your business choices (objectives, goals, metrics, assessment information, etc.) are captured which will be used to guide your team’s efforts over the next quarter and every quarter thereafter.
Report Improvement; Capture Knowledge
At the end of each quarter (or more often if required), the team will re-measure its efforts and calculate the level of improvement in any or all of the four categories listed in Step 4. After the team reports its improvement, it will also capture key learnings as well as best/worst practices for the previous quarter. This is also a perfect time to formally acknowledge and recognize individual and/or team success.
- At this point, it’s time for the team to return to step 2 to make sure their vision and goals are still in alignment with the Enterprise Vision & Strategy. If they are still aligned, then the team moves to its second quarterly assessment. And the same continuous-improvement, Right-Minded Teamwork process goes on each quarter thereafter.
Element #5 – Right-Minded Teammate
Right-Minded Teammates do not punish poor performance. Instead, they band together to strengthen individual performance.
If a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, your team is only as strong as your weakest performer.
Periodically, the team convenes a Right-Minded Teammates development workshop where they all honestly and supportively discuss each other’s performance.
As stated above, how and when your team adopts the three methods will be different from team to team. Nevertheless, they are essential and necessary – especially the teammate development workshop.
Even though this workshop could be conducted first, it is usually best to conduct this workshop after teammates are more comfortable with and confident in their team’s Right-Minded Teamwork philosophy.
Right-Minded THINKING – the goal of every Right-Minded Teammate.
Here are 7 lessons for transforming your team from a prison into a joyous classroom. This transformation is summed up in one sentence, with special emphasis on just three words.
Right-Minded Teammates accept, forgive and adjust their thinking and work behavior.
- Period of new awareness:
“I am not upset about this difficult team situation for the reason I think.”
- Period of owning up:
“I accept and own my part in this situation.”
- Period of sorting out:
“It’s impossible for me to have neutral thoughts.”
- Period of letting go:
“I forgive others and myself.”
- Period of new solutions:
“I will transform the effects of this difficult team situation.”
- Period of new thinking:
“I adjust my thinking and behavior.”
- Period of achievement:
“I am determined to see every difficult team situation as a Right-Minded Teamwork learning opportunity.”
Right-Minded Teamwork – Implementation Plan
Here’s a typical 6-12 month implementation plan that always works well.
Your first workshop is where the team creates one or two Work Agreements to resolve issues. This is an “early win” strategy where teammates resolve important issues like role disagreements or poor communications.
It is also the time to clarify the team’s Psychological Goal which is about agreeing on acceptable teammate attitudes and work behaviors.
Teammates are always motivated at the end of this workshop because they see evidence that Right-Minded team building will work for their team.
In the second workshop, teammates look at and improve their Team Operating System.
They start by understanding the team’s Business Goal which clarifies what 100% customer satisfaction looks like to their customers. Next teammates discuss and agree how to strengthen work performance and/or how to eliminate wasted team effort. Teammates are even more motivated at the end of this workshop because, again, they have their own evidence that Right-Minded Teamwork is working.
In the third session, which takes place between the third and twelfth month, is the Right-Minded Teammate development workshop.
This is the time when all teammates take an honest look at themselves by asking, “What can I do, today to improve my work performance?” The first time your team does this workshop, go for simple, legitimate and easily obtainable improvements. In subsequent workshops, teammates will address more complex performance issues. Do this step properly and your teammate motivation will grow even more because it’s now completely safe to challenge yourself and fellow teammates to achieve more.
Repeat these three workshops.
- Do this and you will create and sustain Right-Minded Teamwork
- Do this and you will achieve 100% Customer Satisfaction
Remember: a happy customer is the natural outcome of implementing these methods. Achieving beneficial results that satisfies the customer is the ultimate outcome for any team building effort.
Enterprise-Wide Teamwork – Implementation Plan
Right-Minded Teamwork can also be deployed in an enterprise-wide Team Management System [TMS].
Your organization has a common individual performance management program. Why not have a common Team Management System too?
Can you imagine how profitable it would be if every team in your organization:
- knew what it was to accomplish,
- executed its plan with precision and
- enjoyed working with their teammates?
Having an enterprise-wide Team Management System that helps your organization implement its strategic plan makes good sense, right?
Well, read this article and use the process presented here to help you make it happen.
Here is An Enterprise Application – Executive Summary
Phase 1 – Launch
Use Right-Minded Teamwork & cascade it down
• Executive Team applies RMT’s 5 Elements to improve its team performance
• Create and staff TMS Steering Team and select internal facilitators to be trained
• Create a TMS vision of set of business deliverables
• Administer an Organizational-Wide Survey
• Time: 1-2 months
Phase 2 – Implementation
TMS Steering Team finalizes the enterprise rollout design and gains executive approval
• Apply RMT in all leadership teams
• Integrate and leverage current training programs with the TMS program
• Link other HR initiatives to TMS, like individual performance management, leadership, diversity
• Certify internal team building consultants through a TMS train-the-team-building facilitator workshops
• Establish a TMS clearinghouse where internal team building needs are matched with qualified internal team facilitators
• Apply RMT in all other teams
• Steering Team drives & guides the roll out; begins process of tracking business results & ROI
• Time: 2-6 months
Phase 3 – Enterprise Quarterly Results
Within the first six months, the TMS Steering Team will begin announcing quarterly improvements in such areas as:
• Work process efficiencies & savings
• New income growth
• Product & service innovation
• Customer satisfaction
Time: each team conducts a 4-8 hour team development workshop once per calendar quarter
Read the Right-Minded Teamwork: 9 Right Choices for Building a Team That Works as One. This is an excellent pre-read for your team building workshops.
Deploy the Right-Minded Teamwork Implementation Plan in your team.
Conduct a Team Performance Assessment to determine the most pressing issues to address in a team workshop.
Browse the elements, subject and exercise navigation tabs to see what you can use now.
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To your success!