Why your team needs to practice forgiveness is easy to justify when you look at the opposite teammate behavior: the attack.
Angry teammates attack and blame. And when they attack, they’re not using their minds – or emotional intelligence to solve difficult situations.
Instead, their attack behavior, which creates an attack-defend culture, assures the team remains stuck in the storming stage of team development. A team stuck in the storming stage costs your organization money, time, and reputation … big time. That’s a quick way to lose your business.
Here’s the simple proof.
- Teammates stuck in attack mode don’t solve difficult team situations. Instead, they are too busy thinking about how to blame others.
- Teammates who are not thinking how to solve difficult team situations are not capable of meeting or exceeding their customer’s expectations.
- Teammates who don’t meet customer expectations are eventually terminated for poor performance because no organization can afford losing money and reputation due to teammates emotional UN-intelligence.
This is why attack is never justified.
This is also why forgiveness is great for your business.
In a recent post, The Only Way to Convince Leadership That Real Team Building Beats Silly Team Bonding Games, I presented a situation for real world team building. This story is also justification for teammate forgiveness.
Please read for the back story.
This was a project management team consisting of a contractor and a customer. There were 35 people in the extended leadership team. By the way, the jumping rope guys were not in this team. Whew!
There were many dysfunctional teamwork issues: lack of trust, poor work quality, process mistakes, costly rework, finger pointing, and blame.
The MOC process (Management of Change process) is one specific dysfunction that will illustrate how the attack-defend cycle caused this team to be stuck. Next, you will clearly see how forgiveness was the first step in creating functional Work Agreements that ensured this team recovered from its stuck-ness.
In projects, there is always MOC – a change order to the original plan. MOC’s take time and usually cost lots of money. Ideally, both the contractor and the customer come to mutual agreement to:
a) do the change order
b) agree on the added time and cost.
In this team, they were far from that ideal agreement.
The customer had grown to distrust the contractor’s estimate for more MOC man hours because of the appearances of inflated estimates. In turn, the contractor grew to distrust the customer’s ability to understand the complexity of design engineering; therefore, they believed the customer was incapable of understanding the higher MOC costs.
Here was a typical dysfunctional conversation before the team building workshop.
Contractor: “We need 1700 more man-hours for MOC #7.”
Customer: “That’s too many hours. You did a similar MOC #2 for half that amount. Why do you need more?” [Attack] Contractor: “It’s more complex because the ‘as-is’ drawings given to us were wrong.” [Defend] Customer: “If that were true, it certainly should not take twice as many hours!” [Attack] Contractor: “How can you say that? We’re the engineers. We know how long these tasks take.” [Attack & Defend] Customer: “I’m a professional engineer, too. I know how long these tasks should take.” [Defend]
Before the team building workshop, as their team facilitator, I helped teammates prepare to have an emotionally intelligent discussion about MOCs in their upcoming team building workshop. I was able to convince them, at least temporary, all teammates had behaved in ways that created distrust. That acceptance helped them to cautiously agreed that the only way to recover from this distrust would be to create Work Agreements to fix the MOC process. To do that, they would have to forgive themselves and others for past mistakes.
During the workshop, teammates had a successful, straight-forward and non-confrontational discussion. They created several Work Agreements that all teammates declared would help resolve this difficult team situation if they actually enforced the agreements going forward.
Immediately after the workshop, about a dozen teammates from both sides, stopped at the pub for a drink and conversation. There, teammates continued to express how hopeful they were of the Work Agreements. One teammate wrote me an email afterward saying several people, that evening, from both the contractor and the customer apologized to each other for past behaviors that caused distrust. Once again, at the pub, they recommitted to live by their new agreements.
Six month later, one teammate said to me in follow-up interviews, “Before, all we wanted to do was find a way to leave team meetings. Now it’s the opposite. We are in team meetings to find solutions. Living the Work Agreements has been a huge change.”
This story is justification for teamwork forgiveness.
Remind yourself and your teammates: Forgiveness will always be better for your business than attacking.
When teammates perceive and understand the value of forgiveness as a real and justified method for getting un-stuck, they will achieve Right-Minded Teamwork.
That is why Right-Minded Teamwork is defined as a business oriented plus a psychological approach to team building. One where acceptance, forgiveness and adjustment are teammate characteristics, and customer satisfaction is the team’s result.
Here are three actions you can take right now.
Attribution: image by Luigi Mengato via CC BY 2.0