That Moment When You Want Your Team to be More Creative

That Moment When You Want Your Team to be More Creative

Have you ever had that moment when you’ve been sitting and listening to your team and you think, “I just want something more… something outside the box – something creative!”

This week we have Coach Keiko Akiba to share with us her thoughts.

Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 9.57.16 PMWhen you’re sitting in the middle seat and watching how your team is working, you may ask yourself, ‘What can I do to help my team become more creative?’

And – what does it really mean to be ‘creative’?

You may think that creativity is a special talent that only some people have and others don’t have. But the next time you pass a park, you’ll see children making ‘play’ from seemingly nothing. It’s amazing how children create new games by making up their own rules without any equipment in the playground. They are free to explore and enjoy imagination and creativity!

Creativity is a gift that we all have naturally. However, as we grow older and learn what we ‘should and shouldn’t’ (or ‘the rules’), we unconsciously bury the creative mind deep inside of us.

So – what this means is that your workplace is full of hidden creativity!

What if we could unbury it just like peeling off the outer layer of an onion?

And how can you, as a Manager, help?

Start with these 3 “Let Go’s” that you can start doing now to spur your team toward creativity!

  1. Let Go of your judgement

Often, managers tend to have judgements or assumptions toward their team members and may underestimate their capability. However, these judgements may not be reality and it could make the team feel defensive and demotivated. So, try to let go of your judgement and fully trust the team, letting them know that you are here to support them.

  1. Let Go of the reins that you keep holding

Imagine a horse running freely across the field without any control by someone. What does the horse look like? When you keep holding the reins too tight, it often limits the actions and new perspective. People might feel pressure and less freedom by being too controlled. This is not where creativity is developed. Let go of the reins and let them explore and enjoy new possibilities!

  1. Let Go of your stereotyped behavior

It goes without saying that following the tradition and rules is important, and you may feel safe to stay inside where you are. But aren’t you curious to see what’s available and what will happen if your team gets off the existing path and does something different from stereotypical behavior? They will naturally use their creative mind and find something inspiring along the way!

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Fall Break

Fall Break

If you have been out and about lately, you have probably noticed the large number of college students who happen to be around on the weekend.

For just a day or two is seems like it’s summer again. Around this time of year students enjoy “fall break”, which though is may be only a day or two off of school, allows for a much needed break.

Even though these weeks are packed and you’ve got quite a number of deliverables due, we’d recommend you find a way to give yourself a break. Take yourself out to lunch instead of chowing down on your sandwich at your desk. On Saturday, instead of doing all the things you feel like you should have been doing, enjoy the cooler weather and head to a pumpkin farm or go on a hike. Or maybe even just switch up your work set-up (you most certainly deserve that cool new mouse pad).

Even if you don’t feel like you can physically take much ‘time out’ right now, creating the space to give yourself a mental break or change is really important.

Trust us, it might just be exactly what you need.

Beginning Collaboration

Beginning Collaboration

You’ve just received a multi-layered and pretty complex project from management. *deep breath*

You know that if you break up the work each team member can get the job done but you’ve really been wanting to encourage your team to work together more.

This week we have Coach Mike Lim with us on one tip he would recommend to start bringing that change!

Take it away, Mike!

Mike“Great individuals need an inspiring leader to garner them together. First things first, you need to be the ‘beacon’ to get them excited about the project.

One tip is to share the benefit of how this project can help the team members build visibility in their work and as a team. Hence, you need to be able to articulate purpose and benefit statements such as:

  • This is a critical project that requires the team to …
  • When this project succeeds, this creates more visibility to the work that we …

As this may not be a high performance team just yet, you will have to ensure that you communicate the outcome and set clear guidelines on roles and responsibilities. You may need to have an open discussion to know each individual skills-set and what they can bring to the table in this project team.

It is certainly useful for you to understand the Tuckman’s team model. Teams go through the stages of Forming, Storming, Norming before Performing.  Keep an eye open to how the group interacts and ascertain the stage(s) they are in throughout the project timeline. This being said, you will have to steer the team through the ‘waters’ to become a high-performing team.”

Thanks, Mike!

This week, try sharing with your team why working together will be beneficial to their career! And, let us know how sharing this encourages the mood of the team!

One encouragement, what you are hoping to do is change the culture of your team and this will take some time. Stick with it!

As Yoda would say… “Great manager, you are! And, more collaboration in your future.”

Creating Inspiring Goals

Inspiration

Do you have your list?

You know… the list we talked about last week with the three words you want to be able to use to describe 2015.

So, now what?

We’ve asked some of our fantastic Coaches for advice on goal setting. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be getting some great tips on how to set (and take action on!) these goals.

To start, Teresa Wallace, a Coach with over 25 years of experience in helping leaders achieve exceptional results, has given us these tips.

Teresa Wallace“In brainstorming about your goals get rid of the “SHOULDs” and “HAVE-TOs”.

“Should do” and “have to do” goals will very quickly start to feel like work and most of us already have enough work. Besides, who really gets excited about things they have to do or should do?

Instead, focus on how you’ll feel when you accomplish your goal.

Satisfied…fulfilled…motivated…happy.

When your goals are inspiring, you’ll be passionate about making progress on them. This passion will keep you moving forward, even when things get challenging.

Try asking yourself the following questions to get started:
• Why is this goal important to me?
• How will my work (or life) change when I reach the goal?
• How will I feel when I reach this goal?

So, this week look at your three words with Teresa’s advice and make sure these are things you are really passionate about.

Looking at where our goals start from is part of the journey to success!

Why Do We Love Holiday Parties, Anyways?

holiday-party-champagneEven this picture makes you feel festive, right?

Have you ever thought about why we all love holiday parties?

Life can be crazy.

Work can be the busiest it has ever been.

But, well, something magical happens the day of the holiday party- it seems like no one has a care in the world… at least for that day.

It’s actually quite refreshing with all of the pressure surrounding this time of year!

So, whether at your holiday party (or if you’re virtual like us, your holiday videoconference!) remember to take some time to celebrate.

You deserve it!

Cheers to a fabulous end to 2014, and making 2015 an even better year!

Keeping Your Cool

relax-on-the-beachI know… the picture almost makes you cringe.

Maybe it’s because you are experiencing the cold of winter and you can’t even remember what 50 degrees feels like.

But more likely it’s because of all the impeding deadlines you just realized you need to complete in the next 26 days. I know… I feel the pressure too.

Maybe it is a big project? Or two or three…? Or all those sales goals you are expected to make during the holidays? Or figuring out how to pitch to the last big client you are hoping to land before the end of the year?

How do you keep your cool and relax during it all?

These three suggestions given by Forbes are a great place to start. Particularly insightful, especially for this time of year, is the point that a lot of times stress is not one big event but rather lots of little events that built up over time.

During the month of December when there are holidays, family gatherings, work celebrations, and days off- all of the little things that need to get done can add up rather quickly. Recognizing each pressure and creating lists and goals are a great way to prioritize your daily needs (both personal and professional).

Hang in there!

Forming, Norming, and Storming

10:00AM: Your team meeting is scheduled to start.

You look down at your watch. It feels like the second hand is moving so quickly – precious seconds you could be using to respond to emails and finish that presentation seem to sprint away.

10:05AM: Everyone else on your team is with you in the conference room except for one person.

You know, that one person on your team who is ALWAYS late to meetings. You don’t like to put people in a box, but seriously – they are always late. And you can tell the team is just as annoyed about the situation as you are.

10:10AM: The late (and flustered) team member sprints into the conference room, ruffles through their papers to get the clean sheet out and pen ready for the meeting that was scheduled to start 10 minutes ago.

ARGH! How do you handle situations like this? Or even deeper rooted aspects of conflict?

We asked Coach Helen Cooper, with over 20 years of experience in coaching leaders of large companies and start ups, about conflict management in teams.

Here is what she had to say:

Helen Cooper- BlogTeams go through a normal formation cycle of forming, norming and storming. To minimize the ‘storming’ (the conflict), ‘norming’ is VERY important.

Engage as a team to really talk through and agree on team values. As a leader, you must be willing to facilitate and work with (collaborate!) the team… not dictate.

This creates a safe way for the team to talk through the specific behaviors required for success and to not put individual team members on the defensive.

An example of a team value might be, ‘we will listen to each other and not talk about each other.’ The value of listening to each other could help the team to talk through this behavior and ask ‘why’. Then, that individual has a chance to explain why.

Another value could be that when issues surface the team can’t successfully resolve among themselves (the example of being late), the team can expect the team leader to intervene and resolve these behavioral issues on behalf of the team.

So, after the conflict has resolved what do you look at next?

The ‘now what’ implies that the team continues to mature. If assignments change or the team scales, the cycle of team development of norming, forming, storming will repeat.

Teams must continually work on their team evolution when environments change. Time is required to discuss not just ‘what’ the team must deliver but also ‘how’ they are going to continue working together.

Take a look at your team this week. Is your team currently forming, norming, or storming?

Also, think about if your team has established “norms” for team behavior. If not, look at scheduling a meeting to talk through some of these things.

It may help you to navigate the storm that will eventually come!