Service Objectives

470658797The following list represents the Key Service Objectives (KSO) for the Appleton Greene Collaborative Teaming service.

  1. Leadership Development
    All leadership begins with self leadership, which points to knowing one’s highest values both personal and professional. Only when a leader knows what she or he stands for, can they begin to prioritize objectives and lead others. We share tools with clients like the eight elements of a 360 Leadership tool which measures communication skills, decision-making, delegation, emotional intelligence, managing change, setting goals, team building, and visualizing the future. Depending on the level of experience of the leader, other tools may be drawn upon. Some are Lencioni’s 5 functions of a healthy team and Legacy Leadership competencies which look at other pillars of leadership: inspiring innovation through storytelling, and leading diversity and inclusion by being a role model for that, for example. There is not a one-size approach; each client comes with different levels of experience, different strengths and different challenges, so our approach is somewhat customized to client needs in the moment. We share the research Gallup undertook with 10,000 followers to illustrate how the leaders’ signature strengths (their top 10) can fulfill the four primary needs of followers: trust, stability, compassion, and hope. Leaders are asked to practice the art and skill of aligning team action with the purpose of the team and mission of the organization, while considering the needs of absent stakeholders. The concept of shared leadership invites responsibility and accountability for objectives the team takes on. This ensures each member of the team knows they are expected to deliver on results and collaborate with each other if any member is in need of assistance to meet the objectives. Like a team sport in the Olympics, they win or lose as a cohesive unit designed to be collaborative, supportive and interdependent. The most effective leaders and their teams create value for their multiple stakeholders: clients, customers, shareholders, their communities, organizations and each other. They carry a sense of responsibility for best outcomes individually and collectively.
  2. Maximize Talent
    Recent Deloitte research shows that leading multigenerational workforces is important to success, and learned these groups are fairly aligned in common desires. They are interested in developing talent to full potential. They want synergy between natural abilities, strengths and their role fit. They want a clear connection between daily work and the mission of the organization. People flourish with access to coaching and mentoring. When leaders and teams learn to be coach-like with each other and new employees have access to a more seasoned mentor, performance is enhanced from the beginning. Understanding each others’ natural strengths lets employees cross-partner within and outside their teams to cover possible areas of weakness or blindspots, which we all have. Gallup research shows 10% or fewer managers currently are well suited for that role, accounting for a large percentage of turnover. By studying over 1.5 million managers over the last few decades, Gallup learned the most successful have these traits or strengths in common: They invest in relationships and people, they are willing to listen more, (80% listening, 20% talking) they advocate for employees, they show an interest in employees’ development and in their personal lives, creating stronger connections. Additionally, they create a culture of accountability, share a vision for the future that inspires motivation and coach employees toward stretch assignments. They create trust with willingness to be transparent about where the team and organization are headed, and share their own successes and failures. The best managers check in rather than check up, frequently. Performance, engagement, and retention all rise when managers have frequent, short check-in conversations with followers. They don’t wait for six month or annual reviews to talk about how objectives are being met. There are no big surprises during reviews because things have been addressed as they happen. The Human Capital Institute suggests six best practices that close the talent gap. They include partnerships with local colleges and high schools, hiring with development in mind, focusing more on placing employees that have a growth mindset and willingness to adapt. Onboarding includes investing in the new employee their relationship with the organization, using subject matter rotation to learn different elements of their new role, mentoring, coaching and other high touch care that sets the new employee up for success. A multi-pronged approach to development and learning, like job shadowing, rotation, mentoring and coaching are recommended. Number five encourages collaboration in training with other organizations that do similar work. Lastly, they advocate making the most of the more senior talent in your organization by giving them incentives to teach, share knowledge, provide mentoring so their collective knowledge is passed to the next generation. We use Gallup’s Q12 Engagement Survey, which measures 12 specific factors that have proven to be linked to employee engagement. We have learned that when people operate in their A+ zone, where energy and performance are both high for them and for those around them, satisfaction and results are more sustainable.
  3. Workforce Resilience
    According to the American Psychological Association (APA) resilience is defined as the process of adapting well in the face of trauma or tragedy, threats or other significant sources of stress. We have learned that in order for a workforce to be sustainably high performing, each part, every person requires resilience strategies that work for them. Any of these may contribute to strength, wellbeing and the ability to bounce back quickly. When people are aligned with the organizational vision and mission and clearly see the connection between that and their own sense of purpose and meaning in their work, that becomes both a foundation and guiding star. One of the first checkpoints we use, therefore, is role fit. We also know that people are more emotionally at ease and have access to their best thinking when there is a strong sense of psychological safety. They know they can be themselves, they have permission to experiment and fail without being ridiculed. Employees experience this to a greater degree when they are acknowledged for their unique strengths and contributions. We are most healthy, happy and resilient when there is a balance between work and life and our workplace provides adequate flexility to tend to both. Health and wellness breaks are crucial to resilience. We know that long periods of sitting without taking adequate breaks for movement, stretching and hydration puts stress on the body and can lead to injury. The attitude of the leaders in an organization or team have a big influence over whether other members take care of their own mental and physical well being. Leaders and managers are to lead by example what it means to have balance, to take care of one’s health both emotionally and physically. Micro learning and reminders around wellness practices like deep breathing, yoga stretches, reflective writing, for example are encouraged. Positive psychology provides guidelines for emotional tone in creating mental and emotional strength and resilience. They suggest a consistent intent toward looking at opportunity and optimism in every challenge by carefully choosing language that inspires hope and engenders trust. When leaders and managers act and speak with integrity, employees and other stakeholders respond in kind. We learned during the extended period of remote working that personal connection is deeply significant to employees’ mental wellbeing, feeling part of the team, the organization and feeling cared about. Frequent connection creates a sense of hopeful buoyancy and knowing they matter, which all of us require to be at our best.
  4. Effective Teams
    The most effective teams hit their objectives and create maximum value for and with their various stakeholders. They begin with a clear charter for why the they’ve come together—their purpose—and how they choose to be together in service of the purpose they commit to. They put trust in themselves and each other as the foundation they stand on. There are clear and measurable objectives and timelines. Each objective is supported with commitment from team members who share accountability and responsibility for moving forward at an agreed-upon pace. Ideally, team members have taken a Clifton Strengths® assessment and know their own and each others’ areas of top strength. This enables them to collaborate in a way that allows for maximum time in the A+ Zone, where energy and performance are both high for them and those around them. It also provides a way for members to help mitigate effects of weaker areas or blindspots, which we all have. Since trust and understanding are high, the members welcome robust discussion and are not shut down by differing opinions. One tool used is the Strategic Interdependence Model®, which helps eliminate or diffuse the inevitable drama that arises in teams. There is a commitment to excellence and delivering on shared objectives. Communication flows with ease, because the team has chosen a primary means of communicating with each other and sharing information at the beginning of their time together. Additionally, they have worked out the most effective and productive ways to conduct meetings, so there are few surprises around how they make progress and check in with each other. Since each team is different with multiple personalities and levels of experience, approaches will be customized with them. Some of the tools and practices include systemic team coaching, based on the work of Peter Hawkins, Patrick Lencioni’s model of five functions of a healthy team.
  5. Systemic Calibration
    Every team is a constantly shifting, complex system nested within other changing complex systems who all need to work together to achieve broad understanding and mutual objectives. The systemic leader manages the relationships between these systems. They are not distracted by surface tension, but instead look underneath, to core issues that might prove to represent a bigger challenge if not calibrated regularly. By stepping back to consider the needs and possible contributions of each of those systems, leaders and their teams gain the benefit of multiple informed perspectives. Relationships within and between these stakeholder groups are examined, and any necessary adjustments made. We look at the team in relationship to the overall organization and its overarching mission. We explore the relationship between this team and its members to the senior leadership team, or C-level leaders. Sometimes those leaders operate as a cohesive team, and more often they operate independently, which is part of why there is a system breakdown. We ask, “How well does each leader understand the objectives, challenges and top priorities of the rest of that group? What does each need and what are the spoken and unspoken expectations each holds of the others?” We also look at this team and its relationship to shareholders. If they were in the room, what would their needs be? We look at the team and its relationship to the end user, client or customer. What are the top priorities and concerns of that stakeholder group? We expand outward to the vendor and supplier stakeholder group. How is their point of view different and how can it inform our priorities and decisions? Then we expand the view again to include the local community and its stakeholders, then the state, the country and the eco system we all share as a global community. What is required of us to meet the needs of the present and future which brings new challenges and demands continuously? By considering the input of each of these systems, we position the team we are working with to see the bigger system or picture, giving them useful information with which to prioritize and make well-considered decisions that affect many. The question they are always answering is, “How can we consider multiple perspectives, to be fit and prepared for a future that always gets here before we see it coming. Who do we need to become in order to do that?”.