Creating and sustaining inclusive cultural norms is particularly important for diverse and dispersed teams. Inclusive leaders initiate the development of such norms and ensure they are practiced, calibrated and sustained as the underpinning of high performance. Accelerating this development is critical in a performance context that requires teamwork and collaboration to occur quickly and responsively to changing conditions.
Inclusive leaders deliberately apply Accelerated Teaming™ (AT), a 5-step process to expedite the norming process and calibrate the cultural foundations of individual and collective performance. It also develops in team members the mindset and habits to effectively team and collaborate in a global and diverse organization.
The Five Steps of Accelerated Teaming ©
Step 1: Creating agency
In this step we create buy-in to the process and allow team members the opportunity to discover and acknowledge the need to accelerate the formation of inclusive team norms. They need to visualize the path for the team, and how this path will help each team member achieve their shared purpose. This lays the foundation for their engagement and willingness to commit time and headspace to the process.
Step 2: Teamscaping
In this step we engage all team members to identify and explore critical differences and similarities that impact teaming behaviors and processes. This process is done through live mapping across four Teamscapes. Each provides an easy framework that highlights the following critical cultural aspects of teaming:
- How team members relate to one another
- How team members engage resources
- How team members make sense of challenges
- How team members determine actions
This activity provides a visual representation of dispersion patterns for the team and identifies root cultural underpinnings of real or potential disconnects and disturbances within the team. These specific Teamscapes form the inputs necessary to work towards establishing new and inclusive team norms in step 3.
Step 3: Transformative Dialogue
In this step we draw out the experiences of team members, clarifying the cause of the dissonance, addressing or preempting conflicts and identifying potential efficiencies, synergies, and performance gains.
This step requires an open and non-judgmental environment conducive to exploration and creation of a shared understanding among members. Upon this foundation the dialogue switches from a retrospective focus to a planning focus. At this point the team starts to discuss the macro norms that will work to be both inclusive of the diversity that already exists within the team, while creating cohesion and higher state of collaboration and communication. As a result, team members are not only aligned to a new vision of how the team will work (a macro-scheme), but recognize specific changes in individual and collective attitudes, behaviors, habits and routines that optimize performance.
Essentially the transformative dialogue phase produces a hypothesis of what would create higher levels of engagement, collaboration and production. Like any hypothesis, it needs to be tested and validated in practice, which is the focus of step 4.
Step 4: Prototyping the Culture
In this step, we aid in transferring the macro scheme into the micro-schemes of day-to-day habits and routines, including behaviors, norms and artifacts. Often times, even with the best of intentions, it is very easy to slip back into old and “easy” behaviors. The transition that occurs in this step is conscientious and collective and is crafted to reduce the danger of reverting to previous behaviors and patterns. In addition to your role-modeling effort, you must make time to learn new habits and routines together through review, feedback, experimentation and practice. Regular peer-coaching and mentoring opportunities embedded within this phase will create a high level of success, ensure people feel supported in the process, and develop shared competencies.
Step 5: Team Calibration
In this step we engage the group in the refinement and adjustment of the team’s new culture. It is essential that feedback loops are established which allow the team to measure how they are performing against defined indicators. In addition to the very specific indicators, we aim to provide the foundation for open forum-type opportunities for members of the team to engage in further dialogue and discussion to continually refine the norms and behaviors both on a macro and micro scale. A key concern is that the team must not become too insular throughout this process. It is essential for participants to attune to external stakeholders; be that clients or collaborators. In addition, we prepare participants to be aligned with the volatility and restlessness of the external environment.