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Launches and Relaunches of Teams
22.04.2021 18:02 | McKinsey Author Talks

Professor Tsedal Neeley interviewed in McKinsey´s “Author Talks” -series tells that:

Launches and relaunches have long been established by pioneering sociologists as the way to start a team in the most effective way. Richard Hackman was a Harvard sociologist who studied teams in all forms, in all contexts, for about 40 years and concluded that when you launch a team the right way—meaning you set it up—you are actually creating the conditions for that team to be effective. In fact, this will increase the likelihood of success for teams by 30 percent, which is significant.

The idea of relaunch is to make sure that we are realigned, focused on our shared goals, very clear about our capabilities, our contributions, our resources, and our constraints; that the norms we had established are still working for us, so that we can revise and update given the dynamic nature of all of our lives; and to ensure that there is psychological safety, as my friend and colleague Amy Edmondson would say, in the work team. I recommend you do this every six to eight weeks or so in a remote team because it’s so easy to get derailed when you’re not co-located.

How do you build trust remotely?

Trust is one of the most studied elements in virtual work. I’m talking about decades worth of work to try to determine the answers to questions such as “How do we establish trust?” “How do we maintain trust?” “What does trust look like when we barely see people in person and don’t have the opportunity to have the watercooler conversations and all the ways that we know we build trust?”
There are two types of trust. The first one is called cognitive trust, which is grounded in the belief and the understanding that others are dependable and have the competencies to be able to collaborate effectively on a common task. The second type of trust is called emotional trust. And it’s grounded in the belief that others have care and concern for us.
Leaders and managers must ensure that they are developing emotional trust with the people that they’re working with. People need to know that their managers and leaders care about them.
The cognitive trust you can almost confer right away. In virtual work, the term for this is actually swift trust—“Once I know you’ve got the qualifications to do the work, and once I know that you’re dependable, that you’re reliable, I will give you trust and we can get to work.”
But emotional trust takes much longer to develop, requires empathy, self-disclosure, and spending time with people, and it has this big temporal dimension. Time is really important for that second type of trust.

Many people are concerned about the change that remote work might bring to their culture. But the reality is that change has already happened by the sheer fact that we are now operating remotely. And culture means asking “What are our shared values” and “What are our shared norms”—meaning “What are the appropriate behaviors and attitudes that we espouse in our organization?” 


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