This week, our curator Laura-Jane Parker reflects on the importance of making time to develop your teams ways of working for greater resilience.
At Post*Shift, our mission is to help organisations transform themselves into 21st century businesses. To do this well, we try our best to practice what we preach. One of the ways we do this is by using our team as a living lab for the future of work, experimenting with new ways of working and testing our early stage hypotheses on ourselves before taking them client-side.
We call this practice of testing, learning and improving, “working on the team” – in contrast to “working in the team”, which is when we are working together to deliver outcomes for clients. We find it hugely valuable work, not only in terms of testing new techniques but also in helping us to find the right combination and iteration of practices that work for our unique team dynamic and skill set allowing us to continually improve the way we work with each other and in turn, the work we produce. This is also crucial work, because every team is different due to their unique structures, cultural norms and leadership style. Therefore just because a technique may have worked for another team elsewhere, does not necessarily mean it will work for us and vice versa.
Of course, many teams take a look at how well they are doing on a regular basis. Both traditional and more modern practices from retrospectives to wash-up meetings and lessons-learned workshops encourage taking some time to review what worked or did not about a particular episode of work. However we have found it is surprisingly rare to find teams that actively look at how fit-for-purpose their ways of working are. It is even rarer to find teams that measure success not just on lagging performance-based indicators, but also through monitoring leading indicators such as customer satisfaction, behavioural attributes, or capabilities on a continual, iterative and ongoing basis. The term fit-for-purpose is key, because it first involves defining what type of team you are striving to be (understanding your team’s “purpose”), and next changing your daily work practices or habits to try and achieve that goal (training to become “fit”) and selecting the appropriate leading indicators to measure improvements.
With our clients, we often teach them to run simple regular Team Fitness Checks, to enable them to monitor their progress within their own teams regularly, in a safe environment. This kind of self-awareness is extremely powerful, not only for the teams themselves, but when coupled with a service-led approach and applied across multiple teams across the organisation, it can lead to continual iteration, innovation and improvement of the interfaces that exist between teams in the business. This all creates a cumulative effect towards building a more adaptive organisation, able to navigate the constant change and complexity found in the digital age.
With this in mind, this week I offer some further reading on building greater resilience and adaptiveness within your teams and wider organisation:
- In order to innovate, teams must be able to create the safe spaces that enable it
- Culture 101: Be Like The Yoghurt
- Learning from one of the most adaptive organisations in the world, Chinese white-goods manufacturer Haier, on its latest shift
- Building resilience can help teams and individuals better adapt for the rise of the robots
- From the P*S Archives: Ways to increase resilience in orgs to weather tough times