Today’s information technology landscape is complex; rapid advances in technology create significant challenges for many organizations trying to scale and generate revenue. How do you effectively prioritize IT efforts with employee development and the ongoing demands of cyber security?
Arrieda has developed a FUSION approach that includes sound and practiced business processes combined with employee development to enhance your team’s effectiveness and overall value. This is accomplished through the triple threat: ENVIRONMENT, EMPOWERMENT and EXECUTION – the E3.
Triple Threat – The definition of a triple threat is a person in a particular field who exhibits three skills that are necessary to excel.
Let’s talk basketball. When a player first learns to play, he is taught the concept of the Triple Threat. This is when the player holds the basketball at the hip, right or left, with one foot slightly in front of the other in an athletic stance. It is called a triple threat because the player can do three different things from this position – Pass, Shoot or Dribble.
The player has fundamental skills in these three actions. He is coached in plays to execute. But in that moment when the ball is in his hands, he has to execute – Pass, Shoot or Dribble – and must decide and take action quickly. This decision impacts the team and the outcome – winning or losing.
Organizations hire skilled individuals and develop these individuals through ongoing training. Your staff knows how to “Pass, Shoot or Dribble” when it comes to their job or role. On January 22, 2006, basketball star Kobe Bryant scored 81 points in a 122–104 victory over the Toronto Raptors. This type of individual success comes only once or twice in a generation. The rest of us mere mortals must rely on the entire team for success.
Team – standing each up in support of each other. Two things can impact your team: Environment and Empowerment. When we begin with these basics, we accelerate the team’s success and provide a solid foundation for successful Execution.
Like basketball players, your team needs agility, collaboration and awareness to be their best.
Agility — The ability for an organization or team to think and understand quickly and to respond accurately to change. Agility must include the authority to act. We must knock down disruptors and distractions such as antiquated processes, hierarchical control, and sometimes, physical walls within the environment.
Collaboration — This is about asking questions, sharing information and challenging ideas; however, progressis essential. Value is added when we do not simply criticize but rather when we provide a method to achieve success. None of us is Kobe Bryant. We are part of a team and must work as a team. When we are not included or are blocked from participation then we have, in essence, benched our players.
Awareness — This is the knowledge or perception of situations or facts; an understanding, allowing teams to make the right decisions. When the player is in the triple threat position he needs to make a decision. To do so successfully, the player (team member) needs to know where his fellow players (team, leadership and company/organization) are on the court; the play being executed (direction and goals); the time left on the shot clock (vision, timelines and requirements); and the defensive stance of your opponent (roadblocks and disruptors). The team’s value is in the ability to define what work needs to be done, not just execute tasks. Leadership also needs to be able to do the same.
The environment is not just physical but it is also the mindset of the team or organization. If we cannot physically knock down the walls, we must at least establish a mindset that incorporates agility, collaboration and awareness. The team is now performing ‘in the zone.’
Empowerment is not abandonment. Empowerment is organization wide. It must include trust, focus and clarity by all parties. Remember, the player in the triple threat decides to pass, shoot or dribble based on gathered information. Leadership must trust the player (team member or team) to make the right choice because they have been provided focus and clarity of action.
To understand focus and clarity, teams need to undergo continuous improvement through development along with team enablement and enlightenment through the removal of environmental disruptors.
Empowerment is a team activity. The more value you put into your team members, the more value you gain in your output. When team members participate in open practices, they understand what they are doing, why they are doing it, and are allowed to provide feedback and insight and to participate throughout the entire process. When we work in arbitrary groupings, we lose the full team’s knowledge and insight. By not allowing those who have something to contribute or excluding team members in arbitrary meeting membership, we stifle progress. A basketball team can play only five players at a time; an organization can play the entire team.
Continuous growth and development sets the stage for success. This is achieved through developing the leaders and influencers in your organization. It is critical to make sure you are developing leadership at all levels to support the empowered culture of agility.
An empowered culture leads to successful execution and accelerates a team’s success. There are “Seven Traits” of an empowered culture executing successfully:
1. Support vs. report – Team members provide feedback and insight to support the goals rather than giving critical feedback with no options. Teams and leaders share ownership and responsibility.
2. Failure is the true sign of progress – No team is successful 100% of the time. If a team never fails, they are not innovating, challenging convention or moving forward. When we establish gates within a process (peer review, testing, dev ops, etc.) failure is caught and remediated while moving toward success.
3. Questioning is expected behavior; up and down the organization – Asking questions is not a challenge to the information presented, but rather a method to clarify information to gain better understanding. Leadership needs to ask questions regarding all status to best understand the methodology used to establish status. Relevant answers to questions show understanding. Unclear or wrong answers or inability to answer are signs of disruption. Leaders need to dig further. When we do not allow or expect open feedback from our teams, we cannot expect to produce anything of quality.
4. Communication – NO confusion between meetings and group collaboration. When we time box in X number of minutes and limit the number of participants, we cannot expect true conversation. Meetings have their place but group collaboration – open and frequent discussion on status and ideas – allows for a more high-performing culture.
5. Trust, Focus and Clarity – Leadership needs to trust the team’s ability and empower them to take action. Teams need to focus and stay true to the goal. Clarity comes from open communication. Individuals step up to lead rather than criticize. All of this is accomplished through an environment of transparency.
6. Nothing is personal; respect is assumed and required – This can be the toughest challenge. We must respect the individual as well as the individual’s ideas. The team must always agree to listen, make decisions and move forward. There should be no drama in a team.
7. Security – Ongoing security requirements can drag down productivity in any organization. Teams get frustrated with security controls that seem like a moving target. Your organization must adapt its current practices to make security an operational habit; ensuring the ongoing activities necessary to keep your business compliant, while reducing the friction that causes delays and increased costs.
With the forced change to remote work, leadership no longer works adjacent to their team and observes them at work. It is essential for leaders to transform their approach to develop a high-performing team.
If this interests you and you want to learn more, reach out to Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.