I had a facinating discussion yesterday with a business friend on my observation that “Business teams are working hard at staying still”.
Teams standing still to survive
I suggested to him that, in the current economic climate, a majority of business teams had stopped evolving and developing new ideas. It seems that many businesses are afraid of the future and of spending money that may be needed for some unsepecified reason. The result is that teams have stopped evolving new ideas, improvements in process and new projects. They are standing still in the hope of surviving.
The problem is that doing nothing is NOT a survival strategy. Let me give the example that I gave my friend. The fewest number of business bankruptcies within the EU seems to be in Greece, Portugal and Spain. Countries where innovation and development and new business is at an all time low. The reason is that few businesses are being opened, fewer initiatives being created and a stagnation in entrepreneurial activity.
In Sweden and Norway, on the other hand, business failure is as high as ever…but then the number of businesses being opened and business success is also high. The proportion of success, however, vastly outsrips the failures. In the Uk the business teams that I’m working with have an energy that is developing new ideas, bringing in greater results and profits.
Formula for acceleration
It strikes me that the formula for mass and acceleration is applicable here: That being F=mA (F=Mass X acceleartion called a newton).
Replace F(Mass) For T (Team) and multiply it with ideas, innovation and experimentation and you can only end up with acceleration
My thirteen years of working with teams to make them more effective and profitable has taught me to never “count one’s chickens” as far as agreed team actions are concerned.
The Greek Prime Minister’s decision to announce a referendum on the aid package to solve its debt crisis demonstrates that very effectively. Too often I’ve been asked to help a situation where everyone thinks they’ve come to an agreement only to find that someone has changed their mind. It leaves everyone stunned, perplexed, angry or open mouthed. So I would have loved to have been the fly on the wall in Angela Merkel’s office in Germany when the news broke of the Greek announcement, I bet the air was blue!
Often happens in Board Rooms
But then I’ve seen it happen so often. Team agreements, Board Room discussion or Partnership meeting often agree a course of action and almost immediately afterwards someone changes their mind and does the exact opposite! For some it’s a game, for others it’s “Playing politics”
However, it generally happens when one person has been bullied into an agreement. Often it’s only after the meeting that the individual feels brave enough or angry enough to make a U-turn.
How to prevent it
- When you think you are helping an individual or team don’t assume you’re giving them “a gift” and that they’ll thank you for it
- Don’t bully people into a corner where they are obviously at a disadvantage and then assume that you have agreement.
- Secondly, provide the “loser” with lots of reassurance after the agreement that they’ve made the correct decision.
- Finally, provide support to take action that makes the individual “look good” to their team and to those being affected.