Posted 6 years 45 days ago ago by Hugh Ballou 1 Comments
A Tool Kit for Transformational Leaders
Know your craft
The most obvious place and the place that shows the most immediate result of being a Transformational Leader is in the area of choral music. It’s short and simple – the choral director is a Transformational Leader. The choral director takes a collection of unrelated people who sing and transforms the group into a choral ensemble. The effectiveness of this job is immediately measurable and quite evident. Choral directors are evaluated constantly. We are only as good as our last performance. Paintings and sculptures can stay on exhibit eternally, but music disappears. We only have our memories or our recordings to duplicate the experience again.
Understand vocal music if you are a choral person, but not a singer. Learn what good vocal technique is and learn how to teach others. Think about the physical implications of the music you choose and the challenge to your choir in learning and performing the selected anthems or songs. Know how much time it will take to teach the music. Knowing how long it will take to teach the notes is one thing. Getting a group to make music is quite a different challenge. Your influence in teaching the ensemble what that difference is makes the experience transformational. It is the key factor. Any choir can sing notes. Only the exceptional ones make music.
Create a positive learning environment
Our physical surroundings make a significant difference in how we feel. How we feel makes a significant difference in how well we learn. The physical surroundings are comprised of the look and feel of the room, how good the sight lines are, how well everyone can hear him or herself and each other, and how the mood of the rehearsal is positioned. Learning is fun. More can be learned if it is fun. More can be learned if it is clear what is expected and what the current activity is supposed to be. Use visual reinforcement for what is spoken. Professional educators know that we retain 10% of what we hear, 20% of what we see and 60-80% of what we see, hear and do. Music teachers know that adding a kinesthetic element to the learning experience increases the learning experience.
Set the standard
In his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
, Patrick Lencioni defines the five dysfunctions as:
1. Absence of Trust
2. Fear of Conflict
3. Lack of Commitment
4. Avoidance of Accountability
5. Inattention to Results
Items #1 and #4 are the most prevalent in church settings, with #5 coming in a close third place. Absence of trust is the team killer! Often, we do not know how to deal with it openly and honestly in the church setting. Many of us feel as though Christians must always be kind and caring; therefore, we do not challenge others when there is evidence of indirect, passive-aggressive, or dishonest behavior. The Transformational Leader must “speak the truth in love” and challenge members of the team when the behaviors occur. Conversely, the Transformational Leader must be willing to respond to similar requests for clarity and declaration of intent.
Building trust and accountability among team members is essential to the success of the team. The process of clarifying these team standards for how members of the team will relate to each other is important. These expectations cannot be assumed. A list of guidelines must be established, made available to every member, and posted for each team gathering. The guidelines are set by the team, modified by the team and clarified by the team – continually. This, in a sense, is a “Covenant Agreement” for the life of the team and/or the team’s project.
It may appear to be a waste of time to define what seems like obvious standards; however, in establishing these standards, some members may find disagreement about others’ accepted standards. In fact, the process of identifying and defining these guidelines will help the team learn new ways to create a safe environment for brainstorming, clarifying, sorting, and eliminating information. The way the team relates, operates, and functions defines how strong it will be and how solid its planning process will be. The process itself builds trust, builds community, and builds momentum. Basically, if the team’s processes are flawed, then the team’s output is likely to be flawed as well.
Deal directly with the issues of trust and accountability. Define what those terms mean in your context and what the expectations will be for those items. Set expectations for following the standards, and set expectations for when they are not followed. This means that each person must feel comfortable enough in the environment to disagree with others. It means that conflicting perspectives must be allowed. It means that members of the team will learn from each other. It means that nobody gets his or her own agenda satisfied, but the group gets their agenda satisfied. It means that consensus is not always agreeing. Consensus is working together to define the group’s opinion.
My thesaurus lists the following words as some synonyms for consensus: agreement, accord, harmony, compromise, and consent. Consensus is possibly a combination of all of those. Make up your team’s own definition, post it, and use it to build synergy.
Over and over again, teams discover new ideas and new freedom as they define their standards. This is an excellent way to learn how team members think and respond to each other. Set a time frame for this discussion and don’t let it continue unnecessarily long. Don’t rush the process, either. Taking time to do this step will save time and aggravation later.
Ensure that everyone in the group has a chance to participate, both in giving input and sorting the results. Take time to ensure that each team member endorses the results.
The Transformational Leader is responsible for making sure that this process is done, posted, and enforced. It will define the path to transform wasted time into productive, energized team productivity.
Systems: Tools and Techniques
Here's a list of Hugh’s 10 tips for Conducting Power-Packed Meetings:
1. Clearly state the purpose for the meeting.
Don’t hold a meeting unless there is a reason. Yes, that is the fundamental rule. Know why you are holding a meeting and tell others why. When people are asked to attend a meeting they want to know what is expected of them and a definition of the expected output of the meeting. Be sure that everyone is reminded of the purpose of the meeting at the beginning of the meeting. Articulate the meeting objectives as clearly stated “deliverables” or some other term that communicates completion of specific objectives. Take time to ensure that everyone understands and has a chance to have their questions addressed.
2. Plan the meeting thoroughly
Begin with the deliverables, that is, know what you want to walk away with at the end of the meeting. Express the deliverables using specific, focused and measurable outcomes. An example could be something like “Identify 5 Killer Strategies for Getting People to Attend Our New Program.” This kind of language would drive your planning process to brainstorm rich content. And then, assign weight to each idea. Finally, sort for the best five strategies. Knowing where you want to end up is a prerequisite for designing how to get there.
When planning the meeting, allow twice the meeting time for your planning process. That is, a one-hour meeting should take about two hours to plan. In order to get the best results a commitment to the best planning is necessary. When planning the time commitment for each meeting item, do not fill up the entire time slot. Only plan for 65% of the available time. Some items will take more time than planned. If the meeting takes less time, then adjourn early. There will be no complaints. Do not fall for the old principle “work expands to fill the time allowed.” Be efficient with your time and respect the time of others!
Outline every part of the meeting in your planning guide. Define how much time it will take to introduce the deliverables and give an overview of the meeting. Define how much time it will take to brainstorm, sort and refine. Do not leave out any part of the process.
Prepare visuals for the meeting. Record the input of the group on chart pads, storyboard cards, white boards or some other media that everyone can constantly review as they make decisions. When making the meeting plans and preparing the visuals, do not fill in all the details of any project if you expect to get group input and ultimately, group buy-in. Let them mold the decisions and be a part of the success of each group decision if, in fact, it is a group item. If it is not a group item, then don’t bring it to the group for input. Define what the “givens” are and where the group has authority to make decisions. Define where the group input is needed and where it is not. Explain the difference.
3. Identify the leader/moderator/facilitator of the meeting
One person must control the flow of the meeting. That’s the simple truth. One person must facilitate to insure that the group stays on task and nobody dominates all the discussions or decisions. The facilitator also ensures that the meeting addresses all the deliverables as promised and involves everyone in the process.
If the facilitator has a preference on any of the items being discussed, then declare that agenda at the beginning. As that item comes up for discussion, then the facilitator must listen more than talk in order to not be perceived as dominating the outcome.
4. Begin and end on time
Know how long the meeting will take, pace the meeting and end on time as promised. Keep faith with the participants. Begin on the exact time specified even if everyone is not present. Do not penalize those who have arrived on time. If you communicate that you are not keeping your word as a leader with something as simple as a starting time, then how will your work be trusted in more important matters.
Assign a priority for items on the agenda. Know which items to drop or postpone if the meeting is more complex than expected and begins to take longer than planned. Planning for 65% of the meeting time allows for some items to expand for extra discussion, if needed.
5. Design ways to prompt input from each attendee
If people have been invited to a meeting, then expect them to participate. Participating will validate each person’s worth to the process and ultimately to the outcome giving each person ownership. Not everyone will feel comfortable in contributing to the discussion. Find ways to prompt input from those who will not easily participate. For example, during a brainstorming exercise, ask for input from the group in a predictable rotation (left, to right, etc.)
If someone does not contribute ideas, then ask them to comment on the ideas contributed by others. Allow everyone to vote when sorting out multiple ideas or concepts.
6. Create a group list of “norms” for process together
If the group meets on an ongoing basis or on a regular schedule, then it might be a good idea to develop a set of operational guidelines for how the group process works and how decisions will be made. Here is a typical list of a few “norms”:
7. Record the group’s information where all can see
- Everyone contributes
- Attack ideas, not people
- Disagreement is ok, it can even be a creative tool!
- Speak your mind in the group, or not at all
Writing down ideas gives validation to the ideas contributed. A visual record will also remind the group of the data generated keeping it present for making better decisions. Record ideas and concepts exactly as stated. Do not interpret or put in your “two cents worth.” Record first, judge or sort later – this is especially important when the material is sensitive, challenging or complex.
Find a place to record ideas not related to the current discussion. Capture ideas to deal with at an appropriate time and with the appropriate group. Create “parking lot” and “items for future discussion” headers. Place ideas for later in this meeting in the parking lot and ideas for another meeting under the other heading. Deal with each list before adjourning.
8. Review the entire agenda for the session at the beginning
Explain what will happen and when it will happen in this meeting. Help people understand where the meeting is going and how the group will bet there. This will help each participant be fully present for each part of the meeting and to trust the process.
Explain what type of discussion is needed (brainstorming, sorting, etc.) at each point in the meeting and define how those concepts will work. Explain how decisions will be made. If you have defined consensus at the beginning of the meeting, then you could work through all decisions using consensus as a decision-making norm.
Allow time for feedback, discussion and amendments, if appropriate. Sometimes a meeting will progress too fast for some to keep pace with everything. Several opportunities in the meeting should be dedicated to bringing the group together to validate the process, not only the results. Prompting is allowed and even necessary at times to let participants know that it is all right to ask for clarification.
9. Stay in control of the meeting
If a participant hijacks the meeting, take it back, gently. Nobody wants to hear anyone else ramble or give speeches that are unnecessary or lengthy. The facilitator must remain in control of the process and take it back from time to time. This is not impolite. It is merely practical. Know how to intervene without using harsh words or actions. Insure that everyone is on board before moving on the next item.
10. Do not adjourn without setting accountability standards
If actions are needed, assign responsibility and a completion date for each item. Good ideas will only materialize into results when they are a part of an action plan. The action plan consists of the following information:
- Specific task (action item)
- Responsible person
Agree on the next step(s) or next meeting date before ending the meeting. As people are invited to attend the meeting they can be instructed to bring their calendars. This is one reason why. Affirm the participants and their contributions. Review the list of deliverables to validate your success. Celebrate!
Quality of Life: Tools for Balance
Make and keep relationship outside the workplace. Provide a change of pace and change in personalities for balance and variety. Don’t burn out with the same routine with the same people hay after day. Variety and rest will make a leader more productive.
Spiritual and Physical Health
Set and maintain a reading and exercise schedule for mental and spiritual balance an physical health. If a leader is felling good, then they can think more clearly and get more done.
Balance and Wholeness
Schedule reading, planning, rest, spiritual renewal time just like you schedule work. Keep track of your schedule for at least two weeks to see how its working.
Support material can be found at LeadersTransform.com
© 2007, Hugh Ballou © 2011, Creator Magazine All Rights Reserved
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