Deep: a football team is five points back in a crucial game. Seconds
on the clock. Nothing short of a heroic effort is worth attempting.
No turning back. All or nothing. "Go deep" the quarterback
says to his favourite receiver. Thousands hold their breath as though
breathing would blow the ball off course. It's the old "Hail
Mary" pass. You throw this one with your heart not your hand.
Ours is a crucial game too. There is not much time. We've got to go deep. This
is not the time for political game-playing. Not the time for superficial connections.
The stakes are too high. The opportunity too brief.
Senior executive teams across the country and in every industry
are meeting as you read this. Their intention is to call the
next play for their organization.
Some of these teams have been working together for years, making one crucial
decision after another. The question I want to raise is this. "At what
depth do these teams connect?" My repeated observation is that many leadership
teams operate on a relatively shallow level - a transient and fragmented level
that requires interaction only on a political and intellectual basis. It is
a relationship built on data and business cases.
"What's wrong with that?" someone will ask. Frankly, it's not that
there's something wrong with it - it's just that so much more is available. Operating
from a data base is even essential. Just remember where data comes from. All
data comes from yesterday. There are no facts about tomorrow. To deal with tomorrow
you have only faith. Faith, in turn, requires a different depth of connectedness.
Consequently, if the leadership team's job is to take the organization into tomorrow,
it must, by definition, have a deeper kind of relationship.
Going deep means that team members also connect on emotional and spiritual
levels. It's a meeting of hearts not just heads. Here are a few of the questions
that will help open this door for your team:
Do we really know each other on this team? (You will want to
answer "Yes" but
it is rarely so).
When we meet, is the whole greater than the sum of its parts? (Something magical
should happen when you are all together).
Are we truly unhindered in communicating our real thoughts and feelings in
the context of the team? (Typically two-thirds of what we think and feel is
held back from the group.)
Does most of our intimate, in-depth communication happen outside the team in
one on one conversations? (While this seems laudable at first it is actually
a sign that the team has not made an in-depth connection.)
Do we have regular discussions about our team itselfabout
our individual and corporate behaviour; about our expectations
of each other; about how we
are developing? (Most teams spend 99% of the time talking about the business
and thus avoid talking about themselves.)
When the team learns to connect on this deeper level it begins to experience
an amazing degree of freedom, creativity, and productivity. Energy once spent
on guarding and positioning is now spent on progressing into tomorrow. That's
how the game is won. GO DEEP!
The following quotation must
be printed at the conclusion of each reprinted article:
"Copyright The Ian Percy Corporation."
Ian Percy is one of North America's most inspirational speakers.
Ian Percy is an international
speaker and consultant and can be reached at www.ianpercy.com