If you’ve ever taken a class or read a book on team development, you’re probably familiar with Tuckman’s stages of group development: forming, storming, norming, and performing (Smith 2005). According to this model, successful teams move through stages of group development on their way to becoming high performance teams. Within each stage lies both interpersonal and task challenges that the team, guided by the team leader, must effectively manage before moving on to the next stage.Read More
“What are all the possible reasons a basketball coach would call a time out during a game?” I asked. “To change momentum,” says Mary.
“To change up the strategy,” adds Miles.
“To give the players a rest,” yells Tyson.
“Maybe to draw up a special play,” inserts Jason.
“Why else?” I ask.
“To substitute players,” smiles Sandy.
“And why would you want to change-up players?” I ask.Read More
Brian had a lot of influence within the group, but not necessarily in a good way. On the surface, he had it all going on. He was athletic, good looking, and very experienced in the outdoors classroom environment. In fact, there wasn’t an activity we did during the first two days of this ten day Outward Bound program that he hadn’t already done a hundred times before, at least according to him. When we each had to climb the 35-foot power pole and jump off from the top, Brian elected to climb blindfolded, claiming it was just too easy for him to scale the pole with all his faculties intact.
Now it’s one thing to excel in outdoor experiential activities and another thing to alienate your teammates in the process; a feat Brian managed to do equally as well...Read More
I was out running on the trails near my house one warm and sunny Saturday morning. I was feeling good, both physically and mentally. As I looked down the path ahead of me, I noticed another runner coming towards me. As he came upon me, I looked into his eyes and acknowledge him with a nod (a common gesture amongst runners). But the man passed with a scowl on his face, ignoring me as if I was never there. Although not a big deal, I found myself wondering why people seem to be less and less friendly these days. Isn't returning an acknowledgement the polite thing to do? I mean, really, how much effort does it take to nod back?Read More
Christian called the group together. “Gather up everybody. There’s one more thing to take care of before dinner.”
We were all pretty exhausted after having just hiked for the better part of the day with 60-pound packs on. It was the fourth day of a ten-day Outward Bound trip in the Colorado Mountains and nobody was in the mood for another one of Christian’s team building activities.
“We’ve got a problem,” he began before correcting himself. “Actually, you have a problem.”Read More
As I have mentioned before in this series (The Eight Simple Rules to Managing Conflict), the biggest key to effectively resolving conflict is preparation. When we have time to prepare we do much better in resolving conflict than when it is thrust upon us and all we can do is react. When I mediate conflicts, I include a preparation and coaching phase with both parties individually before I ever bring them together. This added phase is critical to a successful mediation, resulting in both parties being prepared, goal-focused, and ready for resolution.Read More
There are two components to every argument/conflict…the conflicting issue (the “what”) and the interpersonal dynamics during the conflict (the “how”). Guess which one is most important? That’s right, the “how.”Read More
I had a love-hate relationship with my old boss. The love part was my incredible respect for this former Olympic gold medalist turned CEO of one of the leading professional development companies in the world. He was one of those people who could make an audience laugh, cry, and get inspired—all at the same time. People always came up to me after one of Terry’s amazing speeches to say how lucky I was to work for this man. I’d smile and say, “I sure am”, knowing I was lying through my teeth. In hindsight it was awfully ironic. Here we were, a company best known for our leadership development programs and materials, and yet we didn’t practice a lick of it within our own company. We were a walking contradiction. Do as we say…not as we do!Read More
“I need a volunteer…Greg?” Wow, that was more like telling than asking, I thought. “Sure Ron, I’d be glad to volunteer."
Ron asked me to stand in front of the group as he approached. I knew he picked me for a reason but wasn’t quite sure why…that is until his hands hit my chest with such force that I stumbled back a couple of steps.
“What are you doing?” I yelled, trying to regain my composure.
“What do you think?” he said, as he wound up again for a second attack.Read More
…In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will drop from above. Tighten the mask by pulling on the straps like this. If you are traveling with a child, place your mask on first before assisting them...
Whenever I hear that part of the flight attendant’s pre-flight spiel, I always smile. I smile because my gut instinct would be to place the mask on a child first—had I not repetitively heard that directive. But I get the idea—save yourself so you can save others!Read More
A colleague of mine said it best: We have a bow and a quiver with five arrows at our disposal at any given time. Each arrow represents one of the five conflict styles. When in a conflict, we need to keep our eye on the bull’s-eye (the desired outcome) and choose the arrow which will get us there most accurately. If we don’t choose an arrow, our default arrow becomes our arrow of choice. The problem is that our default arrow has more to do with familiarity and self-protection than conflict resolution. More often than not, it isn’t our best choice.Read More
From Geese's Eight Simple Rules to Managing Conflict:
Have you ever been cut-off by a driver on the highway and then instantly gave them some feedback?
Have you ever said something to someone that you didn’t mean?
Have you ever misjudged someone only to find out later that you were wrong?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, congratulations! You may not know it but you have already climbed the Ladder of Inference.Read More
n my opinion, we are more effective in conflict when we are prepared, focused on a desired outcome, and have a plan. Granted not all conflicts allow us the luxury to do all three but I would argue that those types of conflict require a much different strategy anyway. Let’s focus on the ongoing difficult relationship first.Read More
“You are about to be assigned to a small group. You will be given a task that will require preparation, planning, coordination, and team work. You need to complete this task and be ready to go in exactly three hours. Is that clear?”
The crowd of more than 100 participants shouted back, “Yes!”
This was day four of a five-day intensive personal growth workshop out in California called Lifespring. I signed up for this program because I was struggling with my career direction at the time and needed a fresh perspective on who I was and where I was headed in my life. Plus, all my New Age friends were big fans of Lifespring and highly encouraged me to attend. Although somewhat skeptical, I was willing to try anything.
The facilitator continued. “Each group will get a unique challenge. Know that the people in your small group are there because you all have something in common.”Read More
“You should join us Wednesday night,” my friend Coy said to me as we were finishing up breakfast. “What’s Wednesday night?” I asked curiously.
“A bunch of guys meet up at Washington Park every Wednesday evening and we walk around the park.” Then he paused for a second. “Actually, we do more than that.”Read More
It was day 3 of a week long outdoor experiential program and we were getting lessons on how to climb straight up a mountain using a belay system. We were a group of ten and each one of us was assigned a captain to oversee the belay crew for our individual climb up the face of the mountain and back down again. None of us had ever belayed before and we were all a little nervous. “Before we begin, I want each of you to pair up with your assigned captains,” shouted Christian, our instructor.
“Now I want each pair to stand facing each other and I want you to look into each others eyes.”Read More
And then my mouth dropped as the title came into view. No way! I exclaimed. Are you kidding me!
Sure enough, the one subject I no longer wanted to read about…the one symbol I never wanted to see again…was right there staring me in the face. The cover depicted a golf ball flying over the fairway, giddy and happy as a golf ball could be.Read More
Have you ever signed up for a workshop and found yourself questioning your decision midway through? I certain have and it’s happened on more than one occasion. The story I’m about to tell you is one of those “I can’t believe I signed up for this!” experiences. An experience, I might add, that had a profound impact on who I am today and how I show up in the presence of others.Read More
Of all the “defining moments” in my life that have helped shape who I am today, nothing was as significant and impactful for me as the story I’m about to tell you.
Following the crowd
My high school counselor looked concerned. “You’re a follower, Greg. You do just enough to get by with little to no ambition. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m worried about you. Tell me again where you’re going to school?”
“Western State,” I said.
“And what was it about Western that attracted you?” he said, anticipating what I was about to say next.
“I don’t know,” I sheepishly responded. “A bunch of guys from the soccer team are going...”
“You see Greg, that’s what I mean. You need to think about what you want to get out of the college experience. Do it for you, not for your friends.”Read More
That’s exactly what he said. And no, I never saw it coming…especially from my own father.
I was student body president my senior year at Western State College. One of the many perks that came with the job was a trip out to the Coors Brewery for a special tour given to all the student body presidents from the various colleges and universities across Colorado. They even flew us in. How cool was that!Read More