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Creating a Project Team that Clicks

I attended the fantastic event hosted by Dr Diane Harner & Frank Donohoe at AIM on 26th May 2017.

Diane spoke about "Impact of cognitive load and uncertainty on your ability to collaborate"

We receive more data today than we have ever, therefore we must filter & assess greater volumes. The problem arises when we take on too much information which leads to cognitive overload, the normal human reaction is to either:

  • Opt out & give up

  • Reduce the amount of information (reduce the distraction)

However, if we find ourselves in constant cognitive overload we reduce the desire to interact at all (stop the information) and can ‘close off’ from the rest of the team.

It’s a VUCA world and change is constant

  • Volatile

  • Uncertain

  • Complex

  • Ambiguous

Our brain is a predictive analytical machine and loves to know what is coming up next, it rewards us when we are right. Living in ambiguity isn’t good for our brains (it must be noted that some people enjoy this modus operandum).

Problem, when you have cognitive overload and uncertainty, how can we get teams to collaborate?

  • Decrease in cognitive overload + increase in certainty & clarity = Enhanced collaboration & performance

  • Where we can we need to be clear about the end game and place the goal posts & sign posts out there.

  • “Communicate everything to everyone except the ‘how’, give your people the freedom to find their way.

  • Celebrate when we see collaborative effort

How to reverse the busy overload?

  • Set the behaviour,

  • take responsibility and model behaviour,

  • Instead of 1 hour meetings, set a 45 min meetings rule & take a brain break in between

  • Don't fool yourself, you can't work 8 or 12 hours straight and be effective and Efficient. Your decision making is severely impaired.

To get people engages in long terms goals is very hard therefore chunk it down.

You can find out more about this by contacting Dr Diane Harner

Frank Donohoe spoke about getting team fit - Insights, tools and support for better team performance.

Quote from Peter Drucker “Your first and foremost job as a leader is to take charge of your own energy and then help to orchestrate the energy of those around you”

  • The first step towards change in behaviours is awareness

  • The second step is acceptance

  • The third is action.

How many leaders do you know go straight to Action?

Avoid the blame game at all costs as once this starts, people will bunker down in tribes.

Engage in productive dialogue and call out the elephant in the room

High performing teams exhibit collaborate and communicate and what you will commonly see in these communications is:

  • Energy - volume and tone are higher, there are shorter sharper exchanges “wow did you see this, this is fabulous”

  • Engagement – if you were to map numbers and frequencies of communications between members of high performing team is an intricate web rather than minimal connections.

  • Exploration – talk with outsiders to your team ad organisations and bring in ideas, share, stir things up

Strategies to address

  • Use feedback to generate awareness and discussion

  • Get up close and personal; - as often as possible, the little things make a bit difference

  • Surveys should be looking in the mirror.

  • If workshops aren’t working then do a 1:1 with members and ask why they think they’re not working?

  • If you’re missing the engagement and buy in of a key stakeholder, then ask them how they can engage them more.

You can find out more by contacting Frank Donohoe

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