Category Archives: connection

Positivity and Collaboration

In Barbara Frederickson’s book, Positivity, she talks about her wonderful collaboration with Marcial Losada. Building on Frederickson’s broaden-and-build theory, Losada’s mathematical model determined exact ratio of positive to negative emotions, 3-to-1, that distinguishes those who flourish from those who don’t.

Losada had an ordinary looking boardroom with walls made of one-way mirrors, video cameras, and special computers which they provided to intact business teams. Research assistants coded every single statement made by every single team member during the business meetings they observed. They tracked whether the statements were 1) positive or negative, 2) self-focused or other-focused, and 3) based on asking questions (inquiry) or defending a point of view (advocacy).

Of 60 teams that were studied, 25% met the criteria of high-performing. They achieved high scores on profitability, customer satisfaction ratings and evaluations by superiors, peers and subordinates. 30% scored low on all three business indicators and were floundering. The rest, the majority, had a mixed profile, doing well in some ways and poorly in others.

photo by tbone_sandwich

Losada also quantified a new variability called Connectivity – how much each team member influenced the behavior of the others, how attuned they were to each other.

There were huge positivity ratio differences between the different types of teams: high-performing were at about 6 to 1, mixed-performance at 2 to 1 and low performance were well below 1 to 1. High-performing teams also had higher connectivity and were equal in the balance of inquiry vs. advocacy and outward vs. inward focus. Low-performing teams were low on connectivity and showed almost no outward focus.

So how can you use this data to improve your collaborations? Comment with your ideas and check back to read some practical steps for fostering positivity and collaboration in your teams.

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Get Things Done: 4 Ways to Collaborate for Accountability-Part 4

Get-It-Done Days

The last three posts explored some ways to collaborate with people to get things done. But what if you’re not ready for an ongoing commitment? And what about those pesky things that have been hanging over your head for a long time? For me, these are usually things like taxes, cleaning up and organizing physical space.

Create a Get-It-Done day. Thomas Leonard, one of the pioneers of the coaching profession, used to hold days periodically where people would check in by phone on the hour, state their goal for the next hour and then call back to report progress and set a new one-hour goal.

I’ve done this with small groups of friends to great success. It really helps you to notice when you get distracted and to focus back on your current goal. And it allows you to chunk a huge task into one-hour steps so it doesn’t seem overwhelming.

Try some of these methods and create a community of support and structure –especially if you work from home and miss the camaraderie and support of an office-mates. Collaborate and get it done!

Get Things Done: 4 Ways to Collaborate for Accountability-Part 3

In addition to accountability partners for procrastination-prone activities a mastermind group provides a different kind of support.

Master Mind Groups

Master Mind groups are made up of about three to eight people who set a schedule to meet in person or by phone and come prepared to discuss needs and goals. Like coaching, this commitment forces you to set aside some time to work on those important but not urgent projects.

Each person reports on their individual goals, progress and sticking points. Sometimes a common goal will emerge which may lead the group to bring in a speaker or other form of information and learning.

Members brainstorm for each other. Best of all, they act as mirrors, helping each individual to acknowledge their progress and strengths as well as pointing out unproductive patterns.

I’ve found that these groups are very engaging and productive. Some of my masterminds have continued for years, some for just a few months. Even when the group has run its course, the members usually become long-time friends.

Who would you choose for a master mind group? Collaborate and get it done!

Tune in tomorrow for the last in this series for beating procrastination!

Get Things Done: 4 Ways to Collaborate for Accountability-Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about overcoming procrastination by collaborating with others on a joint project. You can also banish procrastination by collaborating on individual goals.

Accountability Partners

Last year, my friend Karen was in her own office writing her book for non-profit executives while I worked on my writing about collaboration. We’d start our sessions with a five-minute phone call to connect to our purpose and state our goal: “Today I’m writing this book because I want to help non-profit leaders be as effective as possible so they can accomplish their important work. I’ll be working on chapter 4.” We check back five minutes before the end of the session to report on our progress.

A few weeks ago I had a “work-date” with Natalie to stay focused on developing new material on our respective speaking topics.

Vickie has an accountability partner for making sales calls. They work for different companies selling different products but that doesn’t matter. They check in, state their goals and check back to report progress. Vickie also finds that biscotti rewards are motivating.

Marshall Goldsmith, author of What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, talks about his accountability partner for healthy habits. They check in daily to report on fitness and healthy eating goals. Those short calls help Marshall to make the effort to find a gym and exercise even when he is traveling.

What do you need support with? Collaborate and get it done!

Tune in tomorrow for a third method to beat procrastination!

Habit of Gratitude Part 4

Thanksgiving Day Traditions

For some, Thanksgiving Day is far removed from the idea of giving gratitude. If old traditions have fallen by the wayside or if family time is stressful, it can be especially easy to overlook the point of the celebration. Many have created new traditions that serve them better. Some volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinners at homeless shelters or deliver them to those who are homebound. If you have a traditional dinner with family, consider asking each person to spend a minute or two describing the things that have happened during the year that they are particularly thankful for. Create a new tradition that works for you.

by Edsel L

Enhance positivity through meetings

Many of my business clients report that an average day is spent going from meeting to meeting.  Some would say that half of their life is spent attending, conducting,  preparing or following up from meetings.   It would therefore seem sensible to assume that if you want to build more positivity in your  workplace, a good place to focus would be in the way meetings are conducted.

In our last blog post, we reported research that linked positivity in a team with the incidence of positive statements made, the degree that the statements are about others and the amount of questions that are exchanged among group members. Here are some tips that may help you put this into action during the meetings you lead.

Meetings can enhance positivity.

1.  Open each meeting asking for recent accomplishments.  “What has happened that you feel good about and want others on the team to know?” In my experience this type of question elicits the telling of stories that help to build a group’s sense of success.

2.  Have a standing agenda item – “Way to go!”.  Ask for people to share personal compliments for others who have demonstrated collaboration or some other high-priority behavior.  In a local medical-surgical nursing unit, this tip is being used to increase the level of coordinated care provided to patients. Compliments help to remind us of our strengths and create stronger relationships with others.

3.  Periodically, use a portion of a meeting for everyone to have 5-10 minutes to check in with every other member.  These “Check Ins” can be structured to cover a specific set of questions aimed at increasing connectivity and positive regard:  What is going well in our relationship? What strengths have I noticed you exhibiting?  What can we create that will enhance our effectiveness?

In future posts we will be offering tips about how to increase inquiry in your teams.  What can you share to get us started?

Maddie Hunter

Ready to Get IT Done? Collaborate!

What is IT for you? Is it a messy, disorganized office or closet? You know, the kind that slows you down every day because you have to search for things.

photo by Alan Cleaver

Or perhaps you’ve resolved, once again, to get your taxes done before April! Or you need to make sales calls or write blog posts. Most of us have an IT and whatever IT is, you’re more likely to complete it if you are accountable to others.

If you’d like to join me in this effort, set aside Friday March 18 and/or Saturday March 19 from 10 AM to 3 PM MST (or whatever portion of that time that works for you). Each hour we’ll check in by phone and announce our desired goal for the next hour as well as our progress during the previous hour. Just send an email to Coach at ExnerAssociates.com,  commit to a window of time and mark it on your calendar.

photo by Joseph Erlewein

Think you can do it on your own rather than give up a Friday or Saturday? Terrific! You have almost 3 weeks to prove it to yourself.

Either way, here’s a great article on Using Enjoyment as a Tool to Reach Goals that will help us to increase our success. I discovered LucReid.com while searching for research to correct the oft-repeated, but incorrect, claim that “it takes 21 (or 28) days to make a habit.” It would be nice but unfortunately it’s not true. Happily, I found what I was looking for along with a treasure trove of articles on self-motivation. Enjoy!