Tag Archives: teamwork

Collaborative Agility Case Study

“I think they will hear the message differently if it comes from you,” said my client.

The message she hired me to bring to the leaders in her dispersed healthcare organization — “Effective teamwork can create better results.”

My client is known for living this message herself but at this annual leader retreat she wanted to bring more emphasis to the critical need for her staff to think beyond their location or function to effect the care for patients.

Taking advantage of the premise that the outsider can get away with ideas that insiders can’t, I suggested that we create an interactive format to the retreat where people were working in teams and reflecting on their experience.  This was a significant change over the business-like retreats held in the past and my client wondered aloud  whether her organization would resonate with it or judge the activities to be too game-like.  After all, they all had been quite serious students earning advanced degrees in their specialty.

I could feel my client’s dilemma.  She wanted to spearhead a successful event AND she wanted to ignite some new energy around teamwork.   To her credit, my client decided to jump into the new interactive approach.  The risk she took was a testament to the degree of agility she has as a leader.  She changed an approach for a desired result.  This agility has been labeled,  “Situational Leadership”  by Ken Blanchard and can be further studied in his newest book, Leading At A Higher Level.

Last Wednesday was retreat day.  The assembled group took part in a round robin ice-breaker, “Knot the rope” team exercise and simulations devoted to teaming. The energy in the room was high throughout.  Some of those who my client least expected to be energized by the team-building activities rated the day with high marks.   People typically known to be hesitant in large groups were seen as leading.  Some who usually are out-spoken took leadership from others.  Agility abounded.

When have you purposely placed yourself in a new situation and adapted to it?  When have you delegated a task in order to help someone’s flexibility develop?


Looking thru a collaborative lens

I seem to be experiencing everything in my life these days as a symbol of some aspect of collaboration. It’s like the phenomenon of suddenly noticing all the crimson red Priuses on the road after buying one yourself or not being able to avoid walking side-by-side with pregnant woman when you are going through infertility treatments.

Collaboration as a lens

Whatever I am thinking about seems to show up in my life or at least I find the connection with the help of my creative mind.

Last Friday’s car ride to one of the outer boroughs of New York  offered me yet more evidence of the power of coming together.  My creative writing group friends, Mickey Waring, Jan Margolis and Marcia Holtzman became passengers in my car for our trip to Brooklyn. This was the first of a series of rotating writing group meetings and we were headed towards the home of Donna Rubens.  Our 45 minute ride from Metuchen was full of each of our unique energies.

Jan had her GPS system to augment our printed directions. Jan, the calm, guiding and reassuring one showed us the way from Route 287 to the Staten Island Expressway, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and beyond.  Her eye on our path kept us on target.

Mickey, the first to jump into the front seat with me, brought her open, honest spirit to our midst with her talk of being hungry.  Of course we all in unison felt the need to stop for a bagel in support of Mickey.  The compassion of this group of women towards one anther is unequaled.  Mickey has helped make it safe for all of us to say what we need at any time.

And then there was Marcia.  Her quiet affirmations of my driving skill encouraged me to relax into being the one to carry us on.  In the life of our writing group called WOM – Writers of  Metuchen – Marcia has taught us the importance of highlighting the promise and the positive potential of what we each write.  Our energy as a group grows from this strong foundation.

A simple car ride across 2 boroughs of New York reminds me of some of the key elements that sustain collective efforts.  Clear goals, honest expressions and a positive outlook help strengthen our writing group.  How lucky we are to know one another. It’s no accident that I am co-writing a book on collaboration and I know from trip’s like this one to Brooklyn, the subject had some of it’s birth in  the life I have shared with this group of writers.

Now that I have you thinking about collaboration, what will you notice  around you today?