Setting the stage for why team development is as important, if not more so, than the bottom line
We are building a high performing, trusting, global, diverse, happy, creative, and constantly evolving Learning and Development (L&D) team at SoftwareONE. Living up to those adjectives is no small task; and it doesn’t just happen. In fact, to make it happen, I’ve been devoting one quarter of my time to building my team – individually and as a group. This team building is just as important as building the general business. In fact, team building is often the most important and most overlooked piece of a leader’s job.
This is due to a few facts:
- Companies spend at least 50% of their money on total compensation
- It takes approximately $30K in resources (software + time) to fully onboard an employee
- When we underutilize our people, miss (or don’t develop) their talents, or when we don’t help them maximize their strengths, creativity, and productivity, we massively impact the business
As leaders we consistently see building our team as less important than building the business and we de-prioritize team building.
I would argue that, as bosses, we create negative conditions because we are not educated on creating a trusting team. Moreover, it’s easier to not spend time creating a productive team because it’s scary, time consuming and humbling.
Our L&D team is a unique mix of highly intelligent, experienced, diverse, strong, passionate, determined and educated people that are all in different time zones and different countries. Between the five of us, we have a 13 hour time difference and four languages. But we share – what every person shares – deep desire to feel connected and valued.
I feel the first step to creating our high performing team was to spend two hours (yes, two hours!) talking with each person about their goals and strengths, their preferences for communication, and our interpersonal relationship.
Nothing else comes before that conversation. Absolutely nothing. If I don’t know what someone wants to accomplish and how they want to be treated and treat others, then I’m guilty of not creating the connection or making them feel important. That’s on me as a leader to create the best team possible.
I have ignored this step a few times and it backfired in opportunity costs, conflict, and detraction until I did twice as much work to fix it.
To have that first conversation I do the following:
- Send an email to the team member letting them know that we’re going to talk about their goals and interpersonal relationship. I use an old tool called “GRPI,” which stands for Goals, Roles, Process and Interpersonal.
- I ask them to read and learn the GRPI concept and come prepared with a point of view on each of the four components of the tool.
- Then we engage in the two hours. My job is to ask questions, to understand, to encourage them to talk, to seek out what they need me to do to make sure they are successful.
- Attached is a link to a GRPI .
In part two of this blog, I’ll relay the last GRPI conversation I had, including the questions I ask, and what I share from my side, for each of the four parts of the GRPI.
Thanks for your time, post your comments, and I hope to see you for part two!