Does your team win big or lose big at the important stuff?
The foundation of a team committed to win/win outcomes is one of trust, goodwill, and unity. The essential ingredient is collaboration. Remember the preparations for the year 2000? The world was concerned that all business would shut down at the stroke of midnight on January 1. I worked at a multi-billion dollar electric utility that was making sure all systems were go and that power would continue to be generated and delivered through the New Year and beyond. I led a team of five that built a highly collaborative plan to engage the employees and management teams across four states. They would in turn empower and equip every employee who communicated with customers that they need not worry about electric power. We held town halls throughout all four states to answer customer questions and offer assurance.
Our program received international acclaim and met NERC filing dates for Y2K preparedness plans. You see, we were very deliberate at making our preparation a collaborative, all-inclusive effort. We viewed all employees in the company as our partners in communicating our readiness so we could build trust and goodwill with our customers, our commissions, our suppliers, and our regulators.
On the flip side of the coin is the team where each person relates to another with mistrust and alienation. People gather data to prove themselves “right” and the other person “wrong.” Such collusion breeds mistrust, alienation, and division and results in win/lose scenarios.
Back to the Y2k story: Before leaving work one day, the CIO of another multi-billion dollar electric utility called me. He wanted to know how we pulled off such an impressive feat.
After I told him, he admitted that they did not get all their reporting into NERC on time. They had customers who were complaining, commissions that were asking them to explain their preparedness, and they were getting bad press.
Why was their outcome so different from ours? They were collusive. They kept their plans secret; they did not talk to employees and prepare them for what to say; they did not hold town halls all over their service areas to answer customer questions; they did not initiate meetings with their regulators to fill them in on their plans.
Collaboration is essential to building a win/win team environment with:
Collusion creates a win/lose team environment with:
How would your team describe the environment? Collaborative or Collusive? The answer will determine your next win.