In my previous post, I talked about accountability for sustaining the team effectiveness breakthroughs that come at offsite sessions. You can read the full post here. The main idea is that 75% of the responsibility lies with individual team members holding themselves accountable for making the changes they committed to, 20% lies with team members who need to help each other when someone slips up, only 5% should be the purview of the team leader in the form of performance management of the people who don’t make the shift.
I decided that I should dig into each accountability a little more fully. In this post, I’ll start with holding yourself accountable. Stay tuned for posts on how to help your teammates and how to performance manage the hold out.
Holding yourself accountable
Capture the insights. Before you leave the offsite session, before you hit the bar with your teammates, write down one or two insights that you had during the day. One should be an insight about how you have contributed to the current state of the team. At least one should be about the mindset or actions you will need from here on to help the team change its trajectory. Write one or two words for each idea on a tiny piece of paper and put it in your wallet—where it will haunt you like Edgar Allan Poe’s Telltale Heart if you try to disobey your instructions to yourself.
Reflect on the list regularly. Think about your current biases and prejudices about the team and then work actively to let them go. Replay recent conversations in your head and evaluate how you did on your commitments. Recite your key words (such as listen, be transparent, or stay open) in your head if things start to heat up in a meeting.
Build your skills. Based on your reflections, where are your biggest challenges? Figure out which skills you need to build and seek out coaching and support from your boss, your teammates, or your HR person. Maybe you need help to listen more effectively. Maybe your issue is too much conflict and you need to find ways to raise issues more constructively. Maybe it’s too little. Whatever it is, work on it. Stretch yourself. Practice. Get feedback.
Admit when you screw up. You will screw up. You will interrupt, or suppress an important issue or discount what someone is saying. Count on it. And instead of feeling sheepish when you do, admit it. Say “I’m sorry, I wasn’t doing a good job of hearing you.” It’s good to be disappointed in yourself—it’s best when you are the one holding yourself to a high standard. Just don’t beat yourself up. That’s counterproductive. Admit your mistake and fix it by doing it differently the next time.
Repeat. Write down one or two words for new insights. Reflect on your list. Be aware of your mindset. Build your skills. Put them in practice. Admit when you blow it. And start again. Look! You’re growing, you’re learning, and you’re probably becoming a much better team member.
That’s what you’re accountable for after the offsite.
View the rest of the “After the Offsite” series…
Part I: After the Offsite
Part III: Helping Your Teammates