2020 has been . . .
We’ve all, to varying degrees, been through the fire this year.
And things have changed—in our work, in our lives. Covid-19 has changed the way we interact with the world and with each other. But while some are eager to get back to the way things were, a better question is what do we do going forward?
We aren’t going back to normal. Normal isn’t likely to happen any time soon, and even if we could, let’s face it: Normal wasn't all that great.
Between being slammed with projects, spinning our wheels, and “We are NOT communicating here,” work hasn’t always been a picnic and teams haven’t always vibed.
Even before Covid, based on a global study of 3,000 teams, less than 12% of teams considered themselves as high-performing. In terms of team culture, mental health, and anything remotely resembling joy and fun in the workplace, pre-pandemic “normal” left a lot to be desired. But now, in a Covid-colored world, we don’t have to accept just getting back to normal, we can seize a new opportunity.
We can fundamentally shift not just what, but how work can be.
Making Teams Better in Three Steps
As team leaders, there’s a massive opportunity awaiting us. We don’t have to rely on tired approaches like webinars, new year kickoffs, or what the latest hot author said about how to make teams work better. The world has changed. New ideas abound. Let’s seize the day!
Yes, it takes a certain boldness to adopt new methods, even ones — like Fujoli! — that have proven to be highly effective. It used to be said that “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM,” but that kind of let’s-do-things-the-safe-way will actually hold you, your team, and your company back. Nowadays, someone might say, “Nobody ever got fired for using Zoom.” But the critical question is HOW are you using it, and how are you responding to the culture changes that are happening right in front of you?
Are you being reactive? Or are you leading the charge into a more powerful and effective world for your business and your team?
Here are three key steps toward building lasting change in your team’s culture:
Step 1: "Know Thyself as a Team" and commit to Be The Best
Nothing changes until you see your team and your culture as they really are, understand your strengths, become clear on what's holding you back, and commit to become the best team you can possibly be.
Having your team participate in one-off trainings or telling everyone to get a takeout dinner from a nice restaurant and charge it to the company are nice things to do, but they have a limited shelf-life. They’re the corporate equivalent of getting a chair massage at the mall. It feels good for a little while, but ultimately nothing really changes.
So why does changing your culture matter? Because you can be more than punching the clock, meeting deadlines, playing it safe and not making waves. If you want to increase your team’s engagement — with the work at hand, with the efforts of the team, and on an interpersonal level — then it matters A. LOT. If you want your team to not only do more in these trying times and with limited resources, yet actually enjoy the work more, then it matters A. LOT.
Learn to see your team by its strengths. What works well? What can you build on? And what holds you back? What you can’t see, you can’t fix, right? AND, if you can’t see anything, you might not be looking deeply enough. So just stop. Without making any judgments, look at how your team is interacting with each other. Do communications flow smoothly? Do they seem to enjoy their conversations? Are people putting gifs or emojis in the Slack channel?
Those may seem silly or simplistic, but they’re actually great indicators of how people on your team are feeling and about how safe they are in interacting at a deep level with each other. If communications are short and terse and, basically, transactional, you’ve got a great opportunity to shift things with your team.
If you’re not getting a sense of flow and engagement between the people on your team, you don’t have to just live with it — and please don’t assume that ignoring it will make those blocks go away. It’s time to take action.
You can’t throw “solutions” or quick fixes at people like they’re spaghetti that you hope will stick to the wall. Culture change takes time AND it takes your commitment to seeing the effort through to a new and better state. If you’re not all-in on this, they won’t be either. And then, whatever attempt you make will be just like that massage at the mall.
Does that seem scary or too demanding? Well, how do poor results, higher turnover, and strained communications grab you?
If you need a mantra to help you, or if you need some ammunition to help you sell any change effort up the line, just remember these three things:
Team culture thrives when leaders put people first.
Team culture thrives when team members are willing to do things differently.
Team culture doesn’t change without complete commitment to that goal.
So if you’re all-in on seizing this opportunity, what’s next? (I’m so glad you asked.)
Here’s an idea. Ask the people on your team about all the training and development experiences they’ve been through in their years. It’s probably impressive and probably pretty broad. It’s probably pretty expensive, too, when you add it all up.
Now ask them what really worked, what really made a difference in how they see their jobs, their contributions, their interactions, and their satisfaction. Don’t be surprised if you hear crickets . . .
Step 2: Get Fujoli
Fujoli is the bold new approach to team development and increasing employee engagement that uses the science of play to connect people on a deeper level than most traditional programs can achieve. It’s kind of like taking a side door into people’s psyches to help them make new connections, rather than trying to jam through the analytical front doors in their brains. In a cage match between Fujoli and a traditional webinar — BOOM! No contest.
Barriers break down, trust grows, connections deepen, commitment increases, creativity flourishes — and, results improve. All while they just thought they were having fun, and suddenly seeing each other in new ways.
The thing about culture change, whether with Fujoli or some other method, is that you can’t take a one-and-done approach to it. Even Fujoli would end up like a (hilarious) massage if you only did one session. So (and this is where your commitment is really key), you’ve got to do a series of sessions to really land the learning and make it stick.
You’ll know the team is getting it when they start looking at their work through a Fujoli lens. Like, “Do we need more Fujoli here?” Or “That document is just not Fujoli enough.” We’ve seen this, and it’s a powerful and bonding addition to a team’s vocabulary.
So, after your team has done four to six Fujoli sessions, what’s next?
Step 3: Make It Last
It’s not enough just to have your team look at things with a Fujoli lens from time-to-time. You need to explicitly review how the team is doing, what’s going well, what isn’t going so well, and how, collectively, the team wants to adjust.
That last part is the real secret to making change last. When the people on the team are invested in the team’s success, when it becomes a case of “We” not “You+You+Me,” then you’ve got it made. When the team members are active participants in keeping the new connections and engagement growing — when they fell they own the process — that’s when the magic happens.
So it takes attention, it takes commitment, and it takes regular reviews (and maybe a Fujoli tune-up session?) to maintain this wonderful new state. And it’s totally worth it!
To find out how you can tap the power of Fujoli to elevate your team, click here to set up a chat. And sign up for our free email newsletter here.