Stories of Power from the Team
Story about John, the busy boss
John wants to succeed, so he needs his team to succeed too. John knows about everything his team does, so to make his team successful, he is generous about his time and helps the team members in their tasks all the time.
Then John met his new mentor, Lisa. Lisa said to John that by taking so much responsibility, he is in fact making it more difficult for the team members to grow and take more responsibility themselves.
John agreed. “But how to do that? I think I have tried everything. Please help me, Lisa.” And Lisa suggested that maybe a simple first step John could try is not to prepare the meeting agendas for the team - “Let the team suggest the meeting topics”.
“Ok, Lisa, how do I then make sure we are discussing the right topics and not wasting our precious time there in the meetings?”
“John, they are the team. When they decide what to discuss, it is the correct topic for the team. Just trust them and give it a try”.
And John tried. In the beginning of the next team meeting he asked the team to provide the meeting topics. The meeting was not a triumph, but good enough to keep trying. Soon the team started taking more responsibility and thinking about the topics from the whole team’s point of view.
Suddenly John noticed that he is not so busy anymore.
“Well done, John. You have now started the journey”, Lisa said. But that was only the beginning.
Story about Sami, the expert
Sami was quite tired about all those numerous meetings. He had his own things to do and those meetings were there to disturb his job. When he was sitting there in a meeting, listening to someone else’s agenda, he felt that this was the number one barrier preventing him to be successful in his own job.
And one more meeting request in Teams came. It was a team meeting. Those were the worst ones. The team leader, Susan, has probably once more prepared a full agenda for the team for two hours. And probably Susan is the one speaking for 80% of the time again.
The meeting started. People were appearing online one by one. Five past everyone is there and Susan starts the meeting. Everyone is shocked when they see a blank page in front of them and hear Susan explaining that this is the agenda. This time she has not prepared anything, but it is up to team members to bring the topics to discuss.
The mood was troubled.
After an eternity one of the team members, Sharon, suggests that there is one problem: we need a working title for our new product idea to present it in the steering group. Susan wrote that on the slide.
Carl, the funny guy in the team, tries what happens, if he suggests something different. He says we need to have some team activity. Let’s plan together what to do. To his surprise Susan did not object, but wrote the topic on the slide.
Two more topics came and Susan explained, how the topics are handled. There are four meeting links in the chat, one for each topic, everyone goes where they like (feel free to change groups whenever you want) and after 45 minutes we come back and check what action items we need.
Sami felt that this team meeting really made the difference. And they were even getting better and better after that when people started feeling that they are trusted and they started taking more responsibility. Also the total number of meetings went down, because more topics could be handled in team meeting. Sami really liked this new way. He was almost waiting for the next team meeting to see what interesting topics the others might suggest this time.