Goals Insight - Insights E-zine

October 2010

Volume ViII, Number 10

In this E-Zine:
  A Few Notes From Cheryl
  Feature Article
  Upcoming Workshops and Teleclasses
  About Cheryl and Goals InSight

Insights Archives


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Additional Resources:
  Goals InSight website
  2010 Workshop Schedule
  Client Successes

Contact Information:

Cheryl Mann, MBA, CPCC
President / Certified Coach
Goals InSight
Team/Department Coaching, Group Facilitation and Workshops
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A Few Notes From Cheryl

November 17 Teleclass:   Join us for “Who Are You as Leader? Clarify Your Intentions and Be The Leader Your Team Needs for Success!” I look forward to you joining us for our next teleclass, which will be in November. We are not going to hold an October teleclass, due to my travel schedule this month (but for those of you in San Ramon, Modesto, San Francisco or Philadelphia, I hope to see you in person at one of the conferences or other events where I'll be speaking!). See information below or on our Speaking page for details and to register for this f-r-e-e teleclass – hope to “see” you on the call!

Feature Article: Are Your Team’s Agreements Promoting 'Real' Dialogue, or Hiding Behind 'Masks'? is an updated version of a previous article from a few years back, because I’m seeing the need with many of the teams I’m working with these days for more robust dialogue. Enjoy!

Warmest regards,


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Feature Article:  Are Your Team’s Agreements Promoting 'Real' Dialogue, or Hiding Behind 'Masks'?

Team Masks

When I first begin working with a team, I often find that many team members don "masks" that they hide behind in their communications and interactions with their team members. In other words, they are often afraid to be "real" with their colleagues - they are afraid to speak their true thoughts/feelings because it might create conflict, or because their organizational culture supports "sugar coating the truth" instead. Or, sometimes team members don't feel that they can safely speak these truths for other reasons (fear of losing their job, as well as other concerns), so they hide behind a mask of not speaking up at all, which seems less risky to them.

I typically find that this hiding comes from teams who do not currently have any written team agreements about how they will communicate and interact with each other. However, more often than not, these teams actually DO have agreements – they are just "unwritten agreements" where the team has never talked about how they’ll interact, but have basically agreed to never speak about issues that could cause conflict. Does that sound familiar with your team?

Real/Robust Team Dialogue: See behind the masks

By comparison, when I work with teams who have created explicit agreements with each other regarding how their team will interact and communicate with each other, those team members are much more likely to be REAL with their colleagues - they speak their true thoughts and feelings, and know that their voices will be heard, because the team has created agreements that support a safe environment for those diverse opinions and thoughts to be discussed/explored. Whether you refer to these types of communications as "robust dialogue," "speaking about the elephants in the room" or something else, we're talking about the same thing -- speaking up about issues or concerns that are impacting the team.

Most Sustainable and High-Performing Teams

From a team dynamics perspective, this place of being "real" and proactively encouraging discussions regarding issues may be perceived as conflict - but is actually the most healthy way for a team to interact. Why? Because a team that has enough trust, respect, camaraderie and the ability to navigate conflict is a team that has a solid foundation to get results and will also be sustainable, because they have that solid foundation to rely upon. By contrast, teams who are not able to have these types of discussions often are not sustainable. They are simply not able to rise to that "higher level" to yield the results that they could, because their performance is hindered by the limited dynamics they have become mired in; thus, they are not performing at their optimal level.

Think about your personal life. Are the more meaningful and effective relationships that you have the ones where you keep the discussion at a high/superficial level and don't talk about things that are truly important to you? Or, are the more meaningful relationships that you have the ones where you talk about very important aspects of your life (including your feelings) and really challenge each other to be better people? In my life, I appreciate and encourage people to challenge me so that I can learn more about myself and continue growing to be the best person I can be in this lifetime.

The same is true with teams. The more your team challenges each other to learn and grow and bring up whatever is on their mind, the more successful they will be and the longer they will be able to maintain success. These are characteristics of high-performing teams!

Here are some questions and tips for you/your team to explore:

  1. What does your team typically experience in the categories above - "Masks" or "Real/Robust Dialogue"? Think back to your most recent team meeting. Were team members holding back, or "sugar coating" their words? Or, were they encouraging each other to speak about what was really on their minds? And, if team members were speaking their minds, how was the rest of the team responding - were team members encouraging more dialogue and trying to get a better understanding of the diverse opinions, or were they trying to shut down the discussion?

  2. If your team typically don their "masks," what do they need to be able to move into "real/robust dialogue" more often? If your team does not already have team agreements for their interactions and how they will handle conflict, this is the place to start. Creating team agreements should be a skillfully facilitated discussion that includes all of the aspects above plus much more, so that the team creates as much openness among team members as possible and has clear parameters for moving forward (including accountability to their agreements).

If your team already has team agreements and is still regularly using "masks," then your team's agreements need to be updated to specifically incorporate how they will handle issues of potential conflict. Your team may also need some help with conflict resolution skill building and practice, so be sure to look at

- Do they know HOW to work through conflicts and are just not doing it?
- Do they need to learn the skills to work through conflict? (honestly, this is what I see more often than not, which is why we often teach teams how to work through issues)

  1. How is your team using its agreements? Once your team creates its agreements, there are many ways to integrate this into daily work life. For example, I worked with a project team who printed out a poster size version of their team agreements and each team member signed the agreements as their commitment, and then the entire poster was framed and mounted in their workspace as a reminder of their commitments to each other!

    Another team I worked with reads their team agreements at the beginning of every meeting, and when a team member breaks an agreement, pays a nominal monetary fine that is later used for a party. There are many more examples of how different teams work with their agreements, but the important thing is that the agreements are

    (a) Created and "owned" by the team, and
    (b) Reviewed regularly, and
    (c) Monitored/supported by team members who speak up when they see an agreement being broken.

  3. What obstacles are preventing your team from implementing these tips above? It is important to have candid conversations with your team about the specific things that are getting in the way of your team being more effective in their communications and interactions. By taking the time to explore these ideas with your team NOW, your team is much more likely to be more effective now and in the future!

Your team's success is our priority, so if your team needs assistance with the process discussed here, give us a call and we can explore how we can support your team. Feel free to contact us at (510) 482-8987 or send me an e-mail at cheryl@goalsinsight.com – it would be a pleasure to help your team shed their masks! In the meantime, have a Happy Halloween!

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Upcoming Workshops

"Who Moved My Stress?  9 Steps to Transform Project Stress/Pressure Into Peaceful Productivity"

Project Management Institute – Silicon Valley Chapte
East Bay Technology SIG

(East Bay Innovation Group - eBIG)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

6:30 to 8:30 pm

Achievo Corporation - 3000 Executive Parkway, Suite 500, San Ramon, CA

Workplace stress is one of the most significant contributors to blocking productivity on projects.

This session helps participants:

  • Discover the connection between reducing stress and highly productive project teams
  • Unlock the secrets to creating less stressed, more relaxed team interactions that yield better team results, especially during times of change
  • Create and deploy a specific “peaceful productivity plan” to turn their vision for a less stressed and more productive project team into reality

For more details and to register click HERE


"Maximizing Health-System Pharmacy Efficiency: Leveraging Team Dynamics in the New Leadership Paradigm"

California Society of Health-System Pharmacists
Seminar 2010 - Annual Conference
Saturday, October 23, 2010

2:00 pm

Hilton Union Square - San Francisco, CA

During this session designed for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, you will learn how to:

  1. Investigate and identify the real underlying reasons why your pharmacy team may not be performing at optimal capacity
  2. Formulate a step-by-step plan to lead your pharmacy team to maximum performance by enhancing subtle relationship and communication dynamics
  3. Identify gaps in your leadership as well as team effectiveness abilities in order to more effectively lead your pharmacy team

For more details and to register click HERE


"Leading High-Performing Cross-Functional Teams"

Healthcare Businesswoman's Association (HBA)
Annual Leadership Conference

Thursday, October 28, 2010 (2:30-4:30 pm)

Friday, October 29, 2010 (8:30 - 10:30 am)

Marriott Philadelphia Downtown - Philadelphia, PA

Cross-functional teams have the potential to be high performing when they optimize the strengths and diversity on their team and create a collaborative environment in which team members can thrive!

During this session, participants will learn how to:

  1. Leverage high-performing team communication tools that drive optimal performance for cross-functional success: team agreements with accountability, navigating conflict and a shared vision that goes beyond the charter
  2. Optimize cross-functional team results by enhancing relationship dynamics, leveraging team diversity, celebrating team successes and increasing awareness of potential pitfalls
  3. Measure, review and create a plan for team’s specific strengths and weaknesses

For more details and to register click HERE


"Who Are You as Leader? Clarify Your Intentions and Be the Leader Your Team Needs for Success"

2010 Teleclass Series

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

12:00 noon - 1:00 pm Pacific / 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm Eastern

During this teleclass you will:

  • Get clarity on WHO you want to be as a leader in order to lead your team to success – it’s time to start bringing ALL of your authentic self into your work!
  • Determine WHAT you need to do differently to be that leader you want to be.
  • Create specific intentions / action plans to break through the obstacles for intentional leadership and teamwork to yield successful results!Uncover the underlying reasons why your virtual or remote team is not performing at optimal capacity

For more details and to register click HERE


Team Building Events and Off-Site Meetings:

Could your team use some help to be more cohesive?
Is it time to enhance your team's relationships and productivity?

Some teams know that something isn't working, but they don't know exactly what that is or how to improve it. Some organizations hold team building seminars and employee retreats because they know it's time to enhance their teams' productivity and relationships. Do either of those statements describe you/your team? If so, and if you haven't already contacted us to discuss your needs, feel free to give us a call to see if we can help you.

We offer a variety of programs to enhance the performance of your teams as well as improve the ways in which your teams interact, so we invite you to visit our Team Building, Training and Seminar page. This is a great way to show appreciation for your team and enhance their productivity, thereby improving the bottom line for your organization!

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About Goals InSight

Goals InSight helps organizations achieve their desired results in the following ways - click on any of the links for details:

If you know someone who could benefit from our offerings, would you please forward this e-newsletter with your recommendation?  We appreciate your referrals, as this is how we continue to grow and evolve – thank you in advance!

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