Moving through the zone of discomfort: Practical tools for you and your team.

Moving through the zone of discomfort: Practical tools for you and your team.

You're busy, aren't you?

You’re up to your eyeballs attending or chairing virtual meetings, answering emails, returning phone calls.

You’re scrambling to get that project done, and still want to generate new ideas and possibilities … quickly.

You feel stretched to capacity, while still trying to process all the tasks on your rolling to-do list.

You want to stay connected with your clients and, most importantly, continue to provide effective support for your team members. They now work from home. They need to get their job done while managing their own overwhelm, maybe dealing with anxiety and other issues this pandemic has unleashed.

 We are all in a zone of discomfort. But this zone is also a space for reflecting, gathering new ideas for strategic difference and innovation, and laying the groundwork for future initiatives, once we go back to ‘normal’.

Draw a breath. Help is at hand

To help you move from the zone of discomfort to a place where you feel more in control, more positive, let’s look at some practical ideas you can try out today. 

Here’s a simple visual tool you can use when you next meet virtually with your team: The Team Canvas. Team Canvas is a free tool you can use for teams. You can source it here. If you’ve used Business Model Canvas before, it will feel quite similar.

Team Canvas is designed to reveal how you work as a team and what you’d like to do differently. It gives you cues about your opportunities in relation to your key customers, and your value proposition. We will look at those in future articles with some more useful tools for you to try out: The Customer Strategy Map, the Value Proposition Map, and the Trust Equation.

All the tools I will be sharing with you in the coming weeks I have tried and tested with my clients. I have also found deep inspiration in my conversations with my dear colleague Andrew Prior. Thank you again, Andy!

All the tools are simple and deeply practical. They help you and your team maintain focus as you navigate, more than ever, the VUCA world – volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

So, let’s get started with Team Canvas. All you need is to ask yourself and your team some deep, powerful questions. And a Whiteboard functionality on your meeting technology platform to capture your thoughts.

Sometimes taking some time to size things up is the most important thing you can do – to get a new view of the landscape.

Let's get to work. Together.

A client recently called me. She was looking for brainstorming techniques she could easily use with her team while working virtually. She wanted to explore new business ideas, that would lead to new products, and more efficient systems.

“How is this important this for you and your team?”, I asked.

“It’s not really a priority right now”, she said. “We know our jobs, and our team goals. We’ve got our routine. But we all feel a little anxious and overwhelmed. Pushing the pause button from time to time when we meet virtually to put our heads on a joint project, will help us cut through the confusion, while supporting each other and staying connected.”

My client and I bounced some ideas off each other.

It turned out that, right now, she did not so much need to do the kind of inventive work that pushes business forward.

My client needed a team-building activity she could easily use in a virtual setting. Something that would help her team develop a collaborative mindset while exploring questions such as:

  • Who are we as a team right now? What are our strengths, weaknesses, values?
  • How do we maintain relations within our team, with colleagues, with customers?
  • What do our stakeholders expect from us? What do we expect from them? Are these expectations clear?
  • How have our stakeholders’ needs changed under the current circumstances? If yes, in what way?
  • Do we need to review our goals and activities, adjust rules while collaborating virtually, and may be some of our roles too?
  • How are you supporting each other? How can we support each other even better?

My client and I decided to use Team Canvas. It is simple to understand and effective to apply.

The results were beyond expectations.

What started off as an exercise to help team members (re)discover shared values and complementary skills, and build mutual trust, brought about significant change in less than a month.

  • My client moved away from her command-and-control leadership style, and delegated more
  • Team members started taking responsibility from her, and felt more motivated, more empowered.
  • During their virtual team meetings (twice a week), team members would take turns in chairing, to master the functionalities of their communication platform.
  • Chairing meetings helped them improve their facilitation skills, essential for good client handling.

Team Canvas takes around 90 to 120 minutes to run for your team. If you would like to try out the benefits of running this, using an experienced facilitator, do get in touch with us.

Claudia Ritter is an international facilitator and trainer for CLS. Fluent in six languages, with a postgraduate Master’s degree in International Relations and Leadership, Claudia works with clients who need to drive change and achieve successful outcomes. She is a certified Executive and Leadership Coach, believing that everyone should have the opportunity to be the best they can.

Living in Europe, Claudia works internationally and can deliver anywhere, at the click of a mouse.

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