I started observing meetings to baseline what behaviors were occurring and what was missing.
Since I had worked with engineers all of my career, I realized that they could connect to graphical representations of observations. This visible made what was perceived as soft and less tangible. At first I selected seven foundational behaviors, for four months, and then at a strategic meeting showed the staff graphs of their collective behavior. The behaviors I chose were based on research in neuroscience, studies of human behavior and consequences along best known practices. I tracked laughter as a representation of light up energy and positive energy being brought into the meeting. I tracked Open questions (what and how) that invite exploration, learning, reflection and dialog. I also tracked closed questions that were predominately being used and in a meeting felt more like presenters were being interrogated so I could compare and contrast the change over time. I had encouraged the senior leader to begin meetings with recognition and to offer appreciative statements based on the research that at least a 5-to -1 Ratio of positive to negative statements will help to build relationships and high performing teams. I tracked asking for help and making offers, building mutual support and summarizing that demonstrated listening. When I showed the staff the graphs, one engineering manager said out loud, “She graphed our behaviors”. Along with showing the graphs I spoke about why these behaviors are important to high performing teams, organizations and their effects on human productivity and commitment.
The next step was to facilitate small group dialogs for the staff to determine what leadership behaviors they would commit to start doing or do more of. In addition, I asked each one of the leaders to make a personal commitment. Using research around forming habits I asked them to commit to one or two the behaviors to build into new leadership habits.
The approach taken integrated the research on positive-to-negative ratios, neuroscience, building new habits and high performing teams, power of feedback and removing blind spots, leader mood, motivating and demotivating factors, using the millions of moments every day to inform the change starting tops down. The methodology was: (1) Define the desired culture in terms of observable behaviors (2) Obtain leadership commitment (3) Baseline current state (4) Engage in observation (open up blind spots) (5) Provide feedback at individual and organizational level (6) Provide reporting showing graphical leadership behavioral change (visible barometer charting change).Download Article 1K Club