Can Your Team Impersonate You? …& Other Lessons From World Business Forum

» Posted by Jeanne Meister  » Posted on 10.13.09

Business Team

The World Business Forum was in New York City last week and one of the most entertaining and thought-provoking speakers included Patrick Lencioni, management consultant and author of Five Dysfunctions Of A Team.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, Lencioni, shared his insights in a presentation pegged to his “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” book.

In Lencioni’s view many bosses mistakenly prefer to tell their team something once, and leave it at that. They fear repeating themselves will be a waste of time. Think about this: are you in this camp?

According to Lencioni, employees need to hear something at least seven times before they are able to incorporate it. Says Lencioni, “It’s only when people hear things over and over again, that they start to actually believe it.” To bring this point home, Lencioni tells the story of a wife who asks her husband why he never tells her he loves her anymore. The husband replies: “I told you when we got married. I’ll let you know if it changes.”

Now let’s assume you are head of Corporate Learning or Human Resources. Ask yourself: could your employees “impersonate” you if they were to give a presentation on the vision of aligning learning to business priorities?

Would they be able to:

  • State the vision for learning;
  • Share how and why it is important to align to business goals;
  • Communicate the 2010 plan and their objectives to meet this plan;
  • Deliver on how to achieve your department’s stretch goals;

If not: Instead of simply repeating seven times, try creating a visual story or Learning Map. These are powerful ways to engage your team in both the message as well as its implications.
In fact forward-thinking companies are creating a visual story or what is known as a Learning Map. This is a powerful tool to share a vision and its implications for both leaders and team members. After all, seeing a picture is really worth a thousand words and importantly if we want team members to do more than repeat the vision, but actually take action, we have to be as creative as possible in painting the picture for them.

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