How to Make the Strategic Jump from an I-Pod to the We-Pod

While everyone agrees collaboration creates results, resistance to spending the time and resources to allow for teams to learn how to collaborate effectively has led to isolated, disconnected employees (I-Pods) rather than more productive, collaborative teams (We-Pods). I am part of the shift towards the Collaborative Leadership Model and to creating a collaborative culture that will drive creativity, innovation and bigger results. I believe this is one of the most important business development challenges, which if met, will create the greatest sustainable results.

The concept of the We-Pod is important because it’s created by individuals who have been spending a large percentage of time in an I-Pod. When they come together, learn more about each other, and agree to share accountability, each person improves as a communicator and problem solver. The We-Pod gives rise to greater creativity, high performance, and innovation. In the current climate, the success of a team is more important than ever.

When strategic planning is narrowly confined to profit, revenue and targets, it is difficult, at times, to get full engagement and ownership of goals. The important thing is to start at a high level, with an overview that includes visioning of both the results, as well as the teams’ participation in those results. This also includes a clear vision and mission that inspires the work, resources and time spent fulfilling goals. Inspiration is much easier to create in the We-Pod as collaborative leaders.

Use this high-level strategic process to jump-start your next planning process. The four engagement questions below require a high-level of engagement from all team members. More specific strategic goals can be created that include implementation steps once the answers to these questions are on the table.

1. Creating the Future—What Behaviors Do We Want to Bring Forward?

 This question begins the process of greater engagement and allows for a focus on behavior in the leadership group, as well as staff who interact with internal and external customers. Often our behavior is not a part of planning and yet it is the very core of getting the necessary strategic results, but is overlooked as a “no brainer.”

In an offsite with a global client, during the discussion of this question, she brought up not only their leadership behaviors, but also the behaviors of team members, one or two levels down, who would be creating the results; their interactive style, time spent in connection, and their overall engagement in the vision of the new environment when results were accomplished.

2. Expanding the Brand—Who Are We and Where Are We Going?

Create a vision for the future; for instance, what will your team look like by the end of the year, at the end of next year and possibly up to 3 years in the future.  Organizations are changing so fast today to adapt to the current business environment that going any further is not effective.

Take a look at look at business results, processes and communication locally, regionally and across the organization. Promote consistency of goals and the discussion of each person’s interpretation of these goals. Communication of this vision will override assumptions and create engagement that leads to results.

3. Investing in People—What Are the Important Values and Are They Aligned?

Identify, establish and communicate core values by which business will be done: communicate to your team how these values are to be shown and communicated to your customers and internal colleagues; encourage open discussion to maximize team alignment and buy-in.

4. The Essential Elements for Growing the Business – What Values are Important to Our Customer?

This is so important; often, over time, organizational goals are not in alignment with their customer; to their changing values, nor sensitive to the human interaction necessary to create the level of satisfaction that brings success. Make sure you are listening to what your customers are saying and asking of you.

This is on aspect of the Collaborative Leadership Process that creates the We-Pod value. Stay tuned for more information on implementation and team steps for moving forward.

* Thanks to Judith Glaser – Creating We for the original questions that inspired this writing.