Data-Based Solutions From 2020
It's been a long time since people who work in groups, compete on teams, and lead others have been challenged in the way that they are right now.
We spent a week collecting data points based of human actions, statements, formal interviews and informal conversation in Miami, Florida. The insights we took from this will take some time to fully analyze, however, there are some data trends that are emerging as significant early.
The purpose of this article is to increase the awareness of grief, and increase positive habits for overall group performance both during and after the current challenges many face.
This purpose centres around one key solution:
FOCUS ON MOVING FROM TRANSACTIONAL TO TRANSFORMATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS.
All of our data showed various aspects of grief attributed to the pandemic, social justice movements, elections, non-pandemic economic struggles, and more. Things like financial challenges, frustration over missing out on sport, guilt over having work when others don't, etc were all identified. These grief-based traits were also regularly tagged with negative performance or negative interactions with colleagues or the people that they serve. This is often associated with statements along the line of:
"I'm just happy to have work" or "I just appreciate the opportunity to play my sport again".
These statements, and others like them, contain expression of genuine gratitude but also quickly lead to a transactional approach to their relationships.
There's a short leap from these statements to fixed mindset traits like:
-Avoiding risks, challenges, and feedback.
-Responding to feedback with defensiveness.
-Not wanting to put out maximum effort.
-Increases in offloading or blaming others.
People are becoming increasingly transactional in their larger and smaller interactions every day in response to wanting to preserve the things they don't want to lose. We need to highlight ways to move more towards transformational relationships in order to combat this group performance struggle.
In response to this, there's some change we can make in order to have more transformational interactions that build our culture toward positive growth trends long term.
1) Increase situations where there are opportunities to share in challenges and collaborate in solutions.
The more isolated we feel, the more transactional we get. The more connected and understood we feel, the more transformational we get. The more empowered everyone feels to push their limits, get uncomfortable, and solve problems, the more transformational their mindset towards others will become.
2) Build more opportunities for everyone to be their real and authentic selves.
There's a lot of fear of judgement and repercussions in our current time of "just being happy to be back". Making sure that leaders are modelling authenticity, that everyone has avenues to be themselves, and that people are rewarded for independent thinking. Focus on rewarding calculated risk taking and encouraging trying new things.
3) Build a wall of cultural protection.
Three of the best ways to do this are to ensure that promises are kept, mistakes are both encouraged and admitted, and feedback is effective and requested often by all parties. Every promise broken, every mistake not discussed and admitted, and every feedback opportunity lost or sought is a small break in the cultural protection wall.
The need to identify whether current dynamics in your group are more transactional or transformational are real. Some will realize this early and start their growth process now, others will delay and fall behind. The data doesn't lie, as trends from building transformational relationships show highly likely better performance in key performance indicators, organizational engagement, organizational commitment, and others.
Consider these two questions:
How would more transformational relationships help you and your group?
Why would you delay in building them?