Team Effectiveness After a Rift

In 2023, our team engaged with a group of senior leaders and their executive board, who hadn't convened face-to-face for several years. Through interviews encompassing a 'diagonal slice' of different functions and seniorities, a set of core objectives emerged:

  • 1 Celebrate Successes
  • 2 Strengthen Links Between Staff & Board
  • 3 Clarify/Recast Responsibilities
  • 4 Build a Shared List of Priorities for the Coming Year

Parallel to these objectives, it became apparent from various conversations that there was a serious rift requiring attention for effective collaboration to take root.

Our approach began by establishing norms for the day, rooted in two key beliefs:

  • Everyone is Trying Hard and Doing Their Best (In the Moment)
  • FFA Principle: You are a Fully Functioning Adult, and if You Need Something to Change, Say So or Do So.

The initial activity involved creating a team mandala of organizational success. Each participant compiled a list of personal and organizational successes, which was then visually brought to life with the help of a graphic recording from Maggie. The outgoing Board President addressed the room, discussing past challenges and the opportunities and obstacles ahead.

While politeness and caution still dominated the room, the subsequent activity unearthed the existing rift when one leader courageously spoke up. What followed was a genuine conversation that provided an opportunity to share scars, explore misunderstandings, and initiate the restoration of an effective team culture. The remainder of the day was highly productive as the leaders came together to develop shared strategic priorities, clearer responsibilities, and a vision of big ideas for the future.

A red circle is shown on a green background.
A red circle is shown on a green background.