We each have many voices within. We may have a voice which cautions us to be careful. We may have another voice which urges us to "go for it". We may have a voice that makes judgments, one that has a voice of authority, and another that initiates action. Not all of these voices are popular; we don't always want to hear what they have to say. And many of us have learned to listen to these internal voices -- each one has a viewpoint which contributes to our well-being. Each has our best interests in mind.
Imagine for a moment that a team has a voice of its own. Remember a time when you were on a team, committee, or in a group. Step back and listen to what everyone said as if it were one entity saying it, as if this entity was voicing its concerns and values through the voices of the members of the team. Remember when someone on the team was saying something unpopular – wasn't there a grain of truth in that voice? What if, in some indefinable way, each person on the team was not only speaking their own mind but also providing a voice for that Team's entity?
In the same way that each of us is one entity comprised of many voices, a Team is one entity comprised of many voices. The Center for Right Relationships calls the voice of the system the Third Entity™. The Team has its own needs and viewpoints. Each individual on the Team provides a voice for the Team. When listened to carefully, the listener can sense what is really trying to be said. Just like with individuals, the words and what's just under the surface of the words is what provides the full context of the message. Individuals on a team might not be saying something that is easy to hear, but they are always providing a valuable viewpoint to the Team.
How do we find the voice of a Team? The voice of any system is found by listening to all of the voices, as well as to what's not being said. In order to really hear the voice of the Team, we need to understand the viewpoints and perspectives of each person on the team. We need to explore each voice, and hear what it's really trying to say. We need to have the full context and "culture" of that person, as if we were traveling to and learning about someone else's country.
The voice of the Team is heard through exploring each person's "Land". Let's try an experiment. Have each person talk about what it is like for them in "Their Land". Have the rest of the team listen without judgment, staying open and curious about this person's way of looking at their role in the company. Have the group ask questions to find out what's important to that person, what's challenging, and why. Through this process, they identify what is valuable about that Land's viewpoint – how it makes the Team stronger, more vibrant, and sustainable.
Each voice in the Team needs to be heard. Have each person take a turn describing their Land, with the others uncovering more and more about what is important, challenging, and of value to the Team. When all the voices have been heard, they decide as a Team what aspects of all of the different viewpoints they find useful and effective for their team and bring it into an "Our Land" space. This is where the voice of the Dream Team gets clearly heard, and sustainable collaboration begins.
In the process, an amazing transformation takes place. When I have done this with groups, gradually, almost without their being aware of it, an increased awareness begins, a clearing up happens. Someone might say "Oh, so that's why your group gets so upset when we do this!" New perspectives become illuminated. Someone else may say with surprise, "You mean that if we did this another way it would make it easier for you?" Challenges get uncovered that lend themselves to collaborative solutions. Or someone may say, "I now understand how your department is necessary to our Team's success." New value gets uncovered. In this way, respect, awareness, and collaboration increases.
Collaboration creates sustained success. When a team chooses what they want to bring into a shared, collaborative space, the result is a Dream Team. Now all voices are heard, for not only the words that are being said, but also the context which provides the underlying and deeper meaning and value of those words. Respect increases; awareness of each person's impact on others increases; and collaboration sky-rockets. The Team has learned how to find value in what's being said no matter how unpopular that voice on the team may be.
Here is my wish for you and your Team. Learn how to separate what's being said from the person saying it. Hear the words as if they were being said by the Team's Third Entity™. Look for the value that each person's perspective provides. Look for how each voice is trying to increase the Team's success. By increasing respect for each other's Lands you will be increasing collaboration, and start building towards your own Dream Team. And if you want additional support for making your Dream Team a reality, call me; that's what I'm here for.