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Talent Dynamics RSS Feed Blog Archive: March 2015

How Sustainable is Your Team’s Energy?

The environment and sustainable energy has been a core feature in news for several decades now.  We are all aware that fossil fuels are a finite resource and to safely secure our future alternate, renewable energy is a must have.

Big Issue, Small Application

Yet how often do we think about our team’s energy?  We all know the feeling of being supercharged with energy and we also know the feeling of being flat.  Where is the source of this energy and how can it be made sustainable?  This blog was spurred by the following conversation overheard between two employees (paraphrased for space):

“Employee 1: I’m not having fun in work any more.  It’s just a real grind now”

“Employee 2: Well work isn’t supposed to be fun is it?  Otherwise it wouldn’t be called work”

Both employees are clearly verbalising a feeling of low energy.  Work not being fun any more.  A real grind.  One employee is clearly suffering because of it, the other seems to have come to terms with the fact that the work they do isn’t fun.

Can Work = Fun?

Employee 2’s point of view is quite common, even if it isn’t verbalised.  Fun and work are mutually exclusive.  You can’t be working and have fun, you can’t have fun if you’re working.

Without going into the detail around what counts as “work” and what counts as “fun”, the principles of Talent Dynamics would disagree with this view.  If you are doing an activity or task that you are good at, you enjoy or are trusted in, chances are you are going to feel supercharged, a state referred to as flow.  If you are in flow you will be having fun (that is not to say there won’t be pressure, that’s a different thing).

And this is the key to understanding how to ensure your team’s energy is supercharged and sustainable.  Ensure that the activities and tasks are given to the right people.  Not necessarily with the skills and experience but the ones who will enjoy it the most.  They will be super productive (even over the ones with skills and experience) and they will enjoy what they are doing.  Enthusiasm will be high and people will have more energy.

Employee 1 sounds like they used to be given the tasks and responsibilities they enjoyed but perhaps because they were so good at it, they have been promoted, moving them out of where they are trusted and away from where they found their flow.

Employee 2 sounds like they have never been given tasks they enjoyed so never experienced flow (and likely not have a high level of trust).  They have come to terms with this fact by switching off and disengaging.  They are in it for the money, not for the pleasure of a job well done or for helping their team achieve success.

Which employee would you want in your team?  How sustainable is your team?  Have you asked which tasks your team would enjoy doing?

Featured image used with thanks to Paco Cepas

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DT’s Tower: A Team Without A Supporter

We don’t live in an ideal world do we?  On paper (and the Talent Dynamics square) it would seem to be a simple matter of getting a Supporter to lead your team productively, ensuring everyone was doing the things they most enjoyed, inspiring them and delegating new tasks effectively.

So what happens when there is no Supporter, not even as a secondary profile?  If the Supporter is the natural team leader, with their focus on people and relationships, its opposite profile, the Lord (with a focus on spreadsheets and structure) must be seen as the worst team leader. Right?

A Lord leading Creators

As I’ve mentioned previously… I’m a Lord (and yes, spreadsheets, flowcharts and numbers is where my mind naturally goes) and I lead a team of Creators.  Not a Supporter in sight but as a team we work well together and certainly find our flow. Structurally and creatively 🙂

This has got me thinking about how this works and what can be learned from it.  A core principle of Talent Dynamics is that the path to Flow is based on your natural talents.  What comes easily to you.  And by layering different talents together in a team you should be able to cover all potential situations.

Change What You Do, Not Who You Are

So the answer to the Lord leading a team isn’t by acting as a Supporter.  That takes me right out of Flow.  What puts me into Flow is information and structure.  So this is how I can help the team, I can effortlessly shape and relay the information so the Creators can concentrate on creating what is needed as efficiently and as accurately as possible.  Where Creators might float around a bit(!) working out what needs to be done, who needs to do it and by when I can help impose a structure (but not too much… they are Creators after all) that helps provide boundaries through organisation and project management.

Yet that is not all that the team needs.  And this is where there have been struggles.  Creators crave significance.  They don’t (always) need their ego stroking but they do need to feel that what they are doing has an impact.  As a Lord, heavy on the detail and big on the numbers I can lack the warmth of a Supporter (read: my highest praise is a nod of satisfaction with a bullet point list of feedback on what could be improved) so I needed to think hard on how to ensure the team gets what they need.

A Final Challenge

I’m still working on it! (I am a Lord after all) What I have come up with so far is to ensure that each team member has their own ‘area’,  a little fiefdom where they can take the action that they feel needs to be taken (using their initiative to best effect) and can immediately see the benefits of what they are doing (boosting their significance).

Yet Creators can often leave chaos in their wake, so I lean on my high Tempo energy to ensure that they know they can talk to me (one to one obviously) and together we can fix the problem in the long term (they’ll have already jury rigged something) and I can tweak the detail to ensure it isn’t likely to happen again.

A final thing that I am trying to do is lean on my Steel energy to tell ‘the story of the numbers’ behind their actions.  Using quirky visuals and plenty of colour they will be able to see what they are doing is having a significant impact and give them ideas of what can be done next (without boring them with black and white figures).  Thus starting the cycle again.

I just have to try hard to ignore their desks…


Featured image courtesy of Glenn Pebley

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