Part way during facilitating a full day session with a client the meeting went from great to tense really fast. Some of the team’s deep-seated dysfunctional ways of operating came to a head. The vibe in the room tanked. People didn’t want to be there. Tensions and emotions ran high. Though we finished the session, the team was visibly shaken by the end of the day – the wheels had come off the team.
But the wheels needed to come off.
In a subsequent phone call with the Visionary and the Integrator, they indicated “that was the best worst meeting we ever had” as they had immediately followed up by meeting one-on-one with each of their leaders to address the underlying issues that had caused the wheels to come off. And it worked. In the months that followed, this team’s health and cohesiveness improved dramatically, as did their company’s performance.
But this team is not alone. Many teams need to experience such a meeting. What should you do when the wheels come off in a meeting with your leadership team?
The wheels come off when:
- The stuff hits the fan – the mood in the room changes dramatically emotions run high, quivering lips, tears, raised voices, and an uncomfortable vibe.
- The proverbial “can” can’t be kicked down the road anymore. Conversations and decisions that have been avoided for years, are now out in the open.
- The sense of harmony the team believed it had is exposed as a false harmony.
When the wheels come off, resist the temptation to:
- Brush it off, by avoiding the hard conversation or decision.
- Revert to old dysfunctional ways.
- Explain it away, by blaming something other than the true root cause.
What to do when the wheels come off:
- Deviate from the agenda as needed – dealing with how this all just got real is more important that rigidly sticking with the agenda.
- Don’t make it personal – make it about the issues.
- Acknowledge that as uncomfortable as this is, it needed to happen.
- Clarify next steps – who is going to do what by when to address what just happened?
- Take responsibility – recognize and admit your part in the problem.
- Believe that by entering the danger and confronting the hard conversations and decisions head on, your team and company will get better.
- Tell the team you are committed to getting to a better place as a healthier and more cohesive team.
- Recognize that a dysfunctional leadership team has an outsized impact on the rest of the organization. Conversely, a healthy and highly functioning leadership team is essential for a company to consistently produce desired results.
- Does your leadership team just have the appearance of harmony and cohesion because you avoid hard conversations and decisions?
- Could your team handle a meeting where the ‘wheels come off’?
- Visit navigatethejourney.com and Schedule A Call with Tom Barrett to discuss how we help companies implement EOS® and improve the health and effectiveness of leadership teams and entire organizations.
About The Author
Tom Barrett is a Professional EOS Implementer™ and the CEO of Navigate the Journey, a Nashville based firm that specializes in helping entrepreneurs get what they want from their business and life.