Presently, I am in the Business Analytics Certificate program at the University of Washington, and part of the class deals with how to get groups to be committed towards a goal. Each class, the students are asked questions about our commitment towards our goals in life. It is called "Conversations that Matter" (The tip of the cap to Peter Block of designedLearning + Gary Mesick and Shelly Lawrence of the UofW).
One set of questions asks about how to transform Blame to Ownership. Before I get into the questions, to review the issues:
- How many discussions are we involved in each day that revolve around:
- Whom to blame
- Whom to 'throw under the bus'
- It can't be me !
- Is this productive time, or wasted time
- How can we overcome the blame game.
Here are the four questions (which can either be done on a scale of 1-7, or in sentence form) that should be asked in the group (at the start of the process/project) and answers should be said out loud. This forces commitment to the responses.
HOW VALUABLE DO I PLAN FOR THIS TO BE?
Great question. If the process, decision, or project is not valuable - then why bother. I think what happens is that if it is not valuable to all the team members, then it is easy to sabotage the process, the decisions, and undermine the endeavor by adding 'dead weight'.
HOW PARTICIPATIVE DO I PLAN TO BE?
Another key question. If we plan to sit there with our arms folded, then why be there. If we plan to 'snark' at every opportunity, that is no help. But worse of all is to not participate to the fullest extent to make the meeting, decision, etc a success.
HOW MUCH RISK DO I PLAN TO TAKE?
Ah yes, that pesky risk taking! I have always said that taking risk is inevitable. If you wake up each morning and get out of bed, you are taking risk. The point is that to be involved (to be "all in" - http://connectingthedata.blogspot.com/2013/10/are-you-all-in-or-just-surviving.html), you have to take risk.
TO WHAT EXTENT AM I INVESTED IN THE GOOD OF THE WHOLE?
Investment is a key part. If you are floating, then you are not investing. In this case investment is an active participation, not passive investment. The other key part is "good of the whole". The whole; that is the whole project and the whole team.
Important questions to ask of our professional and personal lives.
David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (www.ideateinc.com). David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation. @dhaynestech.