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I Can't Go a Day Without You

Before my mother got sick, I talked to my sisters about once a month. However, when my mom started to get ill, we talked weekly and then as her health continued to deteriorate, we talked daily and sometimes more. My sisters and I felt like an interdependent team trying to support my mom and thus we needed to share information regularly.

Leadership teams, when working well, are also interdependent and they should share information regularly. I was recently working with a school to help improve the performance of their leadership team(s). We worked on reworking the make-up of the teams, creating structures to hold each other accountable and the types of meetings held.

Another area we focused on was communication. Based on the work of Patrick Lencioni, I am a firm believer that teams ought to communicate daily. He argues that things happen everyday that the team needs to know about in order to work at top efficiency. This team was not so sure but a month into their new regime, the piece they find most advantageous is their daily communication.

The Head gave me an example. The school raised money last year to rebuild and improve the middle school’s outside common area with the promise to do the work this summer. The work did indeed get done but due to the entire campus' abundance of impervious ground, some of the promised features could not be built.

In a daily communication, the Development Director mentioned that a donor to the middle school project visited her to complain that what was built was not what she donated money to. Upon seeing this report, the middle school director noted that he had heard similar things from some middle school faculty.

Given that input the team got together and created a communication to explain what happened and why and shared it with the entire middle school community. By understanding a potential issue early, the team was able to craft communication which prevented the issue from getting larger.

Many ways exist to communicate daily from stand-up meetings, to software packages designed for such communication to sharing emails.

It is important to note that the communication is not everything that all team members did but rather what they did what might be relevant to other team members. At the beginning, that distinction may be a challenge but as folks get the hang of it, this type of communication does not take long and pays immense dividends.


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