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  • Tilo Schwarz

Spot-on Team Communication

Effective communication is a key skill for any high-performance team. Especially in a crisis situation or at crunch time in a project. Get helpful tips for establishing spot-on communication in your team.

Hi 21st Century Leaders and Coaches,


Effective communication is a key skill for any high-performance team. Especially in a crisis situation or at crunch time in a project.


Five things that should be clear when communicating in a team situation.

  1. What do we need to achieve next/this week (TARGET)

  2. Where are we right now (POSITION)

  3. What are the main impediments to address (OBSTACLES)

  4. Who will do what (NEXT STEP)

  5. When do we meet again (TIME)


For Leaders and Coaches, 'The Five Questions' of the Coaching Kata provide a helpful guideline for any team meeting. Maybe put them as a poster on the wall so everybody can use them as a structure for communicating.

A Starter Kata for spot-on Team Communication:


Tips for using the 'Five Questions' in a team meeting:


Question 1: The Target Condition describes what we strive to achieve in the next time period or sprint. It focuses and aligns the activities throughout the team. A week is a good time span to start with. If the situation is critical even shorter time spans might be needed.

Resist the urge to flip questions one and two. Starting with reporting the current condition often leads to a deep dive on a specific problem. Lift everybody's eyes up to the next Target Condition we strive to achieve by end of this week.


Question 2: This phase should be quick. No lengthy explanations and discussion of problems in detail. Get up-to-date facts and data. Structured and standardized visualization is very helpful.


Question 3: This is about identifying and prioritizing the impediments we must address today. In a team meeting, it is not about solving them right now. Avoid and stop lengthy discussions on problem analysis and solutions in the meeting. Look for interdependencies between topics and team members. Make sure they are addressed commonly after the team meeting.


Tip: As a leader and coach, identify who needs help! Coaching is about helping people to achieve their goals rather than checking in on their achievements.


Question 4: This is about who will address what and what we expect to understand or achieve with the next step.


Tip: Questions 3 and 4 set the daily target for each team member or sub-team.


Question 5: This is more about setting a next reflection point rather than a due date. Every action, every step is an experiment, especially in unknown territory. Hence, we should learn quickly and adapt accordingly.


Tip: Think like this: How quickly can we have the first feedback and learn from it rather than implementing everything and then find out it does not work.


Get more helpful tips on how to successfully lead in chaotic times and coach your team to navigate unknown territory. My free webinar is now available on-demand at kataincrisis.com


See you next time and as always, focus on people and foster scientific thinking to enable your team to achieve great things together.

If you like this post share it right now with a friend or colleague your care about.


Tilo


FOOTNOTES:

*The Five Questions are based on the Coaching Kata, a simple and powerful routine for teaching your people how to navigate unknown territory with a scientific approach. Details are in the Toyota Kata Practice Guide.

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