Things weren’t quite working in the team.

The backlog just kept growing. There was lots of discussion – and lots of ideas – but despite their best efforts the team seemed unable to turn anything into action.

The ideas seemed to just drift away as the team then explored something else, then something else.

They were very experienced highly skilled leaders and, understandably, were becoming more and more frustrated.

Here red10 ‘s Kirsten Campbell shares 3 practical techniques that are always useful, especially at times like this.

Three Practical Techniques, Research-Based

In several red10 ‘s Skill Masterclasses, we introduce Rackham’s Behavioural Analysis.

Of the 11 Rackham Behaviours, this leadership team especially needed these three very practical techniques that are linked together:

PROPOSING Where the verbal contribution is new to the discussion and actionable. e.g. “I propose we open the window.”
SUPPORTING Where the verbal contribution is directly following PROPOSING and is likely to encourage the proposer to say more e.g. “Tell me more.”
BUILDING Where – and only where PROPOSING has received SUPPORT and is now being further developed, so that we have an enhanced proposal that has been built by more than one person and we start to get extra happening. e.g. “Okay, I hear you. How about we open the door too, so that we get a breeze blowing through?”
The backlog just kept growing. There was lots of discussion – and lots of ideas – but despite their best efforts the team seemed unable to turn anything into action.

Sounds simple?

The Rackham Behaviours can be ‘counted’ by an observer.

On training – and when working with leadership teams – after receiving their first scores, groups are determined to improve both their individual and collective scores in the second round.

More often than not, there are challenges to the 2nd round scoring along the lines of:

  • “I gave SUPPORT quite a few times and yet there’s nothing counted here – why?”
  • “I definitely did BUILDING a good few times too and yet there is not a single count for me on that behaviour – how come?”

Feedback – Unusual and Illuminating

If you’ve ever attended one of our masterclasses where we provide this type of feedback you will know it’s an unusual thing: to see your individual feedback, as well as that of your colleagues.

It can be pretty blunt, yet it is so impactful and meaningful. As a principle, we normally give individual feedback individually – we make this exception because Rackham Behaviour scores are best seen in the context of your colleague’s scores so that you can understand the bigger picture.

Often, leaders find that their feedback explains the responses they are getting.

Individuals and teams are keen to improve, knowing that Rackham’s research showed that increased scores translate into more productive meetings.

So, when people feel that have been working hard to increase the counts against SUPPORTING or BUILDING and see nil points attributed to these boxes, it can be confusing…why does this happen?

Nil Points Reason #1: There was No Clear Proposal

As you’ll have read earlier, Rackham’s research found that you would never have SUPPORTING without there having first been a PROPOSAL .

Quite often leaders think that they are PROPOSING , and they aren’t – they are just giving information.

There’s a power to using the right language. There’s a big difference between:

PROPOSING When you are just giving your opinion, the discussion tends to just move on to someone else’s opinion.
e.g. “Having heard all of these ideas, I propose that we launch Project X.” e.g. “I’ve been thinking for some time that we should run project X.”
Is normally followed by: “Really? I’ve been thinking more about…”

Nil Points Reason #2: Grace and Wisdom

However, there is another reason why SUPPORTING and BUILDING remain the most elusive of Rackham’s Behaviours.

This is because these two behaviours require a certain grace and wisdom to be able to give up on the need to have all the ideas…

This is a radical key shift to make in becoming an outstanding leader that creates other leaders around you.

It requires:

  • Letting go of the illusion of control, showing genuine interest in other’s ideas
  • Being intrigued and curious enough about other’s ideas…verbally and not just internally – so that you SUPPORT them, listening enough to create space for them
  • Being inspired by that to BUILD on their original SUPPORTED PROPOSAL .

Can You Rise to The Challenge?

PHEW… now you see why it is so rare!

We know how great our clients are at rising to a challenge like this and invite you to have a go and really feel what it is like to do so.

We are all ears and looking forward to learning of your experience… do tell us please, what was it like for you?