Welcome. Welcome to our second module of our course on continuous learning in teams. I'm Dana Kaminstein in Organizational Dynamics here at the University of Pennsylvania. >> Hi, I'm Ramya, delighted to be here with you again today. >> Thank you Dana and Ramya, it's good to have you again with us. This is Amrita Subramanian. Hi, Alan Barstow, also Organizational Dynamics here at the University of Pennsylvania. Welcome. >> In our first module, we covered framing, reframing, and systems thinking. These are very important aspects of understanding teams and groups. Today, we're going to focus in on diagnosis. I'm sure all of you have been in groups or teams that got stuck or weren't working quite as efficiently or effectively as you wanted them to. Today, we're going to focus in on how you understand what's going on. Which is the first step in terms of addressing those issues. >> Yes, more often than not, we tend to think that we can bring together a group of very successful, intelligent, creative people and voila, we have the perfect recipe for a high performing team. It's not true, most of the cases, is it? >> [LAUGH] >> And what if they are wonderful people, but they cannot work together as a team? Why is it so very important to understand what's happening in teams? And if the team is not firing on all cylinders, what could be happening? How can we identify this? That's the central theme of today's module. Let me start off with an example. I was once consulting with a team, a steering committee, on an organizational development initiative. And I observed some very interesting patterns. Every time this team met in person, they were very amicable, laughing, joking. They were agreeable on almost anything that was discussed during the meeting. But later, they'll send this emails to each other. Raising numerous issues and concerns about what they discussed in the very same meeting. Emails flew back and forth. Emotions ran high. Work got delayed. And the next time when they meet, and that's the most interesting part, none of these issues ever get raised. It's all back to hunky-dory. What then is happening in these teams? What's going on? >> It's very interesting. So what is going on that makes me [INAUDIBLE] when I'm in front of you, and then I send all my emotions over the email and consequence is that the team is not high performing. >> Mm-hm. >> Even though that doesn't take away from us, how competent the team might be. This is such a repeating pattern, so true. For instance, quick example that comes on the top of my mind, is I went for a coaching assignment. And this is the first time a woman is getting promoted as a vice president. It's a largely male dominated. Here's a scenario. The boss is quitting in three months, he's retiring. She's getting promoted in three months. The team knows they will have a new boss in three months. But they don't know what to do about it. So they were all waiting for something, completely stuck. And I thought maybe this is a unique pattern. But then I found out that this has always been the case in the company. Always, classic, this how we are, this is how we do things. This is just the way we've always been. >> So they keep repeating- >> They keep repeating. >> The same thing. >> The same thing. There is no, no reframing. >> I see two things going on here and I know, I've been in these meetings as well. The first is the culture of politeness. We're interfacing with each other, face to face. We're going to be polite. Learning and dealing with real issues, that's sort of secondary to just being polite. Being polite gets in the way of learning in organization oftentimes. It's part of the culture. When we do repeat these patterns, I'm also aware of the fact that even when people do put issues out on the table and explain their point of view or advocate their view, what others do is they turn away. They're self-absorbed in their own thoughts. They're thinking other things. Yeah, they're sort of listening to you, but they're not wanting to signal agreement or disagreement. So you're sitting there wondering, well geez, have they heard me? I'm going to say it again. And when I say it again, I tend to say it louder and with a little more exuberance to try to make sure I get your attention. And that's this pattern of just repeating, not breaking frame, not stepping back, not taking some sort of a time out and getting people to think about what's actually happening. Sort of a diagnosis. But just trying to push ahead and saying it louder or again. I'll do it again and they'll get it this time. That's a pattern that we see in many, many groups. >> And it's not just being polite. That's a very good point but also sometimes what happens is there's no culture of dealing with conflicts. So that could be one of the reasons as well. Either they don't want to confront each other in person or publicly or they don't feel the need to confront each other. Maybe it's an accountability issue, maybe they're just not comfortable dealing with conflicts. >> So we're sure that you've run into similar issues in groups or teams that you've been on. Sometimes these problems can go around and around for weeks at a time. And one of the things we want to work with you on is how to interrupt that cycle and figure out what's going on. Ramya, I was particularly struck by the example you gave. Because oftentimes, I've been on teams where, as you say, things seem to be fine during the meeting and then everybody goes out to lunch and complains for three hours about what didn't work. This is particularly problematic because you're taking what needs to be discussed in the team outside of it. You're draining energy out of the team and you're setting up a norm that we don't really discuss conflicts in here. We discuss them over lunch or over a beer. So that's one situation that we imagine you've run into as well. We want to talk a little bit about how to begin doing some diagnostic work in your team. The first thing is to step back or pause and to raise the question of what's going on here and try to identify what the issue is. Maybe it's an issue of the team is having a hard time focusing and they're getting off on tangents. Maybe it's that the team only starts talking about the important issues five minutes before the meeting is over. Whatever it is, try to identify where the team is getting stuck. And thirdly, collect a little data. And that can be done simply by asking everybody on the team for their thoughts about what's going on, what's working well, what isn't. You can take it to a slightly different level and do a little anonymous survey if people are uncomfortable talking in the open about what the issues are. But it really helps to not just make assumptions and to try to figure out how people are seeing what's happening. >> That's very interesting Dana, because it's almost as if when I start doing a diagnosis, I am figuring a way out of the stuckness. So you said three things, right? First is to recognize that something is not right, or needs to be looked at differently, needs to recognize differently. Perhaps the goals we're attaining or not attaining or the way we are attaining. You also mentioned that we have to sort of agree what the problem is. Different stakeholders at the table. I need to know, Alan what's your view, how do you understand it? Dana, what do you see? And of course, collect data. So when we are getting into this, and I was really, really stuck about the pause button. And I recall, Alan, you and I were talking about something awhile back. Say a little more about the pause. >> Well, I think there's a need for ground rules. And when you're going to sort of say, stop, hold on a second. There almost needs to be a trigger that people recognize as that's what you're asking them to do. So it's ground rules. We are usually so intent on our own view. Advocating, making sure other people understand what we're saying. Not so much about listening to other people's views, as making sure they understand our own, that we tend to be very focused. And to be able to step back and call sort of a time out or a pause, is an important aspect of effective groups. And it's one of the things that I think can help us reframe and refocus. But it needs to be sort of a deliberate activity, an agreed upon activity in a group. >> So if I were to try doing that in tomorrow's meeting and if you were trying to do that, what would be the good way? >> Well, I think you need to help set up some ground rules before you do it. When someone is in the situation, work teams and factories can stop the whole production line. No one wants to do that because there might be consequences, but there's permission to do that. The leader oftentimes, the senior person on the room has to help establish that that's an effective and acceptable practice in the team. >> Effective, well, that's a perfect segue Alan, to the next thing that we're about to see, just like the last module. In this module, you are going to meet a group of actors who are going to play out a scenario for you. So watch it, have your notes and pens ready. And this emphasizes what you heard all of us talk about. So you're going to see a team that is completely stuck. Really, really stuck. And they're not getting anywhere. And you will sense that. As you watch it, notice what you do watch. Notice what they say. And of course, make a lot of notes. We will be doing the same. We're now going to turn over to Quinn Boradelle, our narrator, to take us to that scene.