Teams are a staple in the workplace. A team can make or break a business, so we sat down to talk about what makes a great team and how any business can build them.
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About Our Guest:
Founder & President - Instinctive Solutions
Warren Barry is the founder and president of Instinctive Solutions, where he studies the instinctual or connotative aspect of the mind. Instinctive Solutions uses Kolbe Wisdom to provide business and personal coaching.
We sat down with Warren to talk about the truth about teamwork and leadership. Warren specializes in helping people learn how to utilize unique talents and skillsets in a diverse team setting to enhance the entire unit.
Defining the Conative Aspect of the Mind
A lot of the discussion with Warren centers around this thought of the “conative” aspect of the mind and, while many have heard of the cognitive part of the mind, the word “conative” made be something entirely new.
According to e.kolbe.com, “Conation is the part of the mind that drives you to act according to your instincts. These are the natural talents that, when acted on, lead to success and well-being as you use your creative energy to solve problems.”
Essentially, the conative aspect of your mind is the part that makes up your predisposed behavior. It’s the part that helps you act based on what you are naturally predisposed to. Predisposition is the tendency to liability to act or behave a certain way.
The Conative Aspect in the Workplace
What Warren and his team seek to do is use this knowledge and understanding of the conative aspect of the mind to help businesses align their team members with a job and team that suits them best.
This is something we typically think about most during the applicant phase of an employee’s life cycle and not as often (or at all) after. We seek the best person to fill the spot and good employers also seek to ensure a good match with the rest of the team as well. If there’s a really great applicant, sometimes a company might work to find another fit for that person if it doesn’t work out with the position they applied to. Lastly, there are times where our recruiters spot someone on LinkedIn, at an event, or through the windows of another business and work to reel them because they can tell that the fit and skills are already there.
However, what happens when the new sales rep has joined the team? How do they integrate with everyone else? How do they differentiate what sales reps target what prospects if they’re at the same level? Do you rotate who answers the phone or takes a lead? How do you encourage friendly competition without driving wedges in your team?
What if your company or team changes drastically, whether it’s new members or a major process overall? How are new roles decided? How do you ensure that everyone is playing to their strengths?
By studying the conative aspect of the mind, you can discern answers to all of those questions and act accordingly.
Of course, this may not be your specialty and it’s likely that you don’t have the time to do a super-deep dive into this field of study. That’s where a good business coach comes in. They can help you understand and make positive changes to stay ahead of the game and bring out the best in your team(s).
It is also a good idea to consider occasional trainings for your teams and leaders to strengthen their ability to understand each other and work together.
Things to Note About Your Team
Pay attention to where your team members’ comfort lies with varying levels of structure. Some team members prefer high levels of structure, heavy organization, frequent check-ins, and a specific and set schedule. Others do not. So you cannot expect all of your team members to have an orderly calendar and detailed plans for their week laid out in advance, especially if their job doesn’t call for it.
Some of your team members are going to be the type to need a meetup added to their calendar or they won’t make it. You’ll send them a message to have a quick chat and they’ll ask you to “just add it to my calendar,” while others prefer just hopping on the call when the need arises.
Maybe you can’t offer a flexible schedule right now to those who chafe at the 9 to 5 lifestyle (your artists and creatives are usually like this), but look at ways to meet them in the middle. Breaks are great and alternative work environments help as well.
If it’s a job that’s not heavily dependent on being done at a certain time of day, consider giving your employee a set amount of hours or tasks to complete for the week and let them create their schedule around it. You are allowed to do trial runs with your team members to try to schedule or work environments. Neither party has to commit right off the bat.
There are many other things to note about team members besides just how they handle structure. Look at how your team members communicate and understand their mannerisms. A team consists of many relationships and so it’s important to cultivate and care for those just like you would at home.