Five E’s Necessary to Move your Team to Productivity

June 27, 2017 Five E’s Necessary to Move your Team to Productivity

This month I celebrated my three-year commitment to my total well-being, which includes incorporating a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise into each day.  To assist me on my wellness journey, I joined the Fitbit community.  Over the past three years, I have gained many Fitbit friends along the way, some I know personally and others through associations with my friends.  Each week on Sunday, I issue challenges to my different Fitbit networks and through agreement we strive to meet our personal goals and if by chance, win the challenge.  In all challenges, I know who will be the winner.  The challenges were a routine in which we were all very comfortable.

I don’t know if it was a Fitbit fluke or intentional, but one week the challenges changed so that we could invite up to 20 participants as opposed to 10.  It had become clear to me that each of my Fitbit groups had become complacent and had settled into the routine, evident by the low engagement and achievement of personal daily goals. Several of the friends, that started on the journey with me had moved to an inactive status.  This fluke was an opportunity for me to try a different approach.  I issued a challenge to everyone I was connected to, regardless of my selected network groups.  The first 20 to join would represent that group.  As I invited participants, they in turn invited members of their network. I ended with five challenges each mixed with new members.  I immediately noticed a difference in the group dynamics.  First and foremost, my natural challenge leaders ended up in a challenge where they were competing.  At the end of the first day, my natural challenge leaders were in shock and I started receiving side text that read: “Who is this person”, How did they end up in our challenge” and “What do they do…”.  The realization had set in that they would not coast to an easy win, and that extra effort and attention was required. 

The middle group began to challenge each other.  Not necessarily the leaders, to hold on to their standing, watching the movements of the persons directly above or below them. They started asking questions to the leaders: “How do you consistently maintain 25k steps a day”, “What is your motivation” or commenting to the other challenge members – “Wow – you are really stepping it up today” or “You are killing it”.  Words of encouragement flowed across the group – “Come on you can make the goal” or “Great challenge – keep it up”.  It had been a long time since I had seen interaction in the group, we had gotten so comfortable, we were no longer cheering each other’s accomplishments.  On Friday evening at the end of the first week around 10 pm, the top leaders began to concede with comments of “You win, I’ll take you next week”, or “the towel is in the ring, good night” and finally, “Wow I’m tired, you made me work for this”.    On Saturday morning when all the numbers were in, in every challenge the team members had had a stellar performance.  In one challenge, the top three leaders, lost sight of the other participants, and woke to a shock that neither of them had won. That participate started out posting good numbers for 2 days and then she didn’t sync any more for the rest of the week.  I knew she was a sleeper and that she was going to emerge as the winner.  Her strategy worked and she took the win easily with over a 1000 step difference.

The following week Fitbit returned to only allowing 10 participants in each challenge.  The same technique applied and each of my 5 teams consisted of mixed groups.  I found myself in 5 challenges across three time zones.

The dynamics of the Fitbit teams operate under the same principles of team dynamics.  In this instance, the participants had become complacent.  By slightly shifting the make-up of the team, it introduced a new Energy into the challenge.  This energy created Enthusiasm around the challenge, changed the Environment from being just local participants to geographically disbursed team members.  The shift tested the Endurance of each member to not only meet their goals but to exceed the goal. Members received their 25k steps in day, 35k steps in a day and 40k steps in a day badges – by testing their endurance and taking the extra steps necessary to be competitive. Ultimately, the level of Engagement in the challenges each week has sky rocketed.

A key point to note is that in the beginning, I was selecting which participates would be in which challenge based on my relationship with that person.  When I removed “my filters” it created for an opportunity for each member to engage and grow.

The Fitbit team challenge is an informal example of how we apply varying techniques in our team coaching. Team coaching is a core offering from DB Latimore Professional Services Group. We provide group coaching and team coaching ranging from development, to intervention and ultimately prevention (long term coaching at individual and team levels).  Our focus over the past few weeks have consisted of engagements both short term (1 day focused on team dynamics), 2 day workshops with functional teams and my long-term team engagements, coaching intact teams.

How well is your team performing?  I welcome the opportunity to engage with you to create a high performing team.  Don’t hesitate to contact me.