MVP Seminars Blogs

Much as been written and said about teamwork and team building to the point now that it could be a bad cliché as unsuspecting employees run for cover when the boss springs on them another team building activity.  Besides now you could not get your staff off their phones long enough to even conduct an old skool Trust Fall exercise. 

Knowing that staff working together in a productive way is the key to meaningful productiveness, what is a leader to do?  Some take the approach of labeling, like calling employees teammates and forming them into workgroups.  That’s like calling your Hyundai a Ferrari.  It might make you temporarily feel better, you can even shut your eyes and rev the engine, but its still not the same thing.

Oh ya, you still might be wondering what I was doing at 2 AM to learn so much about teamwork?  I used to lead a search and rescue team for a sheriff’s department in Oregon.  From this I learned three critical things:  1. No time for endless meetings and planning.  Get your resources together and help your team get the job done.  2. Don’t get too hung up about the process, just get the persons found before they could die.  Anything less is a failed mission.  3. If you want your team to respect you and each other, there must be complete trust and communication.

I know is sounds so easy when I list them out that way, but it’s that darn ‘Trust and Communication’ part that so many have trouble with.  I promise you this, if you can achieve it, magic will happen.  Not only can you form high performance teams faster, but critical bond will be nearly unbreakable.  Teammates will go above and beyond for each other, even risk each other’s lives for one another.  Meanwhile your workgroup is till calling in sick.

Next time you have a big job to do, think of it as a search and rescue mission, in a storm, 2 AM, knowing you are not sleeping until the mission is complete.  It helps put everything into prospective real fast as far as who you want to help you and how are you all going to work together to get the job done efficiently and successfully.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Jack W. Peters

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This question is perhaps one of the most important questions that can be asked in any organization and yet is one that may never be asked by management, even in companies with long histories. The answer to this question is ultimately determined by the perspective of management, which is transferred into the workforce. This perspective determines the culture - how people communicate and what is communicated, how people work together, project success, the value added by expansions, relationships with suppliers, even employee loyalty and retention.

If companies decide to adopt a "manage the value stream" approach, the management team will be faced with new decisions that they have never had to make before, such as sharing information, managing projects and solving problems. Sharing information, managing projects and solving problems makes are viewed by all as management's responsibility, so what is special about the change? Doing these tasks differently require people in management to "be different" than they were yesterday or the day before, which takes courage, commitment and a willingness to give up personal power in the interest of building team power. If management is not prepared for this level of change, they are likely to make the wrong decision. As a result, they will not achieve their goal and may not understand why.

 
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THE COMPOSITON OF AUTHENTIC CONVERSATIONS Most leaders think we know how to communicate. We’ve been sharing our words for years, but it is not the words that create the ability to communicate. It is the willingness to listen and to allow others to say things we might not want to hear. How many times have you prohibited your team members to say what was on their minds, because you reacted in a negative fashion? Maybe you didn’t scream or curse at them, but you showed your disappointment, rolled your eyes, or dismissed them. Since most people don’t like to deal with these responses, you are in effect telling them that you don’t want them to communicate honestly with you. Do you allow your staff members to have authentic conversations with you? Do you try to hear what they are saying without judgment—judgment of yourself or of them? HEARING REQUIRES NONJUDGMENT The idea is to allow others to converse in an open and candid fashion, realizing that when we close down, we are cheating ourselves of knowledge. In order to listen to others, we need the ability to not take things personally. What we want is to hear what they are saying without choosing to be hurt. The thing we have to remember is their words are not hurting us; it is our perception of what they are saying. In fact, they can’t hurt us without our permission. If we are taking what somebody else says personally and judging ourselves, then we believe what they are saying is true. We become angry or hurt, not at their words, but at how we perceive ouselves as failures. The truth is that we can always gain something from their willingness to be honest. We can either hear what they say and decide is not true for us, or we can distinguish the changes we need to make. Either way we are gaining information, which makes us better leaders. On the other hand, if we choose to prevent conversations to occur because they don’t make us feel good, we are keeping ourselves contained in a shallow box. We are not learning anything about the other person, about us, or about the situation. We also guaranteeing a distance between the two of us. LIMITING CONVERSATIONS RESTRICTS GROWTH When I taught a health class in the sping of 2013, I asked the students what they believed was the most important thing in a relationship. Without hesitation, they unanimously said it was communication. Yet, when I asked how many of them believed they had great communication skills, not a single hand was raised. When we had a class discussion about our lack of communication skills, the students were primed to believe relationships inherently had communication limitations. They were willing to accept the limitations, believing relationships could survive the restrictions. If all we are attempting is to survive our relationships, then we do have the choice to limit them. Remember, though, the limitation prevents growth between two people and growth in ourselves. The limitation turns into stagnation and stagnation is a sign of death. It is true that we can be half alive and still function for years. Is this what you desire—the slow death of who you could be? Or do you want to see all the possibilities of who you are and who you are willing to become?  
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Here are a few thoughts on team building through a breakthrough experience. Brian Biro's breakthrough leadership and team building experienceThe ancient Chinese sage, Confucius once said, “When we hear we forget.  When we see we remember.  But when we DO we understand.”  In my seminars I don’t want participants to simply hear about the concept of leadership, or see an example of breaking through.  I want them to actually experience it!  So the seminar finishes with the remarkable BREAKTHROUGH EXPERIENCE as every participant is given the opportunity to break through a one-inch thick wooden board karate-style! That's right, a literally unforgettable breakthrough experience. As we prepare for the breakthrough, everyone writes down on their one-inch thick wooden board something they truly want to move beyond in their life – a limit, fear, obstacle, habit, or doubt. It is the meaning they give to their breakthrough metaphor that creates the power in the experience. For some it’s fear of failure.  For others it’s procrastination, anger, stress, rejection, or loss.  On the other side of the board participants get to be kids again. Filled with the no-limit possibility-thinking they had when they were children, the participants write down what's waiting for them when they've broken through and left that limit in the dust where it belongs. The process of board-breaking empowers people to be their best when their best is called for and teaches them about balance – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Board-breaking also creates an unforgettable experience of real teamwork. Picture all team members cheering for each other at the tops of their lungs.  The unconditional support and energy is ASTONISHING!   The place is shaking, energy is soaring, and music is pounding. And when each person breaks his or her board, it is a moment of unrivaled clarity, focus, and celebration. For many people, it's the first time they've ever had a room full of people cheer for them and focus completely on their success. Now THAT's breakthrough leadership!
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THE BUY-IN: CRITICISM IS NOT PERSONAL Constructing a team begins with guiding individuals to discover their greatest potential. In order to this, individuals need to be coached so they can address their weaknesses. A team is dependent upon the strengths of each individual, and it is weakened when members are too weak to carry their loads. One of the most critical factors in coaching team members is to teach them that constructive criticism is not personal. It is a necessary piece toward building their talents. It is really an offering of assistance from the leaders who care enough to show them a better way, a shortcut to success. When I coached collegiate basketball, our players never touched a basketball, lifted weights or ran a wind sprint before we talked about the importance of being coached, which was defined as the ability to accept criticism from both coaches and teammates. Throughout the season we continued to stress that our constructive criticism was essential toward improving each individual and creating a championship team. While there are many ways to be constructive with criticism, it should be noted that the individual receiving it is still being told that what she is currently doing is not good enough. This means that no matter how carefully you phrase your criticism, it might not be heard it as you intended. What I learned as a collegiate basketball coach was that my players often did not hear the positive feedback we were giving them. THE FEEDBACK RULES It was imperative with our coaching staff that we use positive language, and we gave as many warm, fuzzy statements as we could when we were coaching. We wanted to build our players up and not tear them down. We followed many of the rules for feedback:
  1. Always start with a positive statement.
  2. Avoid attacking or judging personal characteristics. Instead make suggestions on how to improve behavior.
  3. Avoid “You did” or “You are” statements.
  4. Provide options for improvement.
  5. Ask questions to make certain the team member understands the conversation.
  6. End the session a choice scenario: Here is what happens if you do change and here is what happens if you fail to change.
  7. Own your feedback.
  8. Be specific when giving feedback.
  9. Never use the “but” after a compliment. It negates everything said before it.
  10. Only give positive feedback when it is true.
HELPING TEAM MEMBERS HEAR THE MESSAGE We tried to use as many of these methods as possible, but yet we still discovered that a majority of our players would leave practice thinking they had done nothing right. This, of course, is a typical reaction to criticism, the feeling of being incompetent or unworthy. In order to help our players hear our compliments, we instituted a rule that they had to say, “Two points” every time they heard positive feedback. Every time they heard constructive criticism, they were to respond with “Rebound.” The idea was that they would hear themselves saying “Two points” much more frequently than “Rebound.” This ensured that the player heard the positive feedback. It also gave us a reference as to how many times we were using positive statements versus constructive criticism. Maybe this idea sounds too juvenile for your company, but it works. You might want to choose different language or a different reward system, but the most important thing is to find a way to convince your team members that constructive criticism is, in fact, for their benefit.  
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The success of executive teams rests with each member knowing two things:

  1. what they need to achieve, and
  2. how they will achieve it.

The first part is about purpose and identity  — what results the team needs to accomplish.

The second describes the rules of engagement for the team — the expected behaviors while working together.

Over the past few months, I’ve worked with two senior executive teams to increase their synergy and effectiveness.

One team consisted of 26 people, and needed to replace bad habits, learned through the company’s old fear-based culture, with forward-thinking habits.

The other had 12 executives, many of them new to one another and to their roles.

And both teams needed two things:  

1) A clear team purpose that everyone understood

2) Agreed upon Operating Principles that outlined how team members would collaborate to achieve their objective.

The first part, establishing a team's purpose, is critical and is where a team often spends time crafting and reworking until the purpose is just right.

The second part, defining the Operating Principles, is too often left to chance and not given sufficient time to ensure buy-in and accountability among all team members.

This is why we find it best to establish an executive team’s Operating Systems at a single team-building event with a three-step process:

STEP 1: Divide and Conquer

A fun way of starting this process is to do a series of team performance activities, such as the ones we have developed to test team efficiency.  These activities are highly participatory, engaging participants while building trust between team members.

  1. Divide the team into groups of 5-7 people and ask each group to develop a list of Operating Principles that they will use during their activities (for example, make sure each voice is heard, clearly define roles, and celebrate successes).
  2. After each team activity, let the groups edit and add to their list of values whatever that they think will help them perform better in the next activity.
  3. After 2-3 rounds of activities, the teams should have a very strong list of behaviors that work, which will form the basis of the Operating Principles.

STEP 2: Blend and Combine  

The next step is to blend the lists of values from each group into a master list of Operating Principles.

For this, we use the power of the pen.

  1. We give each person a marker and invite them to write on a whiteboard the 1-2 Operating Principles that mean the most to them.
  2. The event facilitator reads each comment out loud, crosses out duplicates, and merges them into a concise list. The key here is to ask the person who wrote it, and then the rest of the group, what this potential Operating Principle brings to the team.
  3. In this safe environment, people can challenge and clarify these Principles in an open and helpful conversation with the aim to create a solid list of Operating Principles for the team.

Click here to download an example of set of executive team Operating Principles.

STEP 3: Make it Stick

The final step is asking how the group will hold each other accountable.

  1. Usually by this point, the team is so excited about the Operating Principles that they want to immediately share them with their teams and put copies up in every conference room at all the sites in the organization.
  2. This engagement is admirable, and while it is smart to share it with their teams, it is better to use the list as a way of holding oneself accountable, rather than imposing it on others outside of the team.  The main point is for each Executive Team Member to verbally commit to living the agreed upon Operating Principles (even putting everyone’s signatures on a single document).  Executive teams also encourage each team member to call out good behavior and candidly discuss the bad in each other.
  3. In the end, most executive teams decide to post a copy in their primary conference room and in their offices.  They also communicate the principles to their teams as a sign of leadership unity and to ask their teams to hold them accountable.
  4. Finally a 90 and 180-day follow-up is also scheduled to review and discuss the Operating Principles.

We have found immense positive benefits to teams who go through this process, and create and adopt Operating Principles.  This is one of the areas in which we as Stewart Leadership specialize.

Now we’d love to hear from you: Does your team have a set of Operating Principles? “Yes” or “No?”

  1. If “Yes”, what Operating Principles have you seen successful implemented?
  2. If “No”, how will you create agreed upon Operating Principles for your team?

Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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The success of executive teams rests with each member knowing two things:

  1. what they need to achieve, and
  2. how they will achieve it.

The first part is about purpose and identity  — what results the team needs to accomplish.

The second describes the rules of engagement for the team — the expected behaviors while working together.

Over the past few months, I’ve worked with two senior executive teams to increase their synergy and effectiveness.

One team consisted of 26 people, and needed to replace bad habits, learned through the company’s old fear-based culture, with forward-thinking habits.

The other had 12 executives, many of them new to one another and to their roles.

And both teams needed two things:  

1) A clear team purpose that everyone understood

2) Agreed upon Operating Principles that outlined how team members would collaborate to achieve their objective.

The first part, establishing a team's purpose, is critical and is where a team often spends time crafting and reworking until the purpose is just right.

The second part, defining the Operating Principles, is too often left to chance and not given sufficient time to ensure buy-in and accountability among all team members.

This is why we find it best to establish an executive team’s Operating Systems at a single team-building event with a three-step process:

STEP 1: Divide and Conquer

A fun way of starting this process is to do a series of team performance activities, such as the ones we have developed to test team efficiency.  These activities are highly participatory, engaging participants while building trust between team members.

  1. Divide the team into groups of 5-7 people and ask each group to develop a list of Operating Principles that they will use during their activities (for example, make sure each voice is heard, clearly define roles, and celebrate successes).
  2. After each team activity, let the groups edit and add to their list of values whatever that they think will help them perform better in the next activity.
  3. After 2-3 rounds of activities, the teams should have a very strong list of behaviors that work, which will form the basis of the Operating Principles.

STEP 2: Blend and Combine  

The next step is to blend the lists of values from each group into a master list of Operating Principles.

For this, we use the power of the pen.

  1. We give each person a marker and invite them to write on a whiteboard the 1-2 Operating Principles that mean the most to them.
  2. The event facilitator reads each comment out loud, crosses out duplicates, and merges them into a concise list. The key here is to ask the person who wrote it, and then the rest of the group, what this potential Operating Principle brings to the team.
  3. In this safe environment, people can challenge and clarify these Principles in an open and helpful conversation with the aim to create a solid list of Operating Principles for the team.

Click here to download an example of set of executive team Operating Principles.

STEP 3: Make it Stick

The final step is asking how the group will hold each other accountable.

  1. Usually by this point, the team is so excited about the Operating Principles that they want to immediately share them with their teams and put copies up in every conference room at all the sites in the organization.
  2. This engagement is admirable, and while it is smart to share it with their teams, it is better to use the list as a way of holding oneself accountable, rather than imposing it on others outside of the team.  The main point is for each Executive Team Member to verbally commit to living the agreed upon Operating Principles (even putting everyone’s signatures on a single document).  Executive teams also encourage each team member to call out good behavior and candidly discuss the bad in each other.
  3. In the end, most executive teams decide to post a copy in their primary conference room and in their offices.  They also communicate the principles to their teams as a sign of leadership unity and to ask their teams to hold them accountable.
  4. Finally a 90 and 180-day follow-up is also scheduled to review and discuss the Operating Principles.

We have found immense positive benefits to teams who go through this process, and create and adopt Operating Principles.  This is one of the areas in which we as Stewart Leadership specialize.

Now we’d love to hear from you: Does your team have a set of Operating Principles? “Yes” or “No?”

  1. If “Yes”, what Operating Principles have you seen successful implemented?
  2. If “No”, how will you create agreed upon Operating Principles for your team?

Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Note: This article first appeared on LinkedIn.

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The term “Diamond Formation Leader” originates from the diamond shape that is achieved when four airplanes fly in perfect formation position in three-dimensional space. I had the good fortune to be part of these diamond formations during my military aviation career. Getting into that perfect position for a moment is something that can be learned by applying proper procedures. When moving through the airspace, conditions constantly change. Wind is shifting, visibility is changing with the angle of the sun and clouds in the sky. Every little thing, like altitude, temperature, humidity, etc. make a difference in the environment.   Initially, to get establish the basic Diamond Formation requires significant movement and changes to position by each plane. To maintain perfect Diamond Formation position requires constant incremental changes to adjust to the environmental changes and then match the input the leader is giving to the lead plane to reach the destination or goal.   The concept that the Diamond Formation in military aviation is providing for business is to realize that four core, relatively new core aspects of a diamond need to be brought into balance to achieve Diamond Formation Leadership. Those four corners are: ·         Collaboration ·         Team Building ·         Cultural Sensitivity ·         Globalization For each of these four corners there are individual lessons to be written in the future. As in Diamond Formation flying we need to initially make bigger changes to even get into position and then apply smaller incremental changes to react to the environment and maintain positon while we are guiding the formation to achieve our and/or the organizations vision. The value of maintaining the balance within the formation lies in the ability to direct attention on the specific corner of the diamond. The leader of the formation is providing the guidance and each wingman only needs to line up two points to maintain perfect position. With the formation in this kind of balance, there will be no doubt that the vision or goal will be reached.   Developing the ability to make initially big changes to get in position and then small incremental changes to maintain perfect position and balance leads to success for the whole formation.   For the leader to be in front and lead the formation towards the goal and vision core principles and attributes need to be in place. We have conducted a study to determine what these core principles and attributes of a Diamond Formation Leader are and will describe them in Lesson #6 of this series. Learning how to make changes to maintain perfect position in the Diamond Formation and bringing the four core aspects into balance is the secret of success. When the formation is out of balance, we need to apply large amounts of energy and focus to get back into position and balance. That energy is lost and cannot be applied to perfect each of the four aspects needed to be successful in our ever changing modern business environment. Ask yourself what you have done recently to ·         develop and enhance collaboration? ·         contribute and lead to build and improve your team? ·         get a better understanding of the culture, heritage, and diversity of the people following and listening to you and what they need to trust and believe in you? ·         Identify and develop benefits and advantages to achieve the goals and vision of your team and organization through globalization? If your answer is that there is any one of the four areas that you have not touched or improved for some time, you are probably way out of position and need to make a big change to get back into Diamond Formation. If your answers indicate that you have been working on these four aspects, ask yourself how you can improve positioning and alignment to make it perfectly balanced. What are the incremental next steps you will take to keep adjusting and improving while moving towards the vision you and your organization aim to achieve.          
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The term “Diamond Formation Leader” originates from the diamond shape that is achieved when four airplanes fly in perfect formation position in three-dimensional space. I had the good fortune to be part of these diamond formations during my military aviation career. As you know by now those four corners are: ·         Collaboration ·         Team Building ·         Cultural Sensitivity ·         Globalization Today we focus on the first layer of Team Building and Team. It really starts with the selection of the right team members. In some cases as you get promoted and move up in the ladder of responsibility and authority you might inherit an existing team and will have to motivate and inspire the team members to follow your vision. Some people think when they inherit a team there isn’t much team building to be done anymore. That is not true. When you look at your team members as individuals who want to be challenged, grow, learn, and qualify for promotions of their own, there is a lot of work to be done. It starts by using a list of questions that allow you to determine where each team members stands, what’s going well and what’s not going so well. In this context, it is helpful to utilize the TCOY-guided questionnaire. I was involved in the book of the same title (Take Charge of Your Talent) by my friend Don Maruska. This questionnaire not only helps you learn where your team members stand, but also how well their own work and personal goals are aligned with their talents and with their vision for themselves, compared to what they are asked to do at work. In some cases you will discover that the best teams building you can do is to advocate for a team member to be allowed to switch to a position in another department, project or division of your company. The other use of the TCOY questionnaire comes when building a new team that you can hire. Then the comparison of personal goals and dreams with the needs and expectations of the positon on your team you hire for is even more important. When you do TCOY, both for existing teams or new teams, you have a first important aspect covered – alignment between what team members want and what current reality presents. The next thing that you need to apply to build a diamond formation team is focused on the aspect of style. You need to find out what personality styles exists in your team, regardless if you have an existing team or put a new team together. You want to have style diversity in your team so that all possible aspects and facets in upcoming work can be addressed by the most suitable style. Imagine you had nobody who likes numbers and spreadsheets and formulas and you are asked to create or check a budget. Imagine you are supposed to come up with a new approach to a problem and you have nobody with a predominantly creative style on your team. What if you really need to have your group band together and nobody on your team is a master in collaborative style and all the benefits that come from that ability to create community? There are many layers of team building, but the third and last one for today is the interpersonal communication component. Yes, there is a lot to be said and taught and discussed when it comes to communication, inspiring, influencing, etc. and I will go into that in future posts. What I refer to at this point is the “Diamond Formation Leader – Team Meeting Schedule”. It is important to realize that leading is looking forward, strategizing and heling your team members. They are to use what you provide to them to create procedures, plans, manage the process, implement, measure and control.   As the strategic developer of yur team, you need to stay in constant communication with them. For the DFL Team Schedule I recommend to have at least one weekly check in meeting with each team member (for sure with all direct reports) and one weekly team meeting for the group. If they are dispersed, use tools like Webex or Goto-meeting and insist that remote participants turn on their video. Don’t forget that about 70% of communication is non-verbal, so you want to see them and they should see the team whenever possible. You can rotate the meeting lead role so each member gets to practice. Finally you should have quarterly meetings with each member of your team to check on performance and goals achievement. Every other of these quarterly meetings can also be used for the official performance reviews. It it isn’t a regular practice in your organization you want to include a 360 review with two levels above and below you each year. Alternatively, an internal anonymous employee satisfaction survey can serve a similar purpose. There is so much more to be said about team building, but with these three parts you will already be well above average in engaging your team and building it into a strong, successful and supportive Diamond Formation Team.   More to come in future posts on the four core aspects of Diamond Formation Leadership  
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How does collaboration help in staying in perfect position in the Diamond Formation? Why is a Diamond Formation Leader successful when practicing collaboration and balance it with the other three corners of the diamond: ·         Globalization ·         Cultural Sensitivity ·         Team Building What do we actually mean by collaboration. The term is used widely and generously and in my view too much. I actually like the definition by Ephraim Freed.

“Collaboration means two or more people working together towards shared goals.”

For our Diamond Formation Leadership model, the first layer is to keep the formation in balance and position, as we learned in Lesson #1. In that context the work that needs to happen by all members of the formation is interdependent. The leader has to provide a ‘stable platform’ – meaning he/she is keeping the leading edge of the effort predictable, pointed into the direction that leads to the shared goal and with only minor incremental changes when needed to maintain perfect positioning. The same is true for all other members in the formation, everybody work in unison to maintain position in all three dimension of space. In theory that sounds pretty easy, but as soon as you add the environment and its energy to the mix this gets much harder in reality. When flying in diamond formation the environmental influences come from changes in wind, temperature, altitude, air density, precipitation, etc. When we transfer the collaboration in Diamond Formation leadership into the business world, we face resistance to change that might have infested the organizational environment. We might get confusing messaging form leadership that blurs the vision needed to lead towards the shared goal. We get frustration, misalignment between personal goals and company goals, sometimes even starting on a team or departmental level. We might not get the funding needed to stay afloat. With all these obstacles in the way maintaining perfect position and making minor incremental changes to advance the formation towards the shared goals is much harder. For leader who intends to collaborate, finding the right way to communicate with the team internally as well as other team is a challenge. How to create an authentic, dependable voice of leadership that is predictable, style appropriate and easy to interpret is a challenge that can only be mastered by constantly training collaboration and communication skills and seeking feedback. To find open arms form those we intend to collaborate with, they have to believe in the vision we put out. They have to believe that we are our authentic self and not a chameleon. They have to believe that we are fighting for them and defend them and help them. That is generating alignment hat’s needed to collaborate without hesitation. They need to know that the principles and attributes they expect in a great Diamond Formation Leader are demonstrated on a regular basis. In lesson #6 and #7 we will look closer into a study I conducted to find these principles and attributes of successful Diamond Formation leaders and why they are so important to the followers of leaders. The two that seem to be the highest in demand at this point in the study are integrity and listening skills. Collaboration requires several people, often with differing levels of authority and responsibility to work together. In the same way it requires certain behaviors, attributes and principles to be demonstrated by the Diamond Formation Leader to have a chance to collaborate with followers and others in the environment, it requires the collaborators to meet certain criteria.   For success to emerge, the collaborators need to be honest, engaged, believe in the purpose of the work that is needed to achieve the shared goals. They need to be open to take instruction and willing to provide honest and open feedback. They need to be flexible when asked to face challenges but authentic in their style and behaviors. They need to be aligned with the goals and in agreement about the steps that need to be taken to move forward.   While all those criteria for the Diamond Formation Leader and the Collaborators are being met, constant vigilance about the positioning in the overall formation is needed to make sure that direction isn’t lost while conquering the minutia. Those are the challenges in collaboration. When true collaboration is achieved terms like “in the flow”, seamless, intuitive completion of tasks, amazing coherence, etc. are commonly used to describe how successful collaboration actually appears and feels for everybody involved. Striving to achieve this state must be the goal, both for the Diamond Formation leader as well as the other members in and around the formation. Knowing how the prefect diamond formation looks like is the beauty of the model. At the same time, letting anything get too far out of position and left unchallenged, unspoken, and unaddressed can require such massive changes that the diamond might get lost. The best way to avoid it is to truly meet the challenges of collaboration and address any challenged head on immediately. That way any chance is minor and incremental and the formation that leads to the ultimate vision is maintained.  
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