Canva - Writing Checklist on Notebook

This blog builds off of my previous blog, Change: A Checklist for Leaders, numbers 1-3

Change: A Checklist for Leaders, numbers 4-7 

4. Plan time to build caring relationships to build engagement and strong teams.  

  • We need each other. We are made for community.  

  • The benefits of building a safe culture and engaged team has been shown to build from the strength of the relationships.  

  • Time on the work clock, so to speak, must include time for relationship building. 

  •  For too long, sharing and team-building activities have seemed like frosting on the cake or even a little quirky like summer camp activities- good for us, but only in limited quantities. Providing agenda time or outside of meeting times to connect with one another is still not valued sufficiently 

  • All leaders need to make sure they routinely plan to include space in considerate ways based on various personalities to care and know one another. 


√ Action steps 

    • Engage the services of a company like WorkHuman or devise a system to routinely recognize employees in life events they are experiencing- births, illness, deaths, family concerns and celebrations.  
    • Plan time with a simple check-in question at the beginning of each meeting for each member to be heard. Listening translates into caring and caring promotes teamwork, which enhances work culture for success.  


5. Make sure you’re asking adaptive questions as the leader.  

  • What do I need to work on? 

  • Who needs to learn what? 

  • Why do I believe that? 

  • When might that happen? 

  • How might that happen?

Refrain yourself from quick technical fixes even though such may feel gratifying. There remain many adaptive challenges for you and your team to respond to as your new normal evolves. Stay nimble, curious, and hungry to find the answers together.   

Resources: Ronald Heifetz - On Leadership - Discovering new ways & new capacities to solve new challenges; leadership different than authority- mobilizing problem solvers who care. 

Adaptive vs. Technical - Ronald Heifetz’s work on adaptive/technical explained 


√ Action steps 

    • Revisit clarity for your immediate future by answering the adaptive challenge questions above and having your team do the same.
    • Watch the videos on Heifetz’s leadership strategies and compare to your current lens of encouraging leadership and determining technical and adaptive responses to current action steps.  


6. Determine priority actions 


Once you've reviewed your responses to the adaptive checklist questions work with your team to determine priorities. Consider Sinek’s pandemic strategy of using green, yellow, and red buckets to nimbly and quickly respond to limitations and opportunities during the pandemic. Green are projects that can be implemented right away, yellow in a few weeks, and red may be great ideas but will need to wait until post- CoVid 


√ Action step:  

    • Assess your current team’s priorities with Sinek’s colored bucket strategy to assure effort and energies are unified for greatest return now.  
    •  Are you and your team spending the most time on the green buckets?  


7. Assess how your team is currently working to assess health of culture and adjust as needed. 


This crisis has burnt away the shaft that might have previously covered up whatever predominant culture envelops your organization.  

Sinek refers that an exposed weaculture will surface as employees choose to work independently of each other and do what it takes to protect self.

A work culture that was previously built upon characteristics that promote a safe and healthy setting will transition in this new normal with the following evidence: 

  •  Engaged team members working together 

  •  Members who readily communicate their perspective because such is sought after and received 

  • Members who shoulder efforts for each other’s success  


Resources: HBR Organizational Culture: Creating the best workplace on earth by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones  

HBR: Six signs your corporate culture is a liability by Sarah Clayton 

Forbes: Ten signs you have a great team by Jodie Cook


√ Action steps: 

    • Assess evidence of members working together for success or working independently? Consider how to implement wider collective benchmarks to celebrate and bring a helping spirit to your team.  
    • Review characteristics of a safe and welcoming work culture such as in the articles listed or in works by Patrick Lencioni.  Make adaptations, as necessary. Inviting feedback with respectful listening is often a good starting first step 


Living into the New Normal 

New normal.  We are experiencing some changes already we want to keep. I want to be able to keep sitting in my front yard swing while working. We’re learning there might be a desirable hybrid of working remotely and working physically together. When we re-gather in our office spaces what can we implement for the introverts among us that have enjoyed remote work? Is it more fiscally responsible for some board meetings to continue meeting online and instead we spent time and money for travel for just a few gatherings in-person? We don’t need to spend so much on eating out nor do I need to drive  30 m. each way with traffic to the gym. Who knew puzzles could actually be fun?

Our new normal isn't quite set yet. We are in process and our country is in pain. Respect and appreciation for health care and front line workers including our teachers need to be brought front and center and continually practiced in our new normal. We must also remain in the struggle of examining and being willing to change personal and corporate actions to assure those most vulnerable in our society have more equal access to mitigate their risk from harm.  

Change: What else would you add to a Checklist for Leaders for this time? Comment below. I'd love to learn from you. ​

The pessimist complains about the wind. 

The optimist expects it to change. 

The leaders adjusts the sails. 


John Maxwell


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Dawn Yoder Graber
Post by Dawn Yoder Graber
June 2, 2020
Coach to Rising Women Executives & Energizing Educator for your Team’s Targeted Learning Opportunities.