This is the Humble Inquiries series. In this episode, Leslie joins me as my co-host to humbly inquire into the performance and value of teams – which is the second of two episodes we are recording on teams. Nobody is paid for doing more or working hard. People are paid for producing results that matter.

In each episode of Humble Inquiries, we are deliberately going to put ourselves in the uncomfortable space of not knowing the answer and humbly inquiring about these challenges – with the aim to provoke new thoughts, actions, and practices – to help us better serve our coaching clients, and also to help the leader in you navigate the biggest challenges – at life and at work.

Show Notes

  • Leslie – “What makes up trust and why is that so special in a team and looking at it from the four components of sincerity, reliability, competence, and care and that, it’s not my language, it’s from the thin book of trust”
  • Sumit – “a caveat with any request is that people have the like people should have the permission to say no. Because if people can say no then you cannot trust any yes.”
  • Leslie – “in order to have trust, I feel like you have to be vulnerable.”
  • Sumit – ” if people do not feel there is enough space for them to be open either with their emotions, with their ideas or , just what is happening in their physical body, it will impact performance “
  • Sumit – “most of what we call us trust or psychological, emotional safety is created not by doing something extra, but by stepping back and giving space for silence. Like that uncomfortable silence, which allows the safety and space to emerge. “
  • Leslie – “another thing that I’ve become so aware of in that is the value of actually declaring that there’s been a breakdown, whether that’s been a breakdown in communication or process procedure, or even a breakdown in the team.”
  • Sumit – “I think we all know what is not working or what is wrong or what will create a breakdown in results in the future. But  we do not have that openness of, we do not feel free to talk about it. And that’s the value of declaring a breakdown.”
  • Sumit – “slowing down sometimes can actually allow us to work on these foundational elements, which makes everything else much more easier and much more productive.”
  • Leslie – “slow down to either speed up or slow down to be more successful, whichever way you want to look at it. Really. Has some power behind it. “
  • Sumit – “The foundational elements are not just meant to be understood as concepts like checking tick boxes. they are meant to be embodied in the team leader, but also then everybody else in the team, which will make any misalignment or any lack of clarity in that embodiment, very visible for people.”
  • Sumit – “it’s also the commitment to not just doing more producing more results, but it’s also the commitment to the purpose, to the standards, to the values and to the ways of behavior that the team has set. “
  • Sumit – “Every team has a customer and are we really taking care of their concerns and producing value and sometimes doing more or being busy is not directly correlated to that.”
  • Leslie – “our work fills the time we have available”
  • Sumit – “I have seen people being very relaxed, very calm, not busy, and still producing more than what they were doing earlier”
  • Leslie – “You’re not going to have a great day every day. So the other option is sharing that too. Look team. I know today I may be a little off my apologies for that.”
  • Sumit – “If people don’t have the context and they cannot suggest a better idea or they cannot suggest if something is totally not aligned with the long-term vision, the long-term purpose of the company team, or of the customer.”
  • Leslie – “Your culture is almost like the secret sauce of your organization. Words, actions, behaviors, and you’re clarifying and reinforcing, what’s truly valued in an organization.”
  • Sumit – ” the specifics of what is expected from whom to whom by when and for what reasons – is very important in every request.”
  • Leslie – ” continuous learning helps the team and individuals in general also helps the organizations retain their people because they know that they’re being invested in their own growth and development.”
  • Sumit – “as leaders, it’s very important to be conscious of. What mood am I creating in my team? And is my language, is my tone of voice, is my physical posture, reflecting that accurately or not?”
  • Sumit – “if you notice two, two different companies with two different cultures, what you will see is very different conversations happening.  once you identify what are the conversations, which create a particular culture, then the access to you is to shift those conversations. “
  • Leslie – “And your culture is never going to be all things to all people. It shouldn’t. Your culture should be unique to your organization and to what you want it to be, what you want to create, and the people that align with that will want to be part of it. “
  • Sumit – “You cannot plan or enforce a culture. A culture is like something which is out of providing space for a particular kind of conversation, connecting with people, then listening with them, addressing their concerns.”
  • Leslie – “A high-performance team is not a checklist to go down. It’s a fluid, circular process. It’s like dancing. You might step on your partner’s feet every now and then or you might fumble a little bit. You just say I’m sorry. And how do we get back on track and keep rolling ahead? But it’s definitely not a checklist.”
  • Sumit – “A high-performing team is not like an objective to reach and the team remains high-performing forever. It’s a journey.”

As quoted by Edgar Schein in his book Humble Inquiry, an humble inquiry is recognizing that insights most often come from conversations and relationships in which we have learned to listen to each other and have learned to respond appropriately, to make joint sense out of our shared context, rather than arguing with each other into submission.