The world gets more complex. Reasons for this are for instance globalization and digitalization, but also the incremental number of expectations that organizations need to live up to, within sustainability, diversity, employee engagement to mention a few. Adding structures and processes to handle this makes the working environment even more complex. Complexity not only leads to higher requirements on intelligent collaboration and knowledge integration, but it can also increase stress and unwellness for individuals. Sick leave is becoming a bigger problem for many organizations, society and most importantly, for the individuals that are affected. Programs for recovery after sick leave are widely used, it is even regulated by law. However, even more essential is: how can we prevent this happening at first? In other words, how can we create an environment where people do their best, are efficient and feel well?
We believe that one answer to this is creating collectively intelligent organizations, which has proven to increase efficiency and engagement in teams. Research also tells that being in a team with high collaboration skills also reduces stress.
How fast can you see a change?
To change a culture and behavior with real effect requires a systematic long-term approach. However, our previous research has shown that teams that develop their Collective Intelligence during only 8 weeks (one hour per week) can see a large effect on their performance. That’s why we are convinced that a period of 8 weeks is enough to also increase the well-being of individuals in a team. Do you want to see a change in your own teams in 8 weeks?
Below is a list of how to train the teams’ Collective Intelligence that you as a leader or a team member can do. Our experience is that you will notice a difference in performance and well-being after 8 weeks.
1. Check-Ins – the space to share
Purpose: Drive openness, and by that trust and an open climate
How? In every meeting, genuinely ask everyone to share (one by one without interruption) what’s on their mind, for example by sharing “the status professionally and personally right now”.
2. Mention the purpose in every meeting
Purpose: High performing teams revisit the purpose, goals, and context systematically which creates a shared cognition and steers the effort towards the same direction.
How? Always start off every single meeting (no exceptions!) mentioning the purpose of the meeting. If possible, also connect it to the long-term goal, (an extra golden star to the one formulating this already in the calendar-invite).
3. Collective reflection
Purpose: Continuous collective reflection is a tool for learning together and to ensure that everyone is heard and that you use all knowledge available (often the same people do the talking in a team).
How? Dare to take 30 minutes every week (yes, every!). systematicity is important, to reflect over, for instance, how the collaboration in your team was last week.
To make it valuable, ensure to follow the structure for collective reflection: 1) have a specific question; 2) let everyone reflect individually for a few minutes and ask them to write down the answer; 3) let everyone share their written reflection one by one without interruptions; 4) when everyone is done sharing, discuss how and if you want to change any ways of working.
Start doing this systematically and we promise that you will notice a difference in your team after 8 weeks. Both in improving collaboration capability but hopefully also as a proactive measure to reduce stress and to make employees feel good.
What are you waiting for?
More Readings and Sources
Kunskapsintegration: om Kollektiv Intelligens i organisationer – Runsten & Werr, 2016
Smart samarbete – Alexander Löfgren