Episode 60 – Intentional Teambuilding: Are You Producing Winning Teams?

Episode #60
Original Air Date: 06.29.2018

32 Minutes

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Our Guest This Episode: Sean Glaze

Are you producing winning teams? Are your team building efforts recreational (fun) or intentional (purpose-driven)? Join the Manage This squad as we explore these questions with Sean Glaze. Sean was an educator and basketball coach for two decades, and he learned many lessons along the way. Now a speaker, author, coach, and team building facilitator, Sean has helped corporate, academic, and athletic groups interact more effectively and become more successful.

Earlier in his career, Sean focused on strategy – the Xs and Os – and overlooked the value of team culture and trust. When Sean made the shift, his leadership became much more effective and impactful. Sean explains the importance of using intentional teambuilding to grow relationships, build trust, and allow for accountability. Once that trust is established, the project manager is able to honestly assess the strengths of the team and confidently coach team members into the correct position. As Sean states, “It’s tough to see your label from inside the jar.” Nudge your team to the next level – listen in for these tips from The Coach!

Favorite Quotes from Our Talk:

“If you don’t know why you’re here, you’re not going to do much WHILE you’re here.”

- Sean Glaze

"The eye-opening mirror moment for me was recognizing, at the end of a really tough losing season, I’m going to have to change if I want my team to change.  And leading teams as a project manager, as a coach, you realize that strategy is what you want to do.  Culture determines how well your people are going to do it."

- Sean Glaze

“How can I, through an approved awareness, change my behaviors? Because nothing changes until behaviors do.”

- Sean Glaze

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NICK WALKER:  Welcome to Manage This, the podcast by project managers for project managers.  It’s our chance to meet with you and discuss what really matters in the world of project management, whether you’re new to the field or have been doing it for decades.  We want to encourage you and challenge you, to cheer you on and help you avoid some of the pitfalls that can come along the way.  We talk to the experts, people who have gone before us, so we can benefit from their experiences and their successes.

I’m your host, Nick Walker, and with me are the guys who make it all happen here, Andy Crowe and Bill Yates.

ANDY CROWE:  Nick, it’s great to be here today, and I’m really excited about this ‘cast.

NICK WALKER:  Okay.  Spoiler alert, it’s very possible that we’re going to laugh some today.  Our guest is Sean Glaze, an author, speaker, and teambuilding facilitator who is all about inspiring groups to have fun laughing together so they can have more success working together.  He’s the author of three books:  “The Unexpected Leader,” “Rapid Teamwork,” and “The 10 Commandments of Winning Teammates.”

Sean has been a successful basketball coach, an educator for more than 20 years, and in that time has gained some valuable insights into how to develop winning teams.  He’s the founder of Great Results Teambuilding, which he uses to share those lessons all over the country, through entertaining speaking engagements and teambuilding events.  Sean, thanks for joining us here on Manage This.

SEAN GLAZE:  Appreciate it, Nick.  Looking forward to being here and sharing some great information with your audience.

NICK WALKER:  Sean, I’m always fascinated how skills developed in one area can transfer over into others.  For example, when did you realize that the lessons you’ve learned from years of coaching basketball could translate well to business leaders?

SEAN GLAZE:  That is a tremendous question.  And honestly, it was probably about eight years into my coaching career when I realized I wasn’t as good a coach as I thought.  I had spent most of that first decade as a coach, like many project leaders, like many team leaders regardless of industry, focused on strategy.  And for basketball, that’s X’s and O’s, and that’s skill development and strategy.  And you realize after you go through a couple of seasons where you know you’ve not gotten as much out of your talent as you should have that there’s something missing.  And what I had neglected for nearly a decade was culture.

And everybody has probably heard culture eats strategy for breakfast, but as a young coach I had never heard that.  But I certainly lived it.  And so the eye-opening mirror moment for me was recognizing, at the end of a really tough losing season, I’m going to have to change if I want my team to change.  And leading teams as a project manager, as a coach, you realize that strategy is what you want to do.  Culture determines how well your people are going to do it.  And so the relationships and connections that I then began to focus on made us far more successful in the future.  And I realized that what I had done with my team could hopefully help other leaders with their teams, regardless of athletics or business or others.

ANDY CROWE:  You know, as I listen to this, Sean, I’m thinking, strategy you could change over a long weekend.  But culture is a slow turning ship a lot of times to turn that around.  And especially if you’ve got a toxic culture or a problematic culture, to reframe that in a positive way takes a lot of time and tremendous energy.

SEAN GLAZE:  Absolutely.  And that’s something I think first as a leader you need to know what it is you want.  Because if I don’t have clarity about what I want my culture to be and what actually constitutes culture, I can’t deliver that or influence that on my team.  So a lot of my growth as a leader was me educating myself.  And hopefully those are some things that I’ll be able to share today so that your audience can move forward after the podcast to actually do a few things differently so you do impact that culture.

BILL YATES:  Sean, when we were talking before, you said there were five dangerous words.  That relates to this area.  What were those words?

SEAN GLAZE:  I think the five most dangerous words that any leader and any teammate could utter are “That’s just how I am.”  Because that becomes an excuse for poor behavior.  That becomes an excuse for poor culture.  That becomes an excuse for poor performance, versus me taking ownership of my opportunity to grow.  And that may not be comfortable, but I’ve got to be willing to be bad long enough to get better in that role.

ANDY CROWE:  Fortunately, I’ve modified that to say “That’s just how I’m wired.”  So that makes it all okay; right?  That’s different.  We just totally transformed that.  Okay, maybe not.  Maybe that’s not so good.

BILL YATES:  Sean, one of the things that I was looking forward to asking you:  Who had the greatest impact on you?  Maybe it was a coach or a mentor.  Who influenced you as a leader?

SEAN GLAZE:  You know, that’s something that I’ve been asked before, Bill.  And I don’t know that there’s been one specific coach that was that guy for me, or that was that female coach that kind of was the example I wanted to emulate.  I think what a lot of leaders do, if they’re lucky, is they do have somebody that pours into them, becomes somebody that is an active mentor.  I would guess that, from my conversations with others, that most people, like me, are really a combination of what they’ve taken in terms of a buffet, meaning that I like what this person does, and I like what that person does in different areas.

So there have been a number of really high-quality mentors where I’ve taken, not just X’s and O’s stuff, which is important, but a lot of the culture stuff, and how do they build relationships, and what are they focusing on that’s not going to just be important on the court, but off the court.  And that’s the same thing with leaders in whatever industry is my interactions with my people are going to be far more important than just on this project.  I want to make sure I’m building relationships.  And those are some of the mentoring, I guess, influences that have really impacted me and hopefully made my teams that much more successful.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, that’s good, that’s good.  You know, you talked about chemistry and culture.  And one of the things, when you and I were talking before, one of the things that you said that I thought was very quotable and right on point was, and I’m quoting you, Sean:  “People are hired for their technical skill and fired for their attitudes and behaviors.”

ANDY CROWE:  I love that.

SEAN GLAZE:  Yeah.

ANDY CROWE:  So how can we – I agree with that.  I think you have, you know, there is complete agreement in the room.  How can we as leaders influence that?

SEAN GLAZE:  Well, as leaders, you became a leader because of your technical skill, because you actually had mastered one role and were elevated to a new role.  And so as leaders, part of your job is to learn a whole new set of skills as a leader.  So how do I lead people instead of just leading myself?

ANDY CROWE:  Well, and you know, the Peter principle is famous for that.  It says you keep getting promoted until you reach your level of incompetence.  And so you get promoted to the point where you can no longer do the job.  But the advantage to that, and there is an advantage to that model, is that my boss can probably do my job better than I can, at least as well as I can.  He or she has mastered that level of technical proficiency.  And so there are some advantages to it.

SEAN GLAZE:  You would hope.  And I think we’ve all experienced that leader who maybe couldn’t do our jobs.

ANDY CROWE:  The pointy-haired boss in Dilbert, right, yeah.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, yeah.

SEAN GLAZE:  But you mentioned the Peter principle, and I really would take issue with some of that ideology because I think that certainly we are elevated to new roles because of our proficiency in previous roles.  But we become better if we choose to stay coachable.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.

SEAN GLAZE:  And I think that, as leaders, part of hopefully this podcast and part of your continuing growth as a team leader is your willingness to stay coachable and to continue to accrue new skills and new information so you can develop yourself and then be able to develop others.

ANDY CROWE:  I’m more cynical than you are, Sean, but that’s okay.  That’s just how I am.

BILL YATES:  How he’s wired.

SEAN GLAZE:  That sounds familiar.

ANDY CROWE:  But as I think through that, I bet everybody listening to this can, if they’re been in the workforce for any period of time, five years or so, you can close your eyes, you can picture one person who’s been promoted, they’ve done great, they’ve been promoted, they’ve done great, and then at some point…

SEAN GLAZE:  Until.

ANDY CROWE:  …they give up, or they’re in over their head, or they don’t care anymore.  It’s hard to know what happens.  But they run out of gas at some level.  And the scary thing is sometimes that level is at a point where they can really do some danger; you know?  So you never know.

SEAN GLAZE:  So, yeah.  And back to what Bill had mentioned, the quote “People are hired for technical skill and fired for interpersonal skills,” I think that absolutely plays into what you’re talking about, Andy, in that as leaders or as teammates, in any role in the organization, it’s not just what I’m good at in terms of technically, but what I’m good at in terms of relationships that develop our team success.

ANDY CROWE:  It is an old saying that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.  It is absolutely true.  And somebody told me that early in my career, and I truly did not understand why he was telling me this.  And now I completely get it.  I get it cold.  I know exactly why and what.

BILL YATES:  Yeah. Yeah.

SEAN GLAZE:  So let me connect that to what you were talking about, Andy, because, as a leader or as a teammate, what is it that creates engagement?  What is it that causes people to shut down and to shrug their shoulders and just go about the business of checking boxes and kind of going through the motions, instead of really being engaged?  That’s why people do teambuilding; right?  It’s because I want my team to be more engaged, to have better morale, to have better communication.

And I think that what’s going to influence that interpersonal skill is connecting people to two things.  As a team leader, my job is to connect myself first and my team second to two specific things.  And that’s going to be the thing that raises energy, that creates unity.  And those two things are what is it we’re here to do?  What is that compelling common goal?  What is our “why”?  Have you clarified that?  Do people really know when they get out of their bed in the morning why are they going to be going into work?  What is it they’re doing?

And the second thing is have you connected them to each other?  That’s where those relationships come in.  Have you given them a chance to build those connections among the teammates so I know enough to care enough more?

ANDY CROWE:  Right.  You know, there’s some fascinating research that a psychologist named Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi did.

SEAN GLAZE:  You’re going to have to spell that for me.

ANDY CROWE:  No, I cannot do that.  But I can spell his book.  His book was called “Flow,” so F-L-O-W.  It’s easy.  But he did a lot of research into this, what creates engagement.  And of course the team is a terrific part of it because there are times when I will put my shoulder to the wheel just for the people around me and for the sake of us achieving a common goal together.  But he looked deeper into the “what” and said, you know, there have to be – and I’m grossly oversimplifying this.  But it’s a big, thick book.

And he says, essentially, the “what” comes down to your skill level and the challenge of the task.  And of course there’s enjoyment of the task, as well.  But if you’re working at something that is too easy, then it’s not going to engage you.  If you’re working at something that is really difficult, but you’re no good at it, then it’s going to create anxiety and frustration.

And so he says really those two dimensions have to be in place in order to create – in order for the potential of engagement to surface, that you have to be good at it, and it has to be adequately challenging.  And so that gets into an interesting space, too.  He kind of takes that a little further in terms of that.  But I agree with you, too, that sometimes I’ll do something boring, or something unchallenging, or something non-rewarding, just for the people around me.  Maybe they’re into it.

SEAN GLAZE:  Because you care about the people, or you care about the why.  And having been a teacher for two decades, there are a lot of correlations between teammates, coworkers in a business, and the students I had in my classroom because you would have unbelievably talented, charismatic, likeable, capable kids who would shut down sometimes.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.

SEAN GLAZE:  Not because the work was too difficult.  But here’s the thing.  They didn’t know why they were there.  They would show up in the classroom because they were supposed to be in the classroom, and they didn’t have an idea of five or 10 years from now.  What am I doing today, and where am I going?  And the quote that I would share with them the first week of classes is the same quote that I would encourage leaders to think about.  If you don’t know why you’re here, you’re not going to do much while you’re here.  So can you, as a leader, clarify?  Because every school I’ve worked at, much like every business you’ve probably worked in, has on the wall, here’s our mission statement.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.

SEAN GLAZE:  And it looks great in the frame on the wall.  But can you take it off the wall and put it on somebody’s heart so it really does mean something specific and individual to them, and they feel like they’re a part of something larger than themselves.

ANDY CROWE:  And this is the beauty of vision, too, that a leader can cast a vision.  Because sometimes people will tell me potential – certainly in my life they’ve told me potential they see in me as it relates to something that I didn’t see.  And suddenly I’m thinking, okay, well, maybe I could do this.  Maybe I could have an impact here.  Maybe I could make a difference.  And suddenly it stretches you.  But it’s nothing that would have ever entered into your own mind necessarily.

BILL YATES:  Sean, there’s a question that I have for you that I think, as you and I were talking through the role of a coach, a basketball coach and how that relates to the project manager, resource management comes into my mind.  And I think specifically of those teenage boys and girls that you were working with who felt like I am all of that.  I’ve got more talent.  You are so blessed to have me on your team.  Now put me exactly in the position that I want to be in.  I’m a shooting guard.  I should be your starting number two guard, you know.  So what do you mean I should learn how to rebound better?

ANDY CROWE:  Pass?  Pass?

BILL YATES:  They should pass to me.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.

SEAN GLAZE:  Yeah, I think regardless of team there is always that person, whether it’s an athlete or a salesperson or a project teammate, who sees themselves differently than you see them.  And I think that one of the most important things we can do as team leaders is to help people see themselves a little bit more objectively.  And the phrase, again, I mentioned to you, I love the phrase, and I wish I could remember where I stole it from.  But it’s basically, “It’s tough to see your label from inside the jar.”

And as a coach, I need other people to help tell me what they see so I know where my gap is and where I need to improve.  As a coach, as a team leader, I need to do the same in having conversations with my people.  And whether that’s going over a video with an athlete, or that’s going over performance numbers and KPI stuff for my team members in terms of project stuff, have you given, A, an honest appraisal of where they’re at and what they do well?  And then have you given them that vision?  Right, Andy?  So here’s where your gap is.  This is what I can do to help you to do to develop you so that you continue to be a better person, give yourself more opportunities, but you’re also serving the team now with what you do well.

BILL YATES:  Right.  Very good.

ANDY CROWE:  Yeah, in the Internet age where there’s so much anonymous feedback, and you get book reviews from people whose name are “ToyTiger3,” you know, it’s like, what does that mean?  But then they leave a scathing review or something.  So it’s more fun to stay in the jar with people like that.  But with people that are really engaged in your life, with people on your team.  And being a project manager, sometimes you’re dropped, you literally almost parachute into a team that you may or may have never met before.  And now you’ve got these people.  You’re expected to create something out of nothing or create a sense of team.  And, yeah, we’ll go out to a night of bowling for teambuilding, and that’s kind of the end of it.  And it’s hard to – it’s a really big challenge.

SEAN GLAZE:  I’m so glad you touched on that, and there’s two things that you mentioned that I’d love to make sure we spend a little bit of time on.  The first is the idea of how do I have accountability conversations if I’ve not built a relationship?

BILL YATES:  Right.

SEAN GLAZE:  Because teambuilding, if you were to give a synonym for teambuilding, teambuilding is nothing more than relationships.  And it’s building relationships to a compelling common goal, and building relationships with the people around you that are trying to accomplish that.  So as a leader, I’ve got to build enough of a relationship with my people so that they, when I sit down together to have that one-on-one conversation, to talk about their development and their role, so they don’t automatically build that defensive wall which is the tendency that most people have, if they don’t know that you care.

BILL YATES:  Right.

SEAN GLAZE:  So I don’t know that you care, I’m going to be far less willing to accept some of that criticism or some of that input because my defenses are going to be up.  And relationships are the things that lower my defensive walls because I know that you have my best interests at heart instead of just being that nameless, faceless, critical voice that I want to protect myself from.

BILL YATES:  Right.

SEAN GLAZE:  And the other thing is you mentioned, and I’m going to be horrible in terms of clarifying exactly what it was you said, but the idea of teambuilding and that building of relationships.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.

SEAN GLAZE:  I think there’s a huge difference between going bowling and doing paintball or whatever those recreational activities might be, and what intentional teambuilding provides.  And that’s honestly what differentiates me, I think, from a number of other teambuilding facilitators or speakers is there is a Grand Canyon-size chasm of difference between that recreational event, which is let’s go have a little bit of fun together and not really have a whole lot of an impact or value attached to afterwards, and then scheduling something where it’s a leadership development day where, yeah, we want to laugh together and have a great time; but, more importantly, what are those takeaways?  What are the outcomes that we can be intentional about providing for our people so that they’re better next week, next month, next year because of the time we invested?

ANDY CROWE:  And I love that word “intentional.”  Intentionality is such a huge part of that.

BILL YATES:  So give us some practical examples.  I was just, man, I mean, we were getting ready to go play paintball, and now I’m rethinking that.  What are some examples of intentional teambuilding?

SEAN GLAZE:  Well, I’ll tell you, when I speak with a prospective client, Bill, the thing that I’ll mention to them is, “What is the impact you want the event to have?”

ANDY CROWE:  Right.

BILL YATES:  Mm-hmm.

SEAN GLAZE:  Because value is, again, impact divided by investment; right?  That’s my value.  And so, if you want to have an impact, then you want to make sure that that investment is going toward something that’s going to have a lasting change, not just on behaviors, but on the awareness that drives behaviors.  And so you want to make sure that hopefully, as a leader, you’re giving people a chance to have those recreational activities at times.

More importantly, sometimes you need to have a very intentional timeout where, in the midst of difficulty as a team, when you know that people need something, but maybe you don’t know exactly what that is, but the chemistry’s just not right, and people aren’t necessarily interacting the way that they need to be for your team to be successful, the conversations I’ve had with clients normally deal with the same stuff that my athletic teams dealt with, accountability and trust and communication and role acceptance and those things that are going to help your team be more successful.

So intentionality comes into how can I as a facilitator customize a program of activities and experiential parts of that day so that your people have a chance, not just to work together in groups of two or groups of four and laugh a little bit; but, more importantly, how did those experiences become memorable moments that carry an insight that they’re going to put in their back pocket and leave with so it’s not just them being a better teammate within the walls of your company, but they become a better teammate in their family and with their church because my awareness of how I impact the people around me affects every area of my life.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.  Yeah, I agree with that.  You’re aware.  That’s an interesting statement.  Your awareness of how you impact people around you affects everybody in your life.

You know, I think a lot of organizations end up making the same mistakes over and over, having the same things come up over and over.  And that right there is a good chance, an activity like this is a good chance to step back and examine the patterns and look at some of the root causes, maybe from a different angle.  I forgot who said this, but somebody once said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.”  And, you know, there are patterns and predictable things that come up.

SEAN GLAZE:  That is a tremendous point.  And that’s one of the things that hopefully an intentional event provides is it shares an increased awareness in your people and in yourself as a leader of what are my patterns?  What are my tendencies?  What are my assumptions?  And how can I, through an improved awareness, change my behaviors?  Because nothing changes until behaviors do.

BILL YATES:  That’s good.  Yesterday we did a teambuilding event here at Velociteach.  And one of our core values – we have five, and one is community service.  So we had a community service event.  There’s a YMCA program that has a summer lunch program for those kids who are in school receiving free lunch, but then in the summer they don’t, so they’re hungry.  And so we as a team went and put on obnoxious orange T-shirts that they provided and made sandwiches and sack lunches and delivered those and then played with the kids.  And it was hot and sweaty, but we had a great time.  I think any time a team can sweat together, they bond.

SEAN GLAZE:  And time together is certainly valuable; right?

BILL YATES:  Yeah, yeah.

SEAN GLAZE:  Just a chance to spend time.  And one of the things that is most interesting to me is, when I first got into teambuilding, it was because I knew that my athletes needed something that I wasn’t giving them.  I just didn’t know what it was.  And teambuilding is this vague, nebulous, foggy, cloud of something that oftentimes goes undefined.  And I think that it is this huge umbrella of activities and events and experiences that go from recreational on one end to obviously intentional on the other end.

And there is absolutely value in people spending time together away from the office and giving themselves a chance to build those bonds and to invest in something larger than themselves.  But I don’t know how much lasting impact that’s going to have in terms of have we built more trust?  Have we made ourselves a more accountable team?  Have we focused upon having better communication because we’re aware of our personality styles?  And those are things that maybe an intentional day might provide that recreational stuff doesn’t, although I think there’s a place for both.

ANDY CROWE:  Bill, it was funny for me yesterday to watch, as we started out, we were having to assemble lunches.  And you start with peanut butter and jelly and chips and sort of an energy bar or a chewy bar or whatever, and a little dessert snack.  And we’re having to assemble all this together.  And it was really funny to watch everybody sort of self-assemble because we can get a little bit fanatical about efficiency.

BILL YATES:  Just a little.  They were competitive.

ANDY CROWE:  And what was – it was really funny to watch this crowd of people huddled around these long tables and working, and then people would spot a bottleneck.  And I was just grinning, watching everybody kind of solve these problems.  And I’m thinking about all the nerdy theory of constraints and Eliyahu Goldratt, some of this stuff, and watching this.  So it was just kind of fun to observe it in action.  I think a lot of who we are as a company comes out in that.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, it’s so much about, you know, you’ve hit on some keys here.  With teambuilding it’s about building relationships.  It’s about trust.  I remember one of the sections in Simon Sinek’s book, “Leaders Eat Last,” is all about that circle of safety.  And there again, I feel like the strong leader is going to recognize when the team needs to spend time together building that sense of trust, and I’ve got your back, you know, we’re in this together.  There’s a significant “why” to our purpose.  There is a purpose, and we’re in this together on it.

SEAN GLAZE:  And you mentioned something just in the midst of the building the lunches, right, is one of the things I learned coaching both guys and gals is there is a difference, and it’s not emotions versus egos because there are young lady athletes that have egos, and there are certainly guys that have emotions.  But the difference I found was that there was a separateness in terms of how they chose to compete and connect.

I think that guys have to compete in order to connect.  So an intentional teambuilder is going to have some competitive aspect because the men in your organization, they want to compete in order to connect.  I think ladies need to connect before they compete.  And so they have to have those relationships and bonds in order to be able to be more competitive.  So that was a really interesting thing.

And the last thing that I would share specific to that experience yesterday that you saw, that leaders see, is sometimes we focus so much on efficiency in terms of strategy.  And that is our default tendency, especially as guys.  We’re going to compete, and that efficiency is important.  And what I found as a team leader and what led me to teambuilding is that efficiency is not effective when it comes to building relationships.

BILL YATES:  So you can’t just put it in the microwave and say, okay, boom, we’ve got trust now.

SEAN GLAZE:  Yeah.  And teambuilding and relationships and establishing here’s our clear goal and these are relationships and setting expectations and building accountability and saying thank yous and providing toast so your people feel rewarded and acknowledged for their efforts, that’s a process.  It’s not just an event.

BILL YATES:  Projects take a lot of time.  It takes a lot of hard work.  Again, I think of so much of the things that you’ve learned as a basketball coach.  I played a lot of basketball growing up.  And I remember the words that I hated the most from my coach were “Everybody on the end.”  The basketball court is…

SEAN GLAZE:  Get on the baseline.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, get on the baseline.

ANDY CROWE:  Is that when you’re going to be running the…

BILL YATES:  Absolutely, yeah.  That was our indication that our coach knew that it was time for some conditioning.  And we hated that.  It was always at the end of practice.  We were already exhausted.  But the conditioning needed to happen.  Everybody on the end get on the baseline, and you’re going to run these sprints that we called “suicides.”  And you had to hit it in a certain amount of time or you had to do it again.  And of course you guys know.

SEAN GLAZE:  Fun times.

BILL YATES:  The more tired you are, you’re not going to make that.  So it was like, agh.  But we knew it was necessary.  There are times with our projects where the team knows there’s hard work.  And then the leader has to know, okay, fortunately our project managers don’t have whistles and clipboards, hopefully.  But how do they know, how do you push your team to the right level without pushing them too far?  So what are some things that you look for in that?

SEAN GLAZE:  Yeah, well, as we finish up, I think that’s a key question in terms of recognizing there are going to be times when my people aren’t able to give 100 percent effort.  But if you’ll realize the importance of, A, have I taken the time and been intentional about connecting my people to a compelling common goal?  Have we clarified why we’re all here and why that’s important?  What is the emotional mission we’re a part of?  And then, number two, have I connected them to each other?  Because if you have those two connections, that’s going to provide the purpose and the energy that’s going to drive their effort.

And when you see that effort begin to wane, either it’s they’re exhausted and they need a break of some kind, they need to be reminded that they’re appreciated, they need to have that sense of reward, and you need to celebrate along the way and not wait for the end of the year banquet.  Or they’ve lost a connection to one of those two things.

And sometimes as a coach you need to remind them why we’re here is we’ve got gotten you – sometimes being in shape is a fundamental on the court; right?  Sometimes there are fundamentals you need to take care of as a team leader that your people need to be good at in terms of sales training or in terms of you need to be good at this particular aspect of your role to make sure you contribute.  And that’s not always fun.  What’s fun is being a part of something larger than yourself and being successful with those accomplishments.

BILL YATES:  Yeah.  Now, as a basketball coach, you could see signs when somebody needed a timeout, right, somebody needed a break.  The hands on the knees is kind of the classic, or the stupid foul, the technical foul.  Maybe they lose their cool or whatever.  What are some similarities that you see in corporate world with some of our teams when they start to, you know, the wheels start to fall off?

SEAN GLAZE:  Yes, that Snickers moment; right?

BILL YATES:  Exactly, yeah.  Yeah, that.

SEAN GLAZE:  When somebody just needs the Snickers to start grinning themselves.

ANDY CROWE:  “Hangry,” yeah.

SEAN GLAZE:  No, and I think that, if you know your people – it goes back to relationships; right?  If you know your people, if you’ve taken the time to build those relationships, you’re going to recognize some of those cues that let you know, hey, John or Susie needs to be reminded that I see what they’re doing, and that they’re appreciated, and they’re doing a great job.  Sometimes it’s just something that’s a quick clarification of,  hey, we appreciate what you’re doing here, because appreciation is absolutely a driver of effort.

Sometimes it may be, like Andy was mentioning earlier, they may not be engaged because the type of work you’re asking them to do has become somewhat monotonous.  How can you give them a challenge that might inspire them to go a little bit harder, give a little bit more focus?  And sometimes it is they really need the timeout.  Let’s give them a chance to laugh together and to remember that they’re part of a team and they’re surrounded and not fighting the battle alone.

NICK WALKER:  Sean, we appreciate so much you sharing your time and your experience.  Thank you for being here with us.

BILL YATES:  Hey, Nick, don’t forget about this mug.  All right.  So Sean, we provide this mug as a gift to you to show our appreciation for you being our guest on Manage This.

ANDY CROWE:  Highly coveted.

SEAN GLAZE:  Collector’s edition.

BILL YATES:  Collector’s edition.

ANDY CROWE:  It is.  Suitable for framing or drinking coffee.

BILL YATES:  That’s right.

SEAN GLAZE:  That is terrific.  Thank you so much, guys.

ANDY CROWE:  And Sean, for listeners who want to go deeper into teambuilding, who maybe recognize a need for this, what’s the best way for them to get in touch with you?

SEAN GLAZE:  Smoke signals.

ANDY CROWE:  White puffs of smoke; right?

SEAN GLAZE:  No, I would love for them to visit my website.  Obviously, hopefully this has provided a little bit of thoughtful insights and ideas for them to begin to consider.  If they want to take another step forward, learn a little bit more about what I do, they can visit me online at GreatResultsTeambuilding.net.

NICK WALKER:  We want to remind our listeners that here on Manage This we are all about giving you what you can really use.  And we know that we can all use PDUs, Professional Development Units, toward recertifications.  To claim your free PDUs for listening to this podcast, go to Velociteach.com and select Manage This Podcast from the top of the page.  Click the button that says Claim PDUs and just click through the steps.

That’s it for us here on Manage This.  We hope you’ll tune back in for our next podcast.  In the meantime, you can visit us at Velociteach.com/managethis to subscribe to this podcast, to see a transcript of the show, or to contact us.  And tweet us at @manage_this if you have any questions about our podcasts or about project management certifications.  We’re here for you.

That’s all for this episode.  Thanks for joining us.  Until next time, keep calm and Manage This.


Sean Glaze is an author, engaging speaker, and fun team building facilitator who inspires groups to have fun laughing together so they can have more success working together. His three books, The Unexpected Leader, Rapid Teamwork, and The 10 Commandments of Winning Teammates are powerful parables for building and leading great teams!

As a successful basketball coach and educator for over 20 years, Sean gained valuable insights into how to develop winning teams – and founded Great Results Teambuilding to share those lessons…

Sean is a member of both the South East Association of Facilitators and the National Speakers Association, where he earned the distinction of “Member of the Year” for 2015.

Today, he travels around the country delivering interactive team building events and entertaining teamwork keynotes that deliver relevant insights to turn employees into winning teammates!

5 responses to “Episode 60 – Intentional Teambuilding: Are You Producing Winning Teams?”

  1. Avatar Claudio says:

    Great insights!! Thank you for sharing, We really appreciate it.

  2. Avatar Sean Glaze says:

    Claudio –
    Grateful for the feedback. It was a great time talking with the guys and It’s terrific to hear you found it useful!

  3. Avatar pete gregory says:

    this was one of the best Podcasts i have listened to for a long time

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