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Situation

Global virtual team, members on four continents, all passionate about the team’s purpose. Most members have never met in the flesh. Team meets monthly by phone or Skype audio, in the evening for Europe and Africa – straddling the date line, members in East are already on the next day, while those in the Americas are still in their morning.

Problem

Everybody on the team is passionate but the progress is strangely slow. Members find each meeting inspiring, yet come back a month later with little action to report.

The Coach

Lori Shook, expert on Organisation and Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSC) “parachuting in” – never met the team, had about ten minutes briefing from the team leader (Mish). Team likewise simply invited to “try working with a relationship systems coach, she is an expert and you can see what it is like.”

What happened

The team met at its usual time, confirmed their willingness for session to be recorded, and the coach had 40 minutes to work with them. I invite you to listen to the podcast of what happened, and form your own conclusions.

Some things to look out for:

  • How the coach gets into meaningful conversation with a team she had never met prior to the beginning of this call.
  • The impact of the voice-only medium on the atmosphere of the team and the session.
  • How the coach uses methods like
    • Asking for each member’s high dreams and low dreams for the team
    • Sharing members’ assessments of how the team is doing
    • Exploring the team learning edges around change
    • Getting team members to explore their roles on the team, what works and what doesn’t work
    • Encouraging shared design of how members want the team to be.

Feedback from the team

Two weeks later, at its regular monthly meeting, the team had this to say about the experience:

  • We got different perspectives on our performance – saw some of our successes
  • Recognised that amongst us there are different skill sets and visions – mostly complementary
  • Felt a new level of care for each other – spending a session on us and not just work outcomes made a big difference
  • We want to celebrate more – what we have done with the online information sharing wiki and these calls
  • We see our own risk aversion, an unintended consequence of our passion for accountability.
  • Feedback from the coach

    For the coach, the key was to listen for the learning edge of the group while engaging them in meaningful conversation about their goals and their relationship. For her, the learning edge was reached – and energetically felt - at the point where the team were asked to rate themselves. Digging deeper about an edgy tone she heard around the ratings, led to uncovering a deep organisational truth: “We don’t want to take on big risky commitments and this holds us back.” The coach then facilitated the group tracking the source of this back to their positive commitment to accountability “we are scared to take things on because we know we will be held accountable if we fail.”

    Conclusion

    An interesting case of the unintended consequences of a positive commitment to accountability – and one for the team and their organisation to take to heart in follow up sessions.

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Some of the practical skills taught on the ORS@Work course include "Alignment Coaching". In this exerpt from the May 9 online conversation between coaches in South Africa and Europe with Faith Fuller, President of CRR Global, Inc, Gail Wrogemann explores tools for large group mediation work with Faith.

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Live interview with Faith Fuller, President and co-founder of CRR Global, Inc www.crrglobal.com on the topic of Relationship Systems and South African Business. This podcast tackles the question of how South Africa's experience and its struggles can benefit the rest of the world.

Click "Listen Now" below to hear the (2 minute) podcast.

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"South Africa is a beacon for the world" - Acknowledging our painful past and present struggles, Faith appreciates our work with our own diversity and sees ways in which our efforts can inspire others. "How to have a collective dialogue, how to tolerate an opposing narrative and still respect one another" are struggles the ORSC tools can support and CRR Global is keen to bring them into the mix.

This podcast is an extract from Mish Middelmann's interview on 9 May 2012 with Faith Fuller, President and co-founder of CRR Global, Inc www.crrglobal.com on the topic of Relationship Systems and South African Business.

Click on "Listen Now" below for the (2 minute) podcast. For more about this work, please visit http://www.enterprisecoach.co.za/coach/systems-and-teams.

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9 May 2012, Johannesburg-Paris-San Francisco

Mish Middelmann interviews Faith Fuller, President and co-founder of CRR Global, Inc www.crrglobal.com on the topic of Relationship Systems and South African Business. This podcast explores the mixed heritages of South Africa - individualism and ubuntu - and how we can lead the way in bringing a balance that is needed by business worldwide. Faith draws on her experience working around the globe in its most individualist and most collectivist cultures and concludes that in more community-oriented cultures people ofen "...don't have a voice ... often don't take much of a stand, rather wait and see what the group will do" often ending up for example with unpopular governments, and "in highly individualistic cultures it's everybody's got their voice and nobody's listening".

She ends with a powerful systems vision for business to find a balance between these extremes - and an important role for South Africa at the forefront of tackling the tensions arising.

Click "Listen Now" below to hear the (3 minute) podcast.

For more about Relationship Systems Intelligence training, visit http://www.enterprisecoach.co.za/coach/systems-and-teams.

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9 May 2012, Johannesburg-Paris-San Francisco

Live interview with Faith Fuller, President and co-founder of CRR Global, Inc www.crrglobal.com on the topic of Relationship Systems and South African Business. This podcast tackles the question of "so all this relationship systems intelligence sounds nice and warm and fuzzy, but what's the business benefit?" In essence, in response to Mish Middelmann's questions, Faith Fuller lays out the business case for developing social intelligence and relationship systems intelligence (RSI).

Click "Listen Now" below to hear the (4 minute) podcast.

For more about the Relationship Systems approach to business leadership, coaching and consulting, you are welcome to join CRR Global CEO Marita Fridjhon live in Johannesburg at the Wits Club on 16 May 2012 from 5.30 to 6.30 pm - visit http://linkd.in/JflljH to sign up.

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9 May 2012, Johannesburg-Paris-San Francisco

Live interview with Faith Fuller, President and co-founder of CRR Global, Inc www.crrglobal.com on the topic of Relationship Systems and South African Business. This podcast is a scene setter about the roots of this work, which has been generated by Faith and her partner and co-founder of CRR Global, Marita Fridjhon, and is now available worldwide through the partnership network of CRR Global. The voices you hear on the audio clip are Mish Middelmann, the interviewer, and Faith Fuller.

Click "Listen" below to hear the podcast.

For more about the Relationship Systems approach to business leadership, coaching and consulting, you are welcome to join CRR Global CEO Marita Fridjhon live in Johannesburg at the Wits Club on 16 May 2012 from 5.30 to 6.30 pm - visit http://linkd.in/JflljH to sign up.

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