This year’s adapted “Brown Bag & Blossoms” event, hosted by Visit Alexandria, opened with remarks from David Gillian, a partner at McChrystal Group, a member of The Leadership Collection at Alexandria™, and featured renowned keynote speaker and former NFL and college football coach Daron K. Roberts. Read on for tips from these two thought leaders around recovery, collaboration and team elevation through leadership.
1. Aligning Your Organization with a Common Purpose
As you consider how to engage your team in a hybrid environment, it is more important than ever to ensure that every level of your team is aligned with a common purpose. David opened his presentation with a 17th-century parable about three stonecutters. When asked what he is doing, the first stonecutter dejectedly responded, “I’m chipping at stone.” The second stonecutter replied, “I’m earning two pence a day.” The third, however, answered, “I’m building a cathedral.” What is your organization’s common purpose? Consider the following thought exercise from David:
- If all knowledge of your business or event were to be lost tomorrow and only one sentence could be passed on to explain the purpose, what would it be?
- Once you have your own response, consider what David calls the “real test”: What would be the answer from the members of your team one level or two levels down?
These responses can indicate whether others in your team are connected to the larger purpose and core function of the organization – the “cathedral-building.” When working in a remote or hybrid setting, it is easier than ever for an organization to become misaligned. Asking these questions (and using the takeaway worksheet at the end) can help streamline your team.
2. Cultivating a Resilient Team
Resilience is the “capacity to absorb stress, recover critical functionality and thrive in [new] circumstances.” Here are three ways David encourages leaders to promote resilience in their teams:
- Ensure Stability: Stability is an essential foundation to resilience and is established from the top down. What are the critical behaviors that you as a leader need to demonstrate to your team? One of these behaviors might be an attitude of humility to receive feedback. “Your humility is the drawbridge to accepting feedback, which allows you to improve,” Daron says. “Elite people want to be coached. Others can see things you can’t see.” Additionally, in the hybrid world, it is even more important to have clear and compelling communications across platforms to your team, wherever they are.
- Enabling Connection: Do you have the right meeting cadence, people in the meeting and number of meetings? Additionally, now is the time to reevaluate your external network and make sure you are connecting with the right people. Daron stresses that this is an opportunity to glean as much information as possible by leveraging your network. “This is the time for you to gather the data and input from people on your team and your clients to find the solutions that people want to see,” he says. “In a world where there may be some in-person events, what are the best elements of the virtual world that you want to keep?”
- Enhancing Agility: A key element of agility—and in turn, resilience—is encouraging your team to experiment. This includes the freedom to fail and learn from mistakes. Your team will feel empowered to act quickly, get creative and, as Daron says, “Get on the dance floor.” “Get imaginative,” he adds. “What would it look like to have some of your speakers speak to your event virtually and some to be there in the flesh? What would it look like to have a breakout virtually that was tee-ed up by an in-person speech? There are interesting combinations that will emerge from people who are humble and courageous.”
3. Evaluating Your Common Purpose
Ready to take your team to the next level? Utilize this worksheet from McChrystal Group to evaluate your team’s alignment toward a shared purpose.
Listen to the full webinar here.
Insider Tip: If you are considering Alexandria for your next meeting, allow our destination experts to assist with the most up-to-date Alexandria meeting and safety resources. The Visit Alexandria team can help you customize your attendees’ experience of Alexandria with safe and responsible options. Additionally, The Leadership Collection at Alexandria™ showcases the offerings of an exclusive collection of three nationally recognized executive leadership and teambuilding opportunities through the George Washington Leadership Institute at Mount Vernon, McChrystal Group and Building Momentum.
Header Image Credits, left to right: Daron K. Roberts; Misha Enriquez for Visit Alexandria; The McChrystal Group