Thursday, August 14, 2014

In which we have a teambuilding exercise only nobody trusts the feedback not to get back to the CEO so we all lie by omission

Dear Managers of [my company]

I look forward to facilitating your team development session. 

We are beginning the meetings with a focus on team and relationship, because everything
depends on the capacity of leaders to be aware of their strengths and blind spots and to recognize, engage and support the strengths of colleagues as well as direct reports.

While some of you have been with the team for quite some time, others are new to the scene!

Regardless of your experience with this team, I would appreciate your response to the following questions:

1)  What is working well?   
                Respect?  Communication? Trust?  Energy?  Innovation?
2) What opportunities do we have to strengthen our working relationships with one another to advance the mission of the business?   What are the barriers?
3)  What are you willing to contribute to the success of our time together?
4) What is one thing that you think I should know about you, your team, [the CEO], etc?
5) What excites you about your work?
Anything else?

Please feel free to respond to this e-mail and include your responses  in the body of the message.
Thank you in advance for your thoughtful consideration.  Be assured that your responses will be kept in confidence. Should there be themes that emerge (ex:  communication is challenging …)  I will offer the themes for our consideration during our time together.

I will see you soon!

Best Regards,

Judi Dench

That's the email that came to me and my co-workers the week before the management meeting.

My boss came into my office and confirmed what I had thought: that over my dead body would I give honest feedback to the facilitator.

"It would probably not behoove you," he said, "to be honest."

I spoke to my colleagues Jennifer Anniston, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Regina King. "Are you going to give honest feedback to Judi?" I asked.

They laughed. Hahahahahahahahahaha!


No, they had no intention of telling the truth, ie, that the CEO is a little bit jerky and we are all scared of him and he says he wants honest feedback but then when you give it to him, he gets angry.

"If we could give honest feedback," Brad said, "we would not need this teambuilding meeting."

He speaks the truth.