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wp_MBD Leadership Teams & Employees

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Contents
Executive Summary 4
Introduction: Leadership Sets the Team’s Direction 4
Building a Successful Team 5
Team Evalua...
3
A Note from the Marketing & Business Development Council
Member Resources Committee Chair
Thank you for downloading Coac...
4
Executive Summary
One of the most difficult responsibilities of being a
leader is leading a team. Many marketers say wri...
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  1. 1. Contents Executive Summary 4 Introduction: Leadership Sets the Team’s Direction 4 Building a Successful Team 5 Team Evaluation 6 Team Structure 7 Employee Retention 8 Building Integration, Not Silos 9 Coaching Teams and Individuals 10 Executive Communication 12 Conclusion: Keep the Team on Track 13 Acknowledgements 13 About the Author 14 References and Resources 14
  2. 2. 3 A Note from the Marketing & Business Development Council Member Resources Committee Chair Thank you for downloading Coaching Teams & Employees! The Marketing & Business Development Council’s Member Resources Committee, which is comprised of fellow Council members, is responsible for producing these white papers. The Committee chose to pursue a series devoted to the many leadership topics Council members are facing, and this paper is part of the Leadership Series. After reading the paper, join the discussion in the Councils Community. We’d like to hear your thoughts, questions, and advice, as well as continue the dialogue on this important topic beyond the white paper itself. What are you doing to build and coach your team? Thanks for reading and being a member of the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council. Amy Davis Chair, Marketing & Business Development Council Member Resources Committee VP Marketing Red Canoe CU Longview, WA
  3. 3. 4 Executive Summary One of the most difficult responsibilities of being a leader is leading a team. Many marketers say writing a complex, integrated marketing strategy is a breeze, but navigating the often murkier waters of team management makes reaching goals, maintaining ownership, and meeting other strategic obligations more challenging and stressful. This white paper in the Leadership Series examines those challenges and offers suggestions from marketing and business development leaders on how to mitigate the stress. First, it’s important to determine if you have the “right” team in place, starting with an evaluation of the current players. Each credit union and each team within it are unique. You’ll need to determine the ideal structure for your team—for example, whether it should be tall and hierarchical or flat with few levels between staff and executives. Further complicating leadership, marketers have a reputation for switching jobs often, especially early in their careers. What is your plan for retaining talent? Another challenge comes when “silos” form—both between departments and within a large team. Avoiding silos and building team and organizational integration are critical to success. Part of the solution is effective coaching, of both the team and the individuals. Finally, communication brings it all together. Effective communication among an organization’s leadership ranks helps foster understanding and teamwork throughout the organization. Introduction: Leadership Sets the Team’s Direction People are bad at teamwork, said the late J. Richard Hackman, former Harvard University professor and leading expert on teams. His research showed that, most of the time, team members don’t even agree on what the team is supposed to be doing. In an interview with Harvard Business Review, Hackman described how it’s the leader’s job to bring team members to agreement on goals and purpose. To do so, the leader must be willing to take great personal and professional risks to set the team’s direction. “There’s no one right way to set a direction,” said Hackman. “The responsibility can fall to the team leader or to someone in the organization outside the team or even to the team, itself, in the case of partnerships or boards of directors. “But however it’s done, setting a direction is emotionally demanding because it always involves the exercise of authority, and that inevitably arouses angst and ambivalence—both for the person exercising it and the people on the receiving end. Leaders who are emotionally mature are willing and able to move toward anxiety- inspiring situations as they establish a clear, challenging team direction. But in doing so, a leader sometimes encounters resistance so intense it can place his or her job at risk.” Hackman’s research showed that successful teams share three main attributes: 1) They satisfy internal and external clients, 2) they develop capabilities to perform in the future, and 3) the members find meaning and satisfaction within the group. Since people come and go, and teams are always evolving, leaders must continually readjust and reframe the team’s goals. This means leaders must be comfortable with change and a continuous cycle of readjustment, agree credit union marketing leaders. And they must build upon team members’ natural attributes. Source: free-management-ebooks.com Attributes of Successful Teams
  4. 4. 5 “When creating, sustaining, and growing a team, there are two critical factors to consider. The first is will, and the second is skill.” Michael Terzian, Partners FCU “When creating, sustaining, and growing a team, there are two critical factors to consider,” says Michael Terzian, senior vice president/chief marketing officer at $1.5 billion asset Partners FCU, Burbank, CA. “The first is will, and the second is skill. Together these contributing factors create the underlying foundation for the success of any team.” The leader must find ways to bring out the best in both the team and its members, agrees Kimberli Green, manager of business development at $7.7 billion asset America First Credit Union, Ogden, UT. “Build trust,” she says, “and always be open and honest with your intent. Communication is key.” Building a Successful Team As teams shift, leaders must continually assess their effectiveness. There are many ways to do this, says Green. “For me, it’s the team morale. If morale is high, more than likely my results will be high and goals will be achieved.” Sometimes minor adjustments can make a big difference, she adds. “Often, it’s the case of a great team member who’s sitting in the wrong seat on the bus. As a leader, you need to find out your team’s best qualities and where they shine. We want to put them in a place where they can be the most successful.” Team talent, cohesion, and collaboration are requirements, agrees Suzie Cook, director, marketing and community involvement at $250 million asset Arlington Community Federal Credit Union, Arlington, VA. “I need to have high- performing individuals who also can work well as a team, since marketing receives a lot of last-minute requests,” she says. “Therefore, I need a team that can work together using their individual strengths to meet requests.” All teams go through stages, and one of the most respected models to illustrate this was developed by group dynamics expert Bruce Tuckman in his four-stage model of forming, storming, norming, and performing. In the forming stage, individuals come together to form a new team or to welcome a new member. At the storming stage, team members feel more comfortable expressing opinions and questioning the status quo. There may be evidence of internal conflict. Moving to norming, team members focus on resolving differences so the mission and goals can be clearly defined. The team should arrive at decisions that are more in line with their shared purpose than from a position of compromise. Finally, in the performing stage, the team has reached the final stage of its development and can now bring real benefits to you and the organization, notes the report, “Understanding Team Dynamics,” from Free Management eBooks. “Your team members are now competent, autonomous, and able to handle the decision-making process without supervision,” describes the report. “Your team has been accomplishing work at every stage, but it’s at this ‘performing’ stage that work is accomplished most effectively. Morale is high and the general atmosphere is positive. Team members’ attitudes are characterized by positive feelings and eagerness to be part of the team. “Members are confident about the outcome, enjoy open communication, exhibit high energy, and disagreement is expected and allowed as long as it is channeled through means acceptable to the team. Leadership within the team is often shared and tasks are delegated within the team, which makes the overall decision-making process operate more easily than at earlier stages.” Once you know the goals for your team, that’s where you start, says Terzian. “Start with the end in mind. Four Stages of Team Development Source: Bruce Tuckman and free-management-ebooks.com
  5. 5. 6 What do you need your team to accomplish for the organization to achieve its stated mission?” From a technical perspective, perhaps there are specific skills and abilities mandatory to achieving your goals, he suggests. Once you identify and catalog these requirements, begin to assemble the perfect puzzle with each employee, vendor, and partnership in mind. “Don’t limit yourself to employees only,” says Terzian. “Many times, outsourced relationships are simply extensions of the team, fulfilling needed skills and abilities, but also displaying your culture. “Cultural fit must be considered for any new (or subtraction) to the team. What corporate behaviors are defined, and how are employees expected to demonstrate them? While technical ability is critical, cultural fit can be a team-killer. Take time to think through not just your organization’s culture but specifically the culture of your team.” Every new addition to the team will either strengthen or weaken the existing culture, he adds. “Account for this during your hiring process.” You’ll know you’re on the right track when the team “machine” works smoothly. Lance Kissler, marketing manager at $2.4 billion asset STCU, Spokane, WA, says effective, healthy teams:  Have fun in the workplace and engage in conversations that aren’t always related to work (and that’s OK). Laughter or upbeat conversations among team members are good signs.  Take initiative to make things better. Team members take pride and ownership in what they do—to the level that they aren’t waiting for instructions or requests.  Ask thoughtful, curious questions, and feel comfortable doing so in a group setting. This can mean sharing their creative ideas in a “critique” fashion or “spitballing” ideas during a campaign. It also means addressing the more difficult questions, such as why a change in strategy, policy, or otherwise is necessary. Team Evaluation Evaluating a team, to make sure the right players are in the right positions and the goals are on track, requires time and attention to detail, says Cook. It means analyzing what “high-performing” looks like compared with “ground truth” reality. “Any gaps are analyzed as to whether they’re related to training, aptitude, or attitude,” she says. “In most cases, it’s about attitude, and that’s coachable.” “To evaluate any team, goals must be clearly set and roles must be accurately defined,” says Terzian. “Preferably, all goals are created using the SMART methodology (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound) and the entire team not only understands them but believes in the merit of the goals.” Next, evaluating the team requires looking at the individual as well as the team, he adds. Ideally, the team participates in this evaluation following a 360- degree format, where each person evaluates both his or her own contributions and the team members’ contributions. “Once this process is complete, it’s up to the leader to leverage this evaluation to recognize success, uncover areas of opportunity, and finally improve the overall effectiveness of the team,” he says. Kissler says STCU evaluates employees individually at the credit union on an annual basis. “We also conduct monthly check-ins, referred to as ‘connections,’ which The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team John Wiley & Sons Inc., in the report, “The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team,” notes that five behaviors are essential to a healthy, well-functioning team: 1) building trust, 2) mastering conflict, 3) achieving commitment, 4) embracing accountability, and 5) focusing on results. This is based on a model developed by Patrick Lencioni and outlined in his book, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.” The five behaviors aren’t distinct issues that can be viewed in isolation; rather, they build upon one another:  Members of a truly cohesive team must trust one another in order to engage in unfiltered conflict.  They must engage in conflict so they can commit to decisions and plans of action.  Once team members are committed, they hold one another accountable for delivering against those plans.  After holding one another accountable, they focus on achievement of collective results.
  6. 6. 7 is a time when the direct report ‘owns’ the meeting.” The employee creates the agenda and leads the conversation. While there’s no formal evaluation of the team, he adds, he checks to make sure the team, as a whole, is having fun, taking initiative, and is curious and feeling comfortable. “I also ask for feedback about team members as part of their annual review, and always seek out their peers for that information.” Any effective evaluation also must include 360-degree consideration, including the leader, says Green. “It’s not just about a leader evaluating a team performance. True leaders can take a look in the mirror and be very open with feedback. Ask what they, themselves, can be doing better or differently to achieve greater results. “It’s not always easy, but when your intent is in the right place, amazing things happen.” Team Structure The best structure for any team depends on many variables—from management preference to organizational culture to tradition and planned adjustments. What structure works best for credit unions? “The answer truly is, ‘It depends,’” says Terzian. “When evaluating whether a vertical or a horizontal team structure is best, start first with the purpose or mission of the team.” In many cases a horizontal or “flat” structure is preferred. Through a flat structure, team members are empowered to lead and execute, whereas often with a vertical or “tall” structure, the focus is simply on executing specific task-based action items. It’s not a question of one being better than the other, but rather a question of fit, he adds. “If your priority is to complete a mundane but necessary project, at times a tall structure will be appropriate. However for more strategic, creative, or innovative projects, deploying a flat structure may suit the team better. “One key action that must be instilled with a flat structure is the ‘why’ of the project,” he adds. “Tall project teams will be proficient in ‘what’ and ‘how’ (as must flat project teams). However, they may not need the ‘why’ in order to achieve the well-defined process. With a tall project team, the ‘why’ will keep the team grounded and focused on the project’s greater purpose, even when the ‘what’ and ‘how’ are still being determined.” Cook says her ideal structure is flat, due to the numerous areas covered in a typical marketing department. Each position wears many hats. The size of the organization helps determine the appropriate structure, says Kissler, as well as the roles needed and the available internal staff. Types of Team Structures Hierarchical, top-down structures were most prevalent in the past, but more organizations are considering and implementing alternative structures, notes Gabe Duverge, for Touro University Worldwide. “Most nontraditional systems remove managers and offer flexibility that a traditional hierarchy doesn’t offer,” he explains. Four alternatives widely adopted worldwide include:  Flatter structures, which focus on opening up communication and collaboration by decreasing the number of layers, hopefully making leaders far more approachable;  Self-managed organizations, with no managers, job titles, or seniority—employees work together to list projects that should be completed;  Flatarchies, which are hybrids of the first two— incorporating some hierarchy, but allowing for the creation of ad hoc flat teams, to encourage innovation; and  Holacracy, allowing individual employees to work on what they do best. Job titles become roles structured around work, and people can hold multiple roles.
  7. 7. 8 “If it’s totally flat, there can be too many chiefs and nothing gets accomplished. Make it too tall and no one likes a dictatorship.” Kimberli Green, America First Credit Union “There’s no silver bullet for retention. However, if you take the time to understand your employees, the odds of deploying successful retention methods will increase.” Michael Terzian, Partners FCU “For example, we only outsource a few functions, such as media buying, video production, and radio spots (voiceover talent),” he explains. “We do our own motion graphics/animation in-house; live action, and other projects are done in partnership with a local agency. For us, it’s a fairly flat structure. “But, as our organization grows and our department grows, I can see the need for additional levels of supervision,” he adds. “To effectively develop and coach employees, you need to be able to dedicate your time and energy to them. If you’re spread too thin among numerous employees (while also trying to do all your other work), you won’t be successful. Ideally, I think a supervisor should have no more than six to eight employees. Also, there are benefits to grouping functionally similar teams—such as all your web/digital staff into one unit that interacts with other areas.” Green prefers a hybrid structure. “If it’s totally flat, there can be too many chiefs and nothing gets accomplished. Make it too tall and no one likes a dictatorship,” she explains. “Everyone needs to know their roles and to understand how they contribute to the team’s successes and failures.” Employee Retention Sometimes you build a fabulous team, and then someone leaves…and then another. This happens to all teams, at some point, but it’s more common for marketing teams, says Kissler. “Unlike the frontline/branch structure,” he explains, “where there are clear pathways for career advancement and professional growth (such as moving up the ladder of teller positions to member service reps to branch management, etc.), marketing tends to have lots of specialized areas, leaving you fewer options, such as adding ‘senior’ before the job description.” To help retain great staff, he recommends:  Establish and document structure—including positions that aren’t vacant—so employees know there are advancement opportunities that could eventually position them for leadership roles;  Provide opportunities to develop leadership skills, both internally and externally; and  Position them for growth with other departments—not necessarily moving into other departments, but serving as the “face of marketing” when appropriate. This can include representing marketing at meetings, delivering presentations to leadership, and so on. These interfaces with other departments are excellent opportunities for employees to showcase their talents and potential to others throughout the organization, says Kissler. “I encourage my employees to participate in programs our talent development department offers, as well as programs offered outside the organization, such as Leadership Spokane,” he adds. “I also encourage them to become involved in the community, especially with board/committee opportunities, where they can lead a team or participate at a high level.” Of course, as new talent enters the workforce, some job migration is not only inevitable but also healthy, for both the organization and the employee, says Terzian. Retention strategies (of key talent) don’t come in a one-size-fits-all solution. “At the highest level, all employees want to feel valued, be rewarded, and grow in their respective roles,” he says. “It’s important to demonstrate empathy and genuine interest in each key employee. There’s no silver bullet for retention. However, if you take the time to understand your employees, the odds of deploying successful retention methods will increase.”
  8. 8. 9 It’s all about feeling valued, agrees Green. “Credit unions need to get outside the box. Sometimes that’s difficult when you have leaders who’ve been in the seat many years. Don’t be afraid to try something new and rely on the skills and knowledge of your team. Sometimes a little trust and freedom creates award- winning ideas. Retaining talent also has a lot to do with making good hiring decisions based on cultural fit, more than skill sets, says Cook. Skills can be taught but culture requires buy-in and belief. “It’s important to lay out the cultural expectations more so than specific task expectations,” she explains. “Using a team interview approach helps with culture- matching,” she says. Once new employees are hired, leaders should work to understand their career goals and help them create development plans that support their goals. “Listening to their ideas, helping them learn strategy, and keeping them informed of how our business works makes them feel more valued and connected to the credit union.” Building Integration, Not Silos Silos—both within and between marketing and other departments—are the scourge of marketing departments, notes the Forbes Insights report, “Breaking Down Marketing Silos.” Because they tend to be more segmented, marketing teams are prime candidates for silos, according to Forbes. “These silos not only chip away at employee morale and create interoffice tension, they also undermine customer satisfaction, reduce efficiency, significantly increase costs, and overall will erode the bottom line.” Six major challenges with silos, according to the report, are: 1. Each silo may have its own brand vision, creating a disjointed experience and message for the customer. 2. Team incentives may motivate some team members to exploit and damage the brand in order to boost short-term sales. 3. Poorly integrated teams suffer from inadequate cooperation. 4. Silo interests stand in the way of programs that require scaling. 5. Key growth areas such as digital are not scaled because they are dispersed across silos. 6. Success in one silo is leveraged slowly into others, or not at all. How do credit unions meet these challenges? “Building team integration and avoiding silos requires regular, clear, engaging communication by all team members,” says Terzian. While there are many successful tactics, he adds, setting and managing expectations regardless of the communication tactic are keys to success. “It’s critical to bring the team together through structured opportunities across all levels of the team. As decisions are needed, the team should meet and decide together, when possible. Mike Terzian: Team Members Mike Terzian says it’s important for team members to:  Feel valued, which can be conveyed through a combination of compensation, allowing them to have a voice, encouraging ownership of key portions of projects, and more.  Be rewarded—this means compensation must be fair, but beyond that, providing some form of incentive. It also means acknowledging accomplishment through “softer” activities (for example, taking employees to lunch or providing some reasonable comp time for a job well done). Also, make sure employees have opportunities for diverse and important projects and assignments.  Experience growth. To demonstrate you care, offer opportunities for formal training through investment in continuing education, encouraging self-driven activities such as subscriptions or e-learning sites, and much more.
  9. 9. 10 “Jack Welch [former General Electric CEO, speaker, and author] was famous for breaking down silos,” he adds. “He called it a ‘work-out’ process, which in essence created a structured forum. All levels (regardless of title or geography) were pulled together for the purpose of solving problems in real-time. Where possible, this type of process is very effective, not only in achieving the goal, but also in creating deep buy-in.” Documentation is helpful, too, says Cook. Having written procedures for all job tasks, and cross-training all staff, help dispel the silo mentality. “Cross-training reduces statements such as, ‘That’s not my job,’ since learning another team member’s job is built into each person’s responsibilities,” she says. “Written procedures allow co- workers to fully appreciate what goes into one another’s job duties when they’re asked to periodically help out or fill in. Written procedures also make transitioning new employees much easier, and build skill sets faster. So making cross-training a requirement avoids silos, since at least one other person knows how/has experience in another’s position.” Human nature, adds Kissler, means it’s easier for team members with similar job duties to connect more closely, creating silos of graphic designers, web/digital, writers, and so on. He suggests a few things you can do to ensure your team is well-integrated:  Include as many team members as possible in brainstorming sessions. STCU has a monthly “creative brainstorming” session where anything is on the table, recognizing that all team members may have ideas worth sharing, even if they aren’t designers or copywriters.  Follow the same practice for weekly traffic meetings. Even though these one-by-one reviews of current and new projects can feel monotonous, it’s important for every team member to be aware of what the entire department is doing, giving them insight into workloads, initiatives, and so on.  Incorporate team-building activities. A good mixture of group development exercises and good, old-fashioned fun offer opportunities for employees step up and take on leadership roles. And leaders don’t always have to plan them. Small committees can plan them—perhaps even partnering employees who don’t always interact together on a regular basis. This is a good practice for any special event. Finally, thinking ahead and encouraging the team to do the same encourages organizational integration, says Green. “Be transparent with your agenda as much as possible,” she explains. “If I’m honest and open with my team as much as I can be, and have good intentions, trust will be high and integration will be easy. Silos come when people are managed and not led. It takes everyone running full steam to work in a competitive environment like financial services. We need to be all in!” Coaching Teams and Individuals Coaching an individual employee for performance is much like coaching an individual on the playing field, says Terzian. “It’s important to have a plan and to agree on the execution of that plan with your employee.” He recommends focusing on three phases of the individual’s development: 1. Today: What technical skills are needed today to achieve assigned tasks (for example, updating software training)? 2. The next 12 months: What skills and education are needed to continue the current success, and what’s missing if the individual were to move up in the organization? Said another way, if the individual is an analyst today but next year will be a manager, what skills are needed to facilitate this? “Smash” Silos The Forbes Insights report, “Breaking Down Marketing Silos,” recommends these best practices: • Replace competition and isolation among silos with communication and cooperation; • Consolidate when necessary; • Act as a facilitator — establishing frameworks, encouraging collaboration through teams and knowledge hubs, and upgrading marketing talent; • Think like a consultant: Create company-wide insights, train marketing talent, and participate in strategy development; • Secure access to the C-suite. Marketers with executive responsibilities are almost twice as likely as others to believe there are no barriers to interdepartmental integration; and • Force integration. The best way for marketing to become more intertwined with other functions is to set up integrated processes.
  10. 10. 11 “Coaching must be practiced daily so it becomes the ‘go to’ option in a leader’s quiver of management tools.” Suzie Cook, Arlington Community Federal Credit Union 3. Long-term: Looking out two to three years and beyond, where does the individual want to be and what does the journey to that goal look like? The analyst who wants to be CEO can achieve this; however, a sustained, dedicated plan with various phases would be needed. These phases (and stated goal) would be presented through the long-term plan. According to organizational behavior expert, Richard Hackman, teams are most likely to be effective when several conditions are satisfied: It’s a real team rather than a team in name only, the team has a compelling direction for its work, it has an enabling structure that facilitates teamwork, the team operates within a supportive organizational context, and it has ample expert coaching in teamwork available. Expert coaching, based on the Hackman model, refers to the availability of a competent coach to help team members deal with potential issues or existing problems to accomplish the team tasks. Expert coaching also helps team members take advantage of emerging opportunities and to improve their coordination and collaboration. But first, the leader must be operating in an environment that supports coaching and provides coaching back to the leader, as well, says Cook. A leader must establish open communication and the understanding that coaching will be provided as a means for growth for one’s employees. “Coaching isn’t always easy in a fast-paced, deadline-oriented environment such as marketing,” she adds. “Therefore, a leader must be cognizant of coaching opportunities, and make time for them, to increase performance and eventually provide more time for the leader. Coaching isn’t a natural skill set for everyone.” Sometimes it’s hard to balance the coaching needs of the individual with those of the team, as well as maintaining a strategic, tactical mindset, adds Cook. For many leaders, this is a constant challenge. “It takes practice to become a good coach; often, becoming a strategic subject matter expert comes much more easily. Coaching must be practiced daily so it becomes the ‘go to’ option in a leader’s quiver of management tools.” Good coaching and team performance operate in a cycle, she describes: “Good coaching means spending less time on task oversight as coaching improves performance. Less time on oversight allows more time for coaching.” Developing a coaching leadership style takes time but pays off in quick bursts of “aha” moments for the employee and the leader, initially, as it leads to a regular habit, she describes. “When employees seek out coaching, you know you’ve made positive strides for the employee, yourself, and your credit union.” And leaders are more effective than managers, says Kissler. “I think there’s a big difference between seeing yourself as a manager vs. as a leader. A manager tends to be focused on processes and systems. While managers may supervise employees, managers are more caught up in making sure the ‘machine keeps churning.’” A leader, on the other hand, while realizing that processes and systems may need to be addressed now and them, knows that most often it’s the talent and resources that need the most attention—as they can have direct impacts on whether those processes and systems even work, he says. This means dedicating time to coaching and developing your team members. Conditions for Team Effectiveness Model Sources: Hackman, J.R., and The Korn/Ferry Institute
  11. 11. 12 “I believe a good 50% of my job is spent being connected with or engaged with my employees and their success, he says. “The other 50% is distributed among strategy, tactical marketing tasks, and other responsibilities. And I always make time for employees. “One of the most successful approaches I’ve found is based on a servant leadership foundation, which involves aligning employees’ passion with purpose,” he continues. “When a new employee starts (or an employee is moved onto my team), I always take time to sit down with them and find out what their passions are. Then I look for opportunities to have those passions play out in the workplace. For example, if someone is really interested in consumer finance, they may be a great fit for financial education projects. Another example: A designer who loves to interact with children may enjoy creating materials for youth programs.” Excellent coaching—of both individuals and the team—requires open communication, says Green. “I’m able to coach those around me because I’m very open with feedback and constant communication. When I take time to establish the relationship and continue to be open with my feedback, both positive and correcting, mutual trust with that person can make or break it. “Take time in the beginning with the people you work with and set clear expectations,” she adds. “Set boundaries and build a line of trust and support. Your team will allow you the time you need for implementing strategic and tactical marketing tasks. They’ll be onboard with you and won’t work against you.” Executive Communication Communication (or lack thereof) from the leader can make or break a good team, adds Green. If effective communication is absent, the team feels confusion and frustration. “A large percentage of anyone’s problems can be directed to the amount communication they’re having,” she says. “If senior leadership is not communicating effectively, then it becomes increasingly difficult to speak with ‘one voice,’” agrees Terzian. “And if the leadership is speaking with different voices, the mission and vision of the organization will become diluted and confused. “In my organization, we often refer to a ‘conspiracy of politeness,’ where things that need to be said are sometimes left unsaid,” he adds. “While this approach may avoid discomfort, it plants the seeds of friction down the road. And when executives are at odds, more times than not, their respective teams will be at odds. Agreeing to uniform communication principles and ensuring all follow these principles may help avoid poor executive communication. While it’s cliché, it does all start at the top.” Lacking clear communication, the team will eventually fail, says Kissler. “It’s as simple as that. Sometimes, as communicators, we can overlook things when it comes to ourselves. So we need to remind ourselves to treat our own work as if it’s coming from the organization, itself.” Communication’s Role in the Stages of Team Development Source: Collaboration for Homecare Advances in Management and Practice
  12. 12. 13 “When employees are happy, they’ll weather storms and periods of uncertainty, understand that ambiguity happens, and be forgiving.” Lance Kissler, STCU Communication plays a key role at all stages of team development, according to the Tuckman model introduced earlier in this paper. From forming to storming to norming to performing, communication propels the team toward the next stage and toward its ultimate goals. Any time the composition of the team changes (someone leaves or a new person is added), you may see “regression” of your team’s development. The leader’s guidance and effective communication help move the team to the next level. “Without clear communication at the top, lower levels of the organization begin to make assumptions, fall prey to gossip, and overall dysfunction can settle in,” says Cook. “Every successful organization needs structure and frameworks. We’ve instituted Rules of Engagement for meetings and Meeting Norms to promote communication at all levels and between levels. It gives employees permission to ask questions, seek clarity, and mine for conflict, thereby bringing out opposing views that create productive dialogue, which is solutions-oriented.” Conclusion: Keep the Team on Track No team is perfect, but when all members have the same goals and purpose, success happens in spite of the imperfection, says Kissler. “Always keep happiness in mind. When employees are happy, they’ll weather storms and periods of uncertainty, understand that ambiguity happens, and be forgiving,” he says. “They’ll also be OK with the less-than-fun tasks that all of us have to do from time to time because, overall, they’ll feel valued and feel it’s a great place to work.” Three elements will keep team members motivated and the team on track, he adds. Provide: 1. Vision (where “we,” as a credit union, are going and where the department fits in with that); 2. Resources (always advocate for your team); and 3. Recognition (it’s not my marketing campaign that was successful, it was the team’s). Leading teams and employees is the hardest part of any leader’s job, says Cook. Understanding the value of coaching, receiving training on good coaching techniques, and working in a supportive culture of coaching is a combination that can only lead to success. “It produces clarity for all parties involved,” she says, “It improves performance, and it makes employees happier, which has a positive impact on the bottom line.” Acknowledgements CUNA and the author appreciate the contributions of the credit union and industry experts who shared information for this white paper. Among that group, special thanks to: Suzie Cook Director, Marketing and Community Involvement Arlington Community Federal Credit Union Arlington, VA Kimberli Green Manager of Business Development America First Credit Union Ogden, UT Lance Kissler Marketing Manager STCU Spokane, WA Michael Terzian Senior Vice President/Chief Marketing Officer Partners Federal Credit Union Burbank, CA
  13. 13. 14 About the Author Beth Stetenfeld is owner and principal of Stetenfeld Associates LLC, a communications consulting business. She previously worked for CUNA and the University of Wisconsin–Extension as an editor, instructional designer, and project manager. Her published work includes numerous blog posts, integrated campaigns, books, training resources, and online and print content. She is based in McFarland, WI. References and Resources “Breaking Down Marketing Silos,” Forbes Insights, 2014. “The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team,” John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2016. “The Leadership Development Roadmap,” Center for Creative Leadership, 2015. “The New Organization: Different By Design,” Deloitte Development LLC, 2016. “Understanding Team Dynamics,” Free Management eBooks, 2013. Coutu, Diane. “Why Teams Don’t Work,” Harvard Business Review, May 2009. Duverge, Gabe. “Shuffling the Charts: Alternative Organizational Structures in Business, Touro University Worldwide, May 2016. Fons, Dan and Fons, Jerry. “Three Ways to Be a Better Team Member,” Executive Power, July 2016. Jenkinson, Josie, Oakley, Clare, and Mason, Fiona. “Teamwork: The Art of Being a Leader and a Team Player,” Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 2013. Jurczynski, Andrew and Vooght, Nigel. “Redefining Financial Services,” PwC, August 2015. Lencioni, Patrick. ”The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” Jossey-Bass, April 2002. Lencioni, Patrick. “The Ideal Team Player,” Jossey-Bass, April 2016. Mayes, Amber. “Stages of Team Development: What About Your Team?” CHAMP, 2016. Meuse, Kenneth. “Driving Team Effectiveness,” The Korn/Ferry Institute, 2009. Pattek, Sheryl and Moorehead, Michelle. “The Evolved CMO in 2016,” Forrester Research Inc., and Heidrick & Struggles, July 2016. The Credit Union National Association, Inc. (“CUNA”), through its Council, offers the information and policies within this white paper for information only. The enclosed information is not prepared, researched or reviewed by CUNA personnel, should not be considered legal advice and should not be relied upon or substituted for the same. Neither CUNA or the Council provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice, and these materials should be reviewed with a competent professional prior to use or reliance thereon. Neither CUNA nor the Council provides any warranties, expressed or implied, regarding the materials published herein. Reference herein to any specific vendor, commercial product, process or service does not constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation or favoring by CUNA. The views and opinions of the author(s) do not necessarily state or reflect those of CUNA and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes, unless a formal endorsement relationship exists with the third party vendor. If you question whether a product or service is formally endorsed by CUNA you may contact cunawebmaster@cuna.org. To order a copy of this white paper, please contact Council Administration at councilmembership@cuna.com or 608-231-4047. Please reference Stock No. 24636 when ordering. This white paper series is produced by the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council. For more information about this series, or about Council membership, contact: Council Administration Phone: (800) 356-9655, ext. 4047 FAX: (608) 231-4061 E-mail: councilmembership@cuna.com © 2016 CUNA, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction is prohibited without written consent.

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