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FROM CAROL KALLENDORF, PhD: Founder, Delta Associates, Inc.

A summa con laude graduate of Duke University, Carol has been a lifelong consultant in the field of human performance, enabling thousands of people to achieve a better career and life.  Carol has a renowned ability to align teams, create trust, and enable them to achieve goals together.

As people who work with teams know, one of the best tools that you can use with your team in a group session are exercises that involve the team working together.

As a team member or leader, Carol wants you to have this simple, powerful exercise on well-being, which you and your team can do in remote sessions.  This exercise will create a great deal of valuable discussion.   If you are not a member of a team, you’ll enjoy doing this exercise by yourself or with your family.  You may be a leader in a church, synagogue, or other community of faith where you can use this exercise effectively

The Basic Question: How’s Your Team Doing?  Managing the Dynamics of Virtual Teams

Now that we are months into the Covid-19 pandemic with no end in sight, do you know how your team members are doing?  Do you really know?  For that matter, do you really know how YOU’RE doing?
Here’s what we are hearing as we talk to clients and colleagues across the country and the globe….from CEOs to front-line workers:

  • Most people are pleased—and even surprised—at their own and their team’s productivity and effectiveness.  The work is getting done. 
  • BUT…individual team members are feeling isolated in their own private stress.  Some are worried about COVID in their families or among their friends.  Others struggle with the demands of caring for and educating children at home while work needs to be done. 
  • Others are just plain lonely.
  • Zoom meetings are great…but tend to be hyper-focused on projects and issues.  And Zoom meetings are tiring for a host of reasons.
  • Communication is mostly tactical. 

The Challenge of Really Connecting with Virtual Teams

Despite the occasional virtual happy hour or lunch, we’re hearing a desire to connect at a deeper level within teams. 

We’re doing weekly multiple remote team development programs on Zoom conferencing with an amazing success—we’re creating the sense of being together, very like face to face.  The remote team development programs and alignment sessions we have conducted in this environment are hitting a chord that is truly lightening team members’ loads and making them feel more connected and less alone.

Team Exercise: What Contributes to Well-being for Your Team Members?

One concept we’ve found to be especially effective with teams right now is the concept of Well-Being.  What contributes to well-being for your team members?  Health?  Fitness?  Job security?  Financial security or wealth?  Friends and family?  Learning and professional growth?   Challenging work?  Freedom?  Spirituality?

And how would team members say they are doing on those elements of well-being—on a 1 – 10 scale—right now?  Would they give themselves a 10 on “challenging work” and a “2” on “friends and family”?  Maybe a 3 on “freedom” and a 7 on “health”?

To get you started, here is a sample list of what people come up with for their elements of well-being. 

  • Health
  • Exercise
  • Challenging work
  • Job security
  • Financial security
  • Wealth
  • Fun
  • Travel
  • Friends
  • Family
  • Spirituality
  • Community
  • Service
  • Work-life balance
  • Good colleagues

You’ll first want to try this exercise with yourself…and then with your team.  As you go through the list you’ll probably discover that there are elements of well-being that are important to you that aren’t listed; the list is just an example to trigger ideas for you and your team. 

From the list and any additions you make to it, choose the 10 most important elements of your own well-being.  Those are YOUR drivers of well-being.  Rate how you are doing on each one on a 1 – 10 scale with 1 low and 10 high.

Then send the list with any additions you’ve made to your team.  (But don’t send out your list of 10 and your ratings; that’s to share in the remote team session!)  Ask each team member to use the list for inspiration and decide on 10 elements of well-being that are essential for them.  Stress to them that they are not limited to the list.  It’s just to generate ideas.  They might come up with 10 components that aren’t on the list at all…or they might find that the 10 things most important to them are all on the list.

Then they should rate each of their components of well-being 1 – 10 with 1 being low and 10 being high. 

Create a safe environment for the team to meet by video.  To add to the experience you might want to send everyone a food delivery gift card and break bread by sharing a meal together virtually. 

Then be the brave one who starts the conversation by sharing the screen with your own well-being criteria and scores.  Let your team know how you’re doing…then ask them to share their well-being criteria and scores.
As everyone interacts with each other, I can pretty well guarantee you a couple of outcomes:

  • Everyone will be reticent to share at first…and then you will not be able to stop them.
  • Everyone’s criteria for well-being will be different.
  • Everyone will be feeling some very significant stress that they have been wanting to talk about, wanting to share and discuss.
  • Some of what is said will shock you….team members will be carrying some big burdens you are not aware of.
  • Everyone will feel a burden lifted; they will feel more connected and better understood for the doing of this.
  • Everyone will feel more genuinely cared about because you made this happen.
  • And everyone will feel that the stress is a bit less and the work is a bit easier afterwards.

In today’s environment a great question to ask would be if you had done this exercise four months ago, what would they say their components of well-being and their scores would have been and how have those changed over the past months?

I put this out to you as a challenge…and as an opportunity.  Give it a try and let me know what you find out about your team and about yourself.  And, speaking of YOU, let me know what your well-being components are and how you’re doing on them.

Austin, Texas

Santa Fe, New Mexico

(512) 498-9780

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