Balancing pace & reflection: supporting high-performing teams

Executive Facilitation is often an aid for struggling teams. But even high-performing teams benefit from time with an ‘outsider’. Someone who reinforces your good habits, shines light on the bad & helps you find new, optimal ways of working.  

We recently spent two days with an outstanding team. They’re motivated, intelligent & have vast experience. They’re all ‘in it for the right reasons’ & have each other’s’ backs. They really care, about the company, their customers & their people.  

And they deliver. They have achieved A LOT together over the last 18-months in a very fast paced & pressurised environment.

Part of the purpose of their time together was to take time to reflect on their journey so far as a team:

  • What’s working & what’s not?
  • Where are the issues, & how do they deal with them?
  • What do they appreciate about each other, & what might they like to be different?

It became clear early on the first day that despite the intent to slow down, the team’s attention was being pulled in different directions. Imagine a wheel that’s been spinning at speed & still hasn’t come to rest. The deeper reflection they wanted just isn’t possible in this state.

Sound familiar?

Part of the task of facilitation was simply to raise the team’s awareness of this pattern & to invite them to reflect on where they really needed to focus. With this precious time together (in person, not online!):

  • What were the most important conversations?
  • How could they learn to notice the pull to action/task, & to refocus when it happens?
  • What value could a facilitator add? What could they NOT do alone?
  • How could they slow down?

This is hard for many high-performing teams, who are high-performing BECAUSE they move fast & get stuff done! The challenge is to supplement pace & energy with a reflective capacity that is essential - if performance is to be sustained.

Ring any bells? How does your team balance action & reflection?

Written by:
John Crossan

Culture Consultancy, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching

April 4, 2024