Where Topaasia fits in this situation?
We wanted to check the team along with the five behaviors, which are trust, accountability, conflict, results, and commitment. We especially focused on four areas: conflict, commitment, accountability and trust. We wanted to see if those four specific things have permeated.
We have been working on the behaviors, for example, healthy conflict and how to do that. How do you have healthy conflict? What does that even mean? What does it mean to different people?
Same with feedback. How do you give feedback in a healthy way? Many people are very uncomfortable giving feedback and they do it very clumsily because they do it in a way that protects them, instead of in a way that helps the person they are giving that feedback to. There is a real fear of conflict. Feedback usually comes out sideways, because people are not comfortable with conflict.
What we did not want to do is just say – oh, do you guys have healthy conflict? They would not say, because they are afraid of conflict. So they are going to say, yes, we have healthy conflict because no one is going to want to say no, we do not have very healthy conflict because that would be a conflict.
So how do you make these conversations safe? How could you have a conversation around these difficult things in a very safe way and also put guardrails around, making sure the conversation is around the difficult topics that you want to have? That’s where Topaasia comes in. It gives you that structure. It enabled us to have four specific topics: trust, commitment, accountability and conflict, and then have discussions around those specific four areas we have worked on. We wanted to know what the team was experiencing and had they seen a shift in behaviors.
That was the idea. The hypothesis was that the area that would be the least penetrated would be commitment, because we had spent a lot of time on trust, conflict, feedback and accountability.
What was the conclusion? What happened?
We ran Topaasia with four distributed teams. Teams had some new people, some people had been there a long time. The feedback was excellent, really good conversation. They loved having the cards to guide them through conversations and they admitted they would not have had without the cards.
The result was amazing to me because in every single team, the top topic they chose for worst, was in commitment. (We had a separate team for the leadership so the teams could have an open conversation).
The conclusion came with no nudging, with no way to guide the conversation. Every single team had commitment as the number one thing that needed to be addressed and that could be addressed better by the executive group.