Want Teamwork? Encourage Free Speech
“Is there anyone who’s not ready for me to sign this contract?”
Jeremy, the chief executive of a small manufacturing company, held up a pen and looked around the room. His core team of 25 stood looking at him. They knew this meant doubling production for a couple of months. No one spoke.
I was positioned a little behind Jeremy, facing the team. As a business consultant, my job is to increase efficiency. I do so by supporting collaboration. Because I am outside the usual power dynamics, I can offer feedback from a different vantage point. I chose to speak into the tense silence: “I don’t know if there is anyone who’s not ready. What I do know is that the way you framed the question, it’s unlikely anyone would feel free to say so.”
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