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In this radio interview productivity expert Cathy Sexton interviews Judy Ryan on What and Why Alignment? She asks her to describe a profound idea on this topic that will improve the lives of the listening audience and help them overcome a current challenge or source of pain.

Interview Transcript

welcome i’m kathy sexton productivity strategist and coach and thank you for joining me each week here on amazing women of power radio ignite your productivity radio is here every thursday morning at 9 30 central time where we share tips tricks and best practices that are simple but yet oh so powerful this week our topic is creating cohesive teamwork with our special guest judy ryan judy ryan is a human system specialist and speaks from experience she specializes in systems that help people get along get motivated and get more done she is award-winning trainer mentor writer coach a frequent live radio and television guest speaker judy’s purpose is to create a world in which people love their lives welcome judy thank you thanks so much for having me on this kathy oh i’m so excited to have you on and you know in the past we’ve done some other things great things together so i’m excited to share your knowledge and your experience with the audience so let’s start out with me just asking you how what is a human system specialist yeah that’s one of those things where i’m never sure if i should help people to understand that or not but really basically when you think about it we have systems for everything nowadays um our evolution has brought it so that we have to have systems for our information technology and computer systems we have to have phone systems we have systems for accounting but what most people don’t account for is how to have systems that are in place that make sure that people you know do get along that they do get more done and that they do get and stay motivated and they’re just as important if not more important than a lot of the other systems the way that i look at it is if you don’t have a system for doing something all the good tools and strategies are just something that will fall short if they’re not built within a system that’s very interesting you know and of course that’s what i’m all about is systems and helping people create systems because that’s how we do our best when we can follow some kind of a system it’s i like i tell people it’s like baking a you know gourmet meal if you really want it to be special you have to follow the recipes exactly exactly so so so let me ask you what do you think are the some of the biggest blocks maybe people might have you know when they’re working within teams well i think part of it is that we have this idea of teamwork is kind of like kumbaya and everything’s always great and in the beginning of any team that’s usually true you know whether it’s a it’s a romantic team or a business team but there’s actually four stages to teamwork that most people aren’t aware of and um this was information that was from the guy that wrote the road less traveled his name is m scott peck he recently died but he wrote on teamwork and i just love this thing that he taught me which was that the first thing that we experience in team is what’s called pseudo community it’s it’s the honeymoon phase it’s where everything is great we see all the things that we um have in common it’s all the ways that we see each other’s strengths putting our best foot forward but we can’t really stay in that stage because there’s times where all of a sudden differences come and they show up and um if we’re not prepared for that the next stage that shows up is called chaos it sounds kind of funny because it’s actually a a step forward but it doesn’t feel like it because it’s when all of a sudden you start to see the places where people differ in their belief systems they differ in their approaches and um and fear is comes in and so a lot of times this stage of chaos is all about people power struggling people um forming clicks or teams apart from each other separating it’s a time where people want to try to change or convert or fix other people instead of and even sort of heal them like oh this person has a problem i want to try to heal them so that they won’t cause me this discomfort and so when that’s happening there’s a lot of really uncomfortable kind of dynamics that are going on and unless a person or team knows how to move through that gracefully they can really get stuck and so the next stage that he talks about is something called empty and that’s where people really learn how to build trust they really learn how to open to each other hear each other not try to convert and change each other and it can be sort of a prolonged time but once they are able to navigate through that a lot of things that were problems um start resolving themselves in a very natural very graceful way and that’s the fourth stage is that you finally come into being a real team where you’re you have those good feelings but you’re also able to work through those not so good feelings in those not so good comfortable situations interesting yeah and when you were talking about the chaos it’s kind of even it’s like when we kind of let things go in our office or whatever if we aren’t looking at our offices real clean and when we kind of let things go and we don’t pay attention isn’t that kind of the same thing with not paying attention to who other people are and respecting them absolutely and and and being able to kind of take a breath and not uh rush in and trying to do things from fear or control you know even when you think about yourself i know for myself if i feel like things are chaotic and out of control if i use a lot of self-criticism and sure and force it it doesn’t work out so well so it’s slowing down and it always seems to easier to change someone else isn’t it than it is to look at ourselves so what do you think what do you think of the biggest blocks people have to teamwork well one of them is that people aren’t necessarily really good at building trust so when you know we might be the most trustworthy worthy people on a team but we don’t really know how to build trust on a team and we also don’t necessarily have each other’s back the way that we need to on a team like for example um i used to think a team was where everybody wanted to accomplish a goal together but really the difference between a team and what’s called a working group is a team they also want to get certain goals accomplished but they also want to make sure that other people are wildly successful in doing that well most of us don’t know how to do that or that that’s even a priority for being a team and so in that process we do things that actually break trust with each other like maybe i’m trying to get the the goal achieved but i’m not focused on your success and so i might be critical of you i might not tell you what i think needs to be done and all of a sudden we have an issue a personality issue coming up that causes us to not be actually working toward the same goals as a real partnership and i remember when i first learned that it was pretty humbling because i was a go-getter i was a very goal-oriented person but i wasn’t necessarily committed to helping other people be wildly successful so that is really full and then once you decide to help people be wildly successful you have to have rapport with them to do that you have to be able to build trust with them and so some of the things that make it difficult are we have not all been taught really good systems for being straightforward with each other really being able to be receptive to each other there’s lots of values that go toward building trust and having that rapport with one another and most people aren’t comfortable really being direct and straight being open being able to share vulnerabilities all kinds of things that go along with that so what are some of the most you know important tools maybe that you teach to strengthen teamwork because teamwork is so important to really make a company move forward yeah it really is it’s everything whenever i work with a client on changing their culture the first place i start is with the leadership team and i make sure that they are a cohesive team because if they don’t have that they could have the best plans they could have the best strategies and it’s just not going to work because if their teamwork is poor then the teamwork of the people beneath them is going to be poor and they won’t be able to help them because they haven’t been able to help themselves yet so some of the tools that i teach one of them is something probably everybody could relate to is one of the things that really destroys teamwork is gossip and yet gossip is so rampant everywhere that sometimes we just think it’s just part of the way life is and so what i do is i help people to kind of hit the topic of gossip head-on and so i help them to to do what’s called a mind trust i help them to learn about how to do venting in a new way some things around gossip i also help people to start to look at what are some encouragement strategies that can we can use um i teach a particular communication skill called the dialogue tool and that’s a tool to help people really hear one another without trying to jump real quickly to resolution so that um stephen covey said that if you uh one of his seven habits of highly effect people is to seek first to understand and then be understood and this particular dialogue tool really creates that it gives a uh it makes a space for people to really create rapport and really understand each other and then i also help people to make better accountable direct requests and respond to requests in a way that you know doesn’t leave people hanging out there wondering what just happened or you know are we actually in agreement are we not um and being disappointed because we thought we had a commitment or an agreement and then we actually didn’t so so those are some of the tools that that i bring to the table around teamwork let’s go back to you know the part about gossip so why do why do we want a gossip and why do we find it so hard not to do it very understandable reasons it’s culturally one of the ways that we connect we’re much more comfortable as a culture to connect by gossip and we are by saying you’re wonderful i love you you appreciate you you’re amazing we’ll often feel really uncomfortable receiving that and connecting that way and yet one of our greatest needs is to be connected and so it’s more it feels safer even though it sounds crazy it feels safer to connect through sort of a being against someone else or to have something on someone else but it’s an understandable reason that we want to connect we just have to be willing to not connect through gossip that we learn to connect through some other more positive ways the other thing is that in addition to wanting to be connected there’s three other really core things that we need to feel um to be successful in our life and one of them is we need to feel empowered and when we’re gossiping about someone it’s because we feel somehow disempowered by that person or that situation or maybe we’re just feeling disempowered in our life in general and so if we can take someone else down it helps us somehow feel like we’re empowered and it also feels like we’re doing something about the problem that we’re having with the person by just gossiping it makes us feel puffed up with power because we’re still you know righteous about it but it isn’t real power it’s more like fake power and then um we also need to feel lovable and so if if we’re not speaking about somebody chances are we’re not feeling so great about ourselves and so we’ll be putting them down to make ourselves feel more lovable but in fact it’s actually the opposite of what happens we might feel someone feel some relief but it actually makes us feel worse about ourselves when we got upset i got realized what we’ve said you know or to someone else but there are those people that need that drama that need to do all that gossip and then how how can we avoid getting sucked into that because sometimes even though we don’t want to do it we kind of get sucked into it yeah we do well part of it is it’s hard to stop it once it’s going and it’s you know you feel like you have a lot of conditions you know i’ll be a goody goody and you said people need drama they do need drama i tell people go for drama just create a different kind of drama because it is you’re absolutely right you know they want that feeling of intensity intense connection with people or an intense way to contribute something so don’t make that wrong but just find a way to do that without doing gossip you know like if that need met a different way so does that kind of yeah that helps so you know let’s talk kind of back to that when you’re talking about the trust and the team so what’s the connection between a high trust teamwork you know the business and business success how do those all intertwine okay um just think about it in your own life maybe your own marriage or your own friendships if you don’t trust somebody you won’t really be able to confront any dysfunctions that you have with the other person or the team so what happens is you’ll end up having these low trust unhealthy relationships which then distracts us from and kind of compromises our productivity and how engaged we feel because we come to work and we don’t feel good about these other people on our team so if if you don’t have high trust you won’t be able to tell people what you expect you won’t be able to work through issues that you have you won’t be able to collaborate well because you don’t trust the other person that’s going to do a good job there’s actually eight things that have to be in place for there to be high trust and those eight things are um you have to be able to be honest with people you have to be able to be straightforward and say this is what i expect and what i need you have to be receptive to their feedback and their ideas you have to be able to tell them your vulnerable feelings and be able to share with them where your strengths are and your weaknesses and you have to be able to give them recognition and respect you have to be willing to follow through on commitments and you have to be somebody that seeks excellence so if you think about it let’s say you’re on a team with somebody and you don’t think that they really care about excellence that they do things very sloppy that they even conduct themselves sloppy it’s going to be hard for you to be on a team with them and really have good equality good you know cooperation and collaboration or if they don’t follow through on their commitments you might start you know stop relying on them or you might start gossiping about them because they’re not doing that so it’s just can you see that if you don’t have that trust and those ways of behaving that build trust it just it just really creates an instability and and poor health in terms of the company’s success well and i can definitely see where the trust can um if there isn’t trust there even subconsciously we’re either trying to undermine somebody else or you know we’re putting all like you said all that energy into a place that’s really stopping us from being productive as an individual and as a team yes absolutely um it’s more important than we realize um there’s an article by patrick lencioni recently and it was called the last competitive advantage and he says in there that all businesses need the typical things that that we all think about like they need to have good marketing strategies and they have to have good um business strategies and they have to be organized and they have to have a business plan and all those things but the real competitive advantage now is that they have organizational health and part of that is this cohesive teamwork that if you don’t have this trust and you don’t have this teamwork you could have the best products and services the best strategies and you’re ultimately going to fall even if you have these high rises to success ultimately it’s kind of a house build on cards so yeah it’s that important so let me ask you what’s wrong with you a little venting don’t we need to kind of let that off and kind of get that out there so that we can let it go

well here’s the thing most of the time when we say i just need to vent it really is um synonymous with gossip it’s not necessarily what i call health eventing so there’s a couple things that i suggest around venting but before i even teach people how to vent i ask them to make what’s called a mind trust agreement with each other and what that is is if you can imagine that you and i were facing each other kathy and i was saying you know kathy i commit to you that i’m not going to talk about you behind your back i must just say good things and if i have a problem with you i’m going to come to you with it directly i’m not going to go around you and if um somebody comes to talk about you i’ll stop them and i’ll ask them to go and talk to you instead that’s a mind trust well the reason that a lot of people can’t do that is because they’re afraid to go to somebody they’re they would rather quote unquote vent but if a person comes to vent what i’m teaching them to do when there’s a mind trust in place is there are um there’s a process to doing healthy venting and the first thing is you don’t need to name the name you don’t need to say who it is your reason for venting should be i need to get this off my chest because i want to resolve it i need to get this off my chest because i need to be encouraged to take action to get resolution for it and so um the steps are things like don’t name names you know kind of talk about your own feelings like this person you know when i got angry with them i’m afraid that if i go to them it’s going to blow up in my face i don’t feel good about how i handled it it’s talking about ourselves it’s venting about our own part not about the part of the other person and then when you um are venting you can say to the person you know would you help me come up with some ideas of how i could approach this person can i practice with you those are the kinds of things that i help people to do with venting so if somebody comes to you and they are venting you could stop them and say i’m happy to help you but only if you want to vent in a way that’s really kind of healthy like we talked about in our workshop because i have a mind trust with this other person that’s the tough thing to do yeah i can see see where it is but um how how much more healthy that is you know to be able because i think we do need to say you know what we’re feelings and a lot of times we’re afraid to do that you know you would know this more than i would so i’ll kind of just put it out there and then you can respond but i think it’s because we have expectations of how other people should act or react or you know what they’re going to say instead of being able to say things you know that hurt me when you said that or confronting people with about how you feel and not have expectations on how they’re going to react to that yes yeah it’s about being personally responsible instead of blaming and if we only if every team in the united states only just did a mine trust had learned how to do this venting process and we’re committed to going to people when they have a problem so they’d have to learn how to be straightforward and how to communicate we’d have a whole different world we really would because this just this one bad habit alone is so destructive to teamwork it creates clicks it creates a lot of people all of a sudden holding the same negative opinion about other people um it’s very very destructive and what’s interesting is that when i suggest the mind trust in in about 50 of the environments that i go into they can’t do it right away they’re they’re so afraid they don’t trust themselves they don’t trust the other people around them they don’t trust that they won’t get fired but it really really uncovers how low the trust is that they can’t get to not gossip yeah i can see that and then also don’t you think some really key wonderful people wind up leaving a company because of that because of not feeling trusted being trusted or feeling tested or feeling they can trust other people or being able to say what they really need to say and have that yes that’s the sad part is that your best people will not stay around in an unhealthy team they will not stay around an unhealthy organization they know that it just drags you down they know that it just causes them to feel less motivated less inspired and and yet the people that are the most unhealthy are the ones that will cling to an unhealthy environment and um and continue to drag it down so you’re absolutely right about that that it uh it really causes it costs this more than we know wow so can you tell tell us a success story about a team that you’ve worked with yeah i’m going to just tell you a success story about something in my family because um i’d like to when i’m talking about teamwork i remember one time years and years ago i have a brother that’s 12 years older than me so i was only about 15 years old and he was building a house and um we all wanted him to be successful at it he was trying to do it on his own and it was really really a struggle for him so the family came together and we all created this plan and every single person had a part in it i mean you know i wasn’t the youngest in my family my younger sister was part of it we had nieces and nephews that were part of it i remember learning how to do things like um staple and you know dry insulation in the walls so we all came together we brought food we brought music we prayed when we went and we helped like kind of did a barn raising with my brother and it was so memorable because everybody had the same intention to help him be successful to help him to have his dream and to do it in a way that he was just blown away and he was i mean we you know we had probably 20 30 people and it was so much fun and so there’s a lot of ingredients that go into teamwork but part of it is just an intention an intention to do good an intention to create something that would be impossible to do alone and um so that just really stays in my mind yeah that oh that’s well it sounds so wonderful and what a memory for your whole family to be able to have and to share something so great yeah it really was so i know that you write a regular column on emotional intelligence and i think that emotional intelligence is not very well known what that is can you kind of explain that a little bit more to help our audience to understand what that it’s one of those things that we sort of know is important but we have no idea exactly what it is and why we need it simply put it’s really these four things i have to be aware of myself i have to be aware of how important it is to manage myself so if i’m on a team and i’m aware that i want to gossip that’s self-awareness and then i have to decide if i’m going to manage myself and keep myself living to my mind trust for example so self-awareness self-management then it’s learning how to be aware of other people and being able to manage the relationship with them so those are the four steps self-awareness self-management managing or being aware of my relationships with others and what’s going on with them and between us and how do i manage that dynamic and you can’t do the third and fourth if you can’t do the first and the second and you can’t even do the second if you can’t do the first how can i manage myself if i’m not aware of myself and what i’m doing um and we all know people that aren’t self-aware they’re like a bull in the china shop you know we all know people that maybe they’re self-aware but they’re not managing themselves and um and then maybe they’re really good at managing themselves but they don’t necessarily have any sensitivity to other people around them or you know really navigate through that policy are they’re always trying to manage other people without managing themselves right totally that you go hand in hand

so share with us i know we only have a few more minutes i want you to share your exciting news about your in your new online training center thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to say some things about that what i really know is that more people want healthy teamwork they want healthy organizations and yet it most organizations they can’t afford to send people to the training that they need to get these human systems they can’t maybe they can afford the training but they can’t afford the time to send them out of the job so what i want is every person in an organization whether it’s a large company or a small company to have access just like the managers usually get access to these kind of tools and this kind of information and and to make it real affordable so what we’re doing is we’re taking all of our content we’re using video and narration and all of that and we’re creating these modules that are kind of bite-sized modules that can be downloaded on computers ipads cell phones and there um there’s all kinds of them there’s the kind that the leaders go through there’s the kind that the whole organization goes through and then there’s the kind that the leaders use to lead group sessions on what people are learning on their own time and so it’s kind of like a train the trainer sort of a opportunity and um it’s it’s really exciting because there are a lot of organizations out there with you know with the internet and everything they’re not all they need virtual solutions now because they’re right across the state and you know so i’m really excited to be able it’s been a dream of mine for a long time and i’m hoping that it’s going to really be a helpful thing to watch awesome so is it available now will it you know kind of where’s the time frame on it i know you’ve been really working hard on this for the last few months yes um yes it is available right now for um people that are ready to to do what we call the excrete your create your extraordinary workplace we’re building out some individual modules that can be just sold separately like on redirecting negative behavior and on you know the reasons people gossip and so on little separate modules eventually we’re going to take our entire track of human systems for families and for schools and build those but those are still in the planning all the contents there were just in the building stages but if a company wants to bring in all of the modules for doing their healthy organizational culture we’re ready to go we’ve got them up and running so awesome so will you tell people how they can contact you i’ll find out find out more about the program and then any information you need to share with everybody yeah i would say the best way right now is just to contact me either email me at judy it’s just j-u-d-y at l-i-f-e-w-o-r-k

s-y-s-t-e-m-s dot com or you can just call me at 314-239-4727

that’s 314-239-4727

because i’d like to just meet with you if you’re interested and find out what what’s going on and what you might need awesome well it was a pleasure talking with you this morning i know that you and i have done some great work together in the past and i’m looking forward to doing some more and i’d love to have you back on the show and and we can talk further about how we can help teams individuals ignite their performance

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