Sari van Poelje

personal, expert, consultant, author, Speaker

Cooperation in teams – Contracting Level 2: Professional Contract – video training — April 16, 2019

Cooperation in teams – Contracting Level 2: Professional Contract – video training

My name is Sari van Poelje, and I’m an expert in innovative agile design. One of the things I do is I help businesses innovate as quickly as they innovate their products.

So what we’re talking about today is contracting. We already talked about the first level of contracting, which is how to create a very good administrative contract, which creates the foundation or the structure of your cooperative relationship.

Contracting Level 2: Professional Contract

The second level of contracting, so how do I make good bilateral agreement, is what we call the professional contract. And the professional contract really tells you about what objectives are we going to realize together and under what conditions, what methods are we going to use for that? It’s much more about how do I define the problem? How do you define the problem? What are we going for and how are we going to tackle it?

So the conditions for a professional contract is it really has to comply to the SMART. So it has to be specific, measurable, observable, achievable, positive and within time.

So, questions you can ask yourself when you’re making a professional contract are:

  • Who is the client?
  • What is the nature of the relationship between all the parties involved? Obviously in a team or organization you’re always in a multi-party contract.
  • How is the problem defined by each of these parties?
  • What problem definition are we going for? In an organization, at every level you have different problem definition, so you have to be really clear who’s question you’re answering.
  • What method are we going to use?
  • What is the focus of our interventions and what is the final deliverable?

If you have those things in place, you have the administrative contract, which structures your relationship and then you have the professional contract, which tells you what you’re going to do together and how.

In the next videos we’ll take a look at the other levels. Follow me to find out more.

Cooperation in teams – Contracting Level 1: Administrative Contract – video training — April 9, 2019

Cooperation in teams – Contracting Level 1: Administrative Contract – video training

My name is Sari van Poelje, I’m an expert in business innovation and I help businesses innovate as quickly as they innovate their products.

One of the things we know is that contracting is very important to create a cooperative relationship. And in the past, we’ve explained what is actually a contract. Now, we’re going to talk about the three levels of contracting and specifically this time, level one.

Contracting Level 1: Administrative Contract

Level one is how do you create an administrative, what we call an administrative contract. It’s kind of your legal business like contract, so if a contract is a bilateral agreement, one of the really important things is that we have the structure of the contract in place. So, what are we doing together? Who is doing it? When are we doing it? Perhaps why are we doing it, but certainly at what cost or within the organization with what resources?

This administrative part of a contract structures our relationship. We’re saying within these boundaries, we’re going to relate to each other to actually realize a goal.

Oddly enough, many times people forget to make a very clear administrative contract and it’s a separate thing from a professional contract in which we agree, what we’re going to achieve and with what methods.

And it’s also separate from what we call the third level of contracting, which is the psychological contract, and we’ll talk about that later.

Questions you can ask when you’re making an administrative contract:

  • Who are the contracting parties?
  • What is the agreed upon goal?
  • When will we do it?
  • What is the end point?
  • What are delivery times?
  • How do we compensate?
  • What resources are involved?
  • What money is involved?
  • What do we do if we disagree, and what do we do if we want to end the contract?
  • When and how will payments or resource planning take place?

Those are the things you have to really watch out for when you’re creating an administrative contract.

And as I said, it’s the foundation or the structure of your cooperative relationship.

In the next videos we’ll take a look at the other levels. Follow me to find out more.

Cooperation in teams: what skills do you need to create cooperative teams? – video training — April 2, 2019

Cooperation in teams: what skills do you need to create cooperative teams? – video training

 

Cooperation in teams: what skills do you need to create cooperative teams? – video training

Hi, my name is Sari van Poelje, I’m an expert in agile, innovative design. I fly around the world helping businesses innovate as quickly as they innovate their products. One of the questions I’m often asked is, “What skills do you need for cooperation and especially to create cooperative teams?” Well, we just said, the first skill is contracting. The second is communication and the third is consequence management. And we’re going to talk about first one, contract.

So what do we mean by a contract?

A contract is really a very good bilateral agreement about what we’re going to do together and what results we want to achieve together. The key word in this is bilateral. So, I often find that leaders tell people what to do, but they don’t actually ask people what they want done and they don’t actually wait for an answer. So when we say contracting, we really mean, I ask you a question and you give me an answer, whatever that may be. Yes, no, under these conditions. And then we talk about it and when we agree what we’re going to achieve together, we call that a contract.

What’s so important about having a contract?

  1. Well, one is you are for sure both implicated in reaching the same goal. So, that’s really important. Reaching the same goal is a status, what we call a cooperative relationship.
  2. The second thing is if you and I agreed together and we’ve actually had a talk where you say, “Well, I’ll do it under these conditions.” And I go, “Okay, let’s see if we can get that done.” And we actually agree, “This is the goal. These are the conditions. What support do you need from me?” We stay in what we call an okay-okay relationship. An okay-okay relationship in cooperation is very important. It means you’re okay, and I’m okay, despite our behaviors, we still think of each other as worthy and valuable human beings. And that’s a really important thing to have, the trust and the relationship. Very important to have when you want to create cooperation.
  3. The third reason it’s really important to have a contract is because it moves you from a problem orientation to an action orientation. So, when I come to you as an employee and I say to you, “Hey, the machine isn’t working.” And I go, “Okay.” And you don’t actually ask me a question or you don’t ask for help, then it’s very, very difficult to make a clear contract. And we stay on that problem. We stay problem-focused.┬áBut if you come to me and say, “Hey, we have a problem, the machine isn’t working. I thought of three ways of doing this. This is scenario one, two, three.” And I go, “Let’s talk about it.” And we agree on a scenario, then we’re already from a problem focus to an action-oriented focus. And that really helps in creating cooperative relationships.

So contracting is a very important part of creating cooperation in teams, and it’s one of the skills you’ll have to master.

In the next videos we’ll take a deeper look at some more of these issues. Follow me to find out more.

Cooperation in teams: how do you know people are not cooperating? – video training — March 26, 2019

Cooperation in teams: how do you know people are not cooperating? – video training

 

So, my name is Sari van Poelje, I’m an expert in agile, innovative design and I fly all over the world helping businesses innovate as quickly as they innovate their products. One of the questions I often get is, “When do we know that a team is not in a cooperative mood?” Actually there’s four types of behaviors we look at to check if people are in cooperation or not.

1. Avoidance: What we see when people are not in cooperation is one, avoidance. What do we see, for instance? People not coming to meetings, people not responding to requests, people not engaging with each other. We can actually measure how much time people spend with each other or how many emails people respond to. And based on that number we can predict if people are going to cooperate or not.

2. Responsiveness: The second thing we look at to check if people are in a cooperative relationship is responsiveness. So what we see when people are in a cooperative relationship is that they respond to what John Gottman calls relational bids. So a relational bid is anything in which you ask the other person for attention or you ask the other person to engage with you. So if I would say to you, “Hey, look out of that window,” and you would actually turn your head and do it, it means that you have a connection with me and you’re responding to me.

If I ask you, “Hey, can you help me solve this problem?” And you actually engage with me, it means that you’re in an open and cooperative relationship. We can actually count the number of relational bids that people do in teams and check if people are responding to them. And that gives us a measure of cooperation.

3. Competitive Bids: The third thing we look at is competitive bids. So one of the things that really destroys cooperation in teams is if people are in competition, there’s two ways we can check for this.

One is, are people in competition in the sense of, “Mine is bigger than yours.” Or, “Am I better than you?” And people actually competing with each other for status or position. So if in a team people are status-oriented, we probably know that cooperation is going to be very difficult because almost everything they do will be to enhance their own status or position instead of thinking of the wellbeing as a whole.

The second thing we check for in these competitive bids are people actually competing for care, we say. So that means if I say, “Oh, I’m more needy than you are,” in a team, “I need more help. The manager needs to pay more attention to me.” And there’s a couple of people in that team doing that kind of competition for needs, then we probably know cooperation is going to be very, very difficult.

4. Gamey-ness: The fourth thing we really look at is how gamey are people in teams. So if people are very, very gamey, so we say, “A game is a non-solving pattern of behavior.” So if you see repetitive conversations about something that in the end does not get solved, we know people are in a game. So, for example, at home let’s say you have a conversation about who puts out the trash and I say, “Hey, it’s your turn to put out the trash.” And you respond, “No, I did that yesterday.”

And I say, “Hey, I cooked today.” And you go, “No, no, no, no, but I groomed the dog,” or something. We go on and on like this and then in the end, I say, “If you really love me, you’d have put out the trash.” We know you’re in a game. So the real conversations is quite different from the conversation you’re having and you’re actually competing for something.

So we have a measure for cooperation where we check to see how much time people spend in games. So non-repetitive, non-problem solving patterns of behavior and how much time they actually spend solving a problem.

Based on four factors, we know if people are in cooperation or competition.

In the next videos we’ll take a deeper look at some more of these issues. Follow me to find out more.

Cooperation in teams: cross-functional cooperation breeds innovation – video training — March 20, 2019

Cooperation in teams: cross-functional cooperation breeds innovation – video training

 

My name is Sari van Poelje, I’m an expert in agile, innovative design and I’m here to talk to you about cooperation in teams. I’ve been traveling around the world helping businesses innovate as quickly as they innovate their products. And sometimes what I come up against is teams that are not willing to cooperate. Cooperation is really, really important for innovation because the cross-functional cooperation actually breeds innovation.

So it’s one of the essential things we focus on when we create individual businesses.

What do we mean by cooperation?

Well, cooperation means that you accept interdependence, so you accept that if you win, I win. If you lose, I lose. And together we’re there to create a new and innovative team.

Cooperation is based on trust and shared goals. Those two elements have to be there, else it’s really, really difficult to innovate and to cooperate.

What we do is we ask people the question, “What can you only do together that you can’t do alone?” Everything that you can’t do together or that you don’t need each other for, is a reason not to cooperate. Perhaps you need to create different kind of relationship. If you need to cooperate, if you are interdependent, if you need the other person to get something done, you need to create a cooperative relationship.

Cooperation is really based on three skills.

  1. We say the first skill you need to have is contracting. Contracting means that you can create really good agreements between you and the other person to be able to do your work.
  2. The second skill you need is to be able to communicate well. It means that you stay in the effective communication channels and you actually skip the dysfunctional communication channels. Good communication is not that you were a masterful communicator, so that you can speak well. Masterful communication is that the other person can hear you.
  3. The third skill that we need to focus on when we want to create cooperative relationships is consequence management. Consequence management means if we are successful together, how well are we going to celebrate? If one of us steps out of cooperation, what are we going to do?”

In the next videos we’ll take a deeper look at some more of these issues. Follow me to find out more.