In October, Sustaining the Journey addressed some typical first questions asked as participants learn the power of Cognitive CoachingSM. This month, we address a few of the typical questions that are asked as participants begin to understand and embrace the principles and tenets of Adaptive Schools.
How do I bring new members into a group that Is constantly turning over?
This is a challenge in most organizations and requires us to think about our work developmentally. We must first be clear about the Focusing Questions of Adaptive Schools, “Who are we?”, “Why are we doing this?”, and “Why are we doing this, this way?” When our group is clear about those, it is also clear about what new members need to understand in order to be integrated.
One important strategy is to take time with a new member to orient him/her to the group’s purpose and ways of working. Assigning a person to mentor and orient the new person(s) is helpful in saving group time. Norms of collaboration should be shared prior to the first meeting and revisited at the first meeting as a whole group. History of the group can also be provided along with current goals and strategies, both short and long term. It may be useful to consider input from both a team member and an administrator who supervises the new person(s).
Depending on the level of turnover, group development activities may be needed. These might include revisiting mission and core values, exploring individual needs such as history, personal styles, background, etc. With high turnover and rapid change, going slow to go fast will pay off. Relationships drive good work and should not be ignored.
Frequent checks with new members and existing members provide data for how the team is doing. Simple feedback questions at the ends of meetings provide informal formative data, e.g., “How are we doing as a new team?” More formal assessments can be done in writing or through interviews.
Integration of new members into a group s is a key issue which is often ignored by members who have history and experience with a group. New members need attention and understanding in order to be successfully integrated into a group if that group is to function at its best.