One concept I consistently find helpful when joining a new team is Center Enter Turn:
- Center: Before doing anything, even before saying Hello! to anyone, is to take time to get yourself ready. Breathe. Feel your feet on the ground and your butt on your chair. Recognize and acknowledge what you are feeling. Let it all go.
- Enter: Consciously join the team. Don’t try to make any changes; just experience the team. What does it feel like? How does each person seem to be feeling? Where do you see it working well? Where do you see potential for it working better?
- Turn: Now you can start implementing all those changes you have planned.
Each of these steps will take time. Enter, especially, can take days or even weeks, depending how your team reacts to change. Attempting to Turn before your team is ready tends to lead to disaster. Far better to Enter longer than you need to than to Turn too early.
Also, recognize that you are really entering a new team every day, even when you have worked with them for years. Every person (including you!) is in a different place than when you all last left work. Taking time to Center and Enter can make a world of difference.
When I went looking to find where I originally learned this tool, I discovered there’s a fourth step I didn’t remember: Sustain. As its name implies, this step is about keeping your changes going. Maybe this step has been percolating deep in my subconscious and is the source of the Sustain Movement step in the Uncommon Teams System. At any rate, Turning your team without Sustaining those turns is at best a waste of time and at worst subjecting your team to an inordinate amount of chaos.