Many, many moons ago when I was just a baby leader, I was having a really hard time with my team – 2 or 3 members of the team, created a narrative about an event that had happened and my response to it and it had become disruptive to the level that my boss had to have a courageous conversation with me. I told him how frustrated I was because that narrative just simply wasn’t the truth. This very wise man, a Mr. Tom Kuhn, asked me a question that has stuck with me ever since. He asked me: 

What is the narrative that YOU have given your team? Which made me realize that I had not been intentional about that at all.

He went on to say: People need information, they need a story. If you do not give them one, they are left to make up their own. It’s your job to give them the narrative.

There’s a lot happening in our world, in our businesses and in our lives right now. As leaders, it’s vital that we are clearly communicating and engaging with our teams and that we are providing the narrative.

In the Plan for Profits curriculum, Tom introduces the concept of a Team Summit or State of the Union. 

I want to encourage you to make this a weekly practice right now. Part of making it a weekly ritual is as much for you to get clear as it is to provide clarity to your team.

I’ve made a 9Grid to walk you through it.

Start with empathy. 

Truth and Transparency are Key.

Acknowledge that things are particularly fluid right now, flexibility is important.

4 vital questions to answer for your team: 

Where are we?

Where are we going?

How are we going to get there?

WIIFM? What’s In It For Me?

Lastly, communicating 4 times, 4 different ways (4×4).

Following this structure is going to make your life a lot easier – it’s much easier and more effective for you to set the narrative from the start than to do damage control and try to change the narrative.

As told by Michelle Shuster, Qnity Director of Operations & Plan for Profits Coach