036: Detoxifying Teams with Steve Ritter

By July 15, 2016Podcasts

 

Episode_36_Steve_Ritter

Old friend and Team Clock originator Steve Ritter shares his experiences on the key differentiators of toxic vs. healthy teams… and key steps for making the leap.

You’ll learn:
1. Why strategic planning is often a monumental failure
2. The pillars of Ritter’s Team Clock model for successful teaming
3. Common behaviors that cause dysfunction in teams –and how to correct them

About Steve
Steve Ritter has served as a human resources leader, teacher, author, and consultant. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Founder and CEO of the Team Clock Institute, the Managing Director of the Midwest Institute & Center for Workplace Innovation, and the author of Team Clock: A Guide to Breakthrough Teams and Useful Pain: Why Your Relationships Need Struggle. Steve is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst. He is the former Senior Vice President and Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, which won the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 the APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve consults organizations including Kraft Foods, Kellogg’s, Advocate Health Care, the Chicago White Sox, Northwestern Mutual, the Illinois Hospital Association, and Starcom Worldwide.

Steve Ritter Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis

Steve, thanks so much for appearing on the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast.

Steve Ritter

Thanks, Pete. Thanks for welcoming me onto the podcast.

Pete Mockaitis

Oh, yes. It’s been a fun road in terms of how we’ve known each other, and you’ve got some great credentials on the bio. But one thing that is not on the bio is your epic guitar performances. Can you speak about that?

Steve Ritter

Well, my epic guitar performances probably happen mostly in the basement with pizza and cold beverages. It’s a bunch of buddies that haven’t been together for 25 or 30 years, and we order some pizza and we pull out our instruments, and somebody hits a groove with a couple of chords, and the drums come in and the bass comes in, and someone does a lead solo, and 20 minutes later, we look to each other and kind of nod, say it sounded good, and someone does something else, and three or four hours later, it’s 11:00 at night and we say goodbye and put a date on the calendar for the next month. So it’s kind of a cool thing. I think in 30 years, Pete, we’ve had three gigs. Two of them probably don’t count, so one of them we actually played in the basement level at the Double Door in 2010. So that was kind of a cool gig.

Pete Mockaitis

Certainly. Yes. And that’s fun. So I’d also like to hear you talking about authorship. So I remember when Team Clock was just a draft in a Microsoft Word document, and now it’s a full book and some more, and a blog and a business and a brand. So can you give us a bit of an update? What is this Team Clock concept all about, for starters?

Steve Ritter

The Team Clock was this model that kind of appeared in my head a long time ago that said, “If you thought of those teams or those relationships as a cycle, every spot on the clock, from 1:00 all the way back round to 12:00, could be represented by something important that happens in that relationship or on that team or in that organization, and that most teams don’t just kind of move sequentially in a line from forming and getting together to storming and having conflict, to norming and kind of setting some rules, to moving forward through that, to performing and having some kind of a celebration that “We did it. We’re a team now.” Most teams and most relationships and most groups and organizations keep growing cycle after cycle after cycle.

So as you know, as an example, Nancy and I have been married 38 years now. I bet we’ve gone through a dozen of those cycles. You can imagine the highlights of those, right? So we’ve gone around the cycle of being kind of playing house young people, being married, and then having kids changes the things that you invest in and the risks that you take as you’ve got precious cargo on board now. And then kids become teenagers, and all of a sudden, the stakes are higher, and the things you choose to do are driven by that, and then they move on, and your life changes. And as you know, we’re pretty close to welcoming a grandchild in our lives, and so the way we spend our time and the things we invest in and what’s close and important to us changes. And so marriage is a good example of thinking about that. We can apply the same rubric to any team or any organization goes through stages, and so the clock is a way of saying, “At 1:00, this is what happens. At 2:00, this is what happens.” And it gives people kind of a recipe or a guide or what a healthy team or a healthy organization looks like.

So that’s the model. And then we build an assessment tool that kind of helps you see where you’re strong and weak, and we build a lot of training resources so we can help teach people what some of the principles of effective teaming are, and we do a fair amount of coaching around that.

Pete Mockaitis

So can you talk a little bit about some of this impact now? If you have this understanding that there are kind of cycles and different phases of a team’s life, tell me what sort of happens in practice where that translates into impact? I think that at its surface, you could say, “Okay, yeah, that makes some sense.” But then when folks are working with their teams and the rubber meets the road, how do they sort of screw that up in terms of they failed to heed where they are on the Team Clock or the phase that they’re in? And what sorts of interventions make a difference there?

Steve Ritter

Well, let me just give you a case example off the top of my head. So there’s a medical team that’s stocked by world-renowned, published physicians so that the group around the table are basically all brilliant people of some party or another and would be considered outstanding individual performers. So now you assume that if you kind of take that brilliance and you take that outstanding individual performance, whether that’s medical prowess or whether that’s bedside manner or whether that’s Nobel Prize winning level publication, whatever you call the genius that’s around the table, and then you add to that that someone is friendly or respectful, then some people think that constitutes a team, as you’ve got great performers who are kind to each other, and that’s a team.

But what gets in the way sometimes is that not all relationships go well, and so there may be some competition between physicians, or maybe that the person got to the level of individual performance that they’ve had by climbing over the backs of their peers and competing with them, and being the valedictorian of their high school and being the top student of their college and getting into the best medical school, and now they’re in a profession where they have to collaborate in a multidisciplinary way with nurses and occupational therapists and all sorts of other people that don’t have any of those skills. And so the case example I’m thinking of is there was a medical group that was very interested in becoming more innovative and in leading the charge of designing medical interventions that could help take patient care to the next level, and so they wanted to build a strategic plan that would identify kind of what priorities they wanted to focus on and what actions and tactics might bring them there.

And so we get a call for the goal setting piece of this strategic plan, and while in there, I start learning more about the dozen people that are going to be leading this up. And the more I hear about those dozen people, the more I realize this is kind of a broken, dysfunctional, toxic, bad family holiday, and people get around the table, and people are disrespectful to each other, and no one is interested in collaborating because everybody knows better, and they don’t know how to disagree in a professional and constructive way, and they don’t really make space for diversity of opinions. So then somebody has a different idea about how to do something that it’s kind of safe and trusting to be able to share that idea, and there’s factions of people working and holding onto the last leader and how amazing he was, and having to embrace the different leadership style of the new guy.

And so I’m listening to all of this and realizing that we could spend all sorts of time and money helping them build a strategic plan that was going to be essentially a waste because it didn’t really have the dynamics of the team that was capable of executing or implementing any kind of a plan.

So I said that to the chairman of the department. I said, “I’m happy to facilitate a strategic plan for you, but it’s kind of a waste of your time and money.” And he goes, “What do you mean?” And I said, “You just spent 90 minutes telling me how dysfunctional everybody was, and that people aren’t communicating, and people aren’t collaborating, and people are disrespectful, and you got a bunch of egos that are battling each other at the table every Thursday morning and get a whole lot done. So if it were my group to be the chairman of, I might do it differently.”

So he said, “What would you do?” And I said, “Well, I’ll fix the team first, and then I would do the strategic plan.” “What would that look like?” I said, “Well, we begin by doing a thorough, thoughtful, rigorous assessment of all of the domains of effective teaming that we believe are drivers of their performance.” And so we’d get metrics that tell us, are you guys operating by the kind of norms of how you treat each other professionally? Is everybody aligned with the same mission? And to what degree are people aligned with the same mission and same goals and same vision and same values? And do you know how to have conflict in a constructive and professional way? And then to what degree are people connecting and being respectful? And are people holding themselves and each other accountable? And are people then taking those differences that they’ve now allowed for, and leveraging them, and using those to explore and experiment and be curious and create and innovate and make change? And then when change happens, are you adapting to it or adjusting to it? Can people kind of let go of the way it used to be and embrace the way it’s going to be in the future?

We can take all those domains and we can put a mean, like on a Likert scale, from unhealthy to healthy. If you go from 1 to 5, with 5 being healthy, is this team a 3.8 or a 4.1 or a 2.2 or whatever it is? And then we can compare that, and not to get too technical, but with some standard deviations, let’s say. So this kind of average comes from what, a consensus of opinion? Or is that kind of a blend of disparate opinions? So the people in the room, are they factioned in us and them, or are they kind of cohesive around the way we look at things? And so between the means in the standard deviations, we can actually pinpoint what areas of that team are most important to work on. Where are the areas of greatest vulnerability? Where are the areas of greatest strength? So for instance, if you want to be a really innovative team, then we know that your environment has to be trusting. We know that you have to have accountability. So if we measure the accountability on the team, if we measure the trust on the team and it comes up low, then it’s not a fruitful environment for expecting people to take risks and try new things and explore. So I said, “Then once we do that, we can train everyone on what an effective team looks like, and then we can do kind of a gap analysis and say all the strengths and weaknesses that we’ve assessed, which actions are going to have the greatest impact on getting you guys where you need to be. And then we’ll build a little action plan around that. We’ll chip away at it until we feel like the team has a sufficient foundation to move forward, and then we can do our strategic plan, and it would be meaningful.

Pete Mockaitis

Well, I love that. And that’s so good because I think most strategic plans just kind of lie in a binder in a shelf somewhere or a drawer somewhere, and I’ve heard many stories of it. And it’s unfortunate for everybody that they go through that time and waste. And I don’t know if they’re just kind of blithely unaware that their team is toxic and their dysfunctions have got to be handled, or if it’s just that they think, “Oh, strategic planning is something you just do every five years or so,” and so they do it.

And I love the data-driven approach. That’s cool. Now, I know that your interventions are unique and customized for each team based on what you’re seeing with those assessments and those data, but I have to ask. Tell us, in your experience, what are the most common team challenges where it’s not where it should be, and what are the most effective interventions? So if someone’s listening and they’re nodding their head like, “Oh, yeah, we’ve got some of those problems,” tell us what are some of the best things to do about them?

Steve Ritter

All right. So just think about the reasons that people in relationships get stuck generally. That will be the most common types of difficulties that teams have. So an easy one is that there has been some change, and people are having trouble accepting that change. So that may be my role was shifted, or maybe my favorite colleague moved to a competitor’s business, or maybe I’m in a school district, I’m a teacher, and we’ve got a new principal and she doesn’t lead the way the grandfather of the guy used to. So people are kind of under stress and lose some of their maturity and dig in their heels and protest the change by not moving forward in many ways. And so kind of getting stuck because you’re not managing change effectively is a very, very common thing we see.

The other thing that we see frequently is a follow-up, so maybe something has changed, or maybe you’ve got new circumstances or new leadership or new role or new roles. Another thing that’s usually common is that people can’t come to consensus on the direction or the goal or the mission or the vision, and so it’s kind of hard to move forward together in a relationship on a team if you don’t have kind of a common destination where everyone is going. And that’s not just saying that the way you get to that destination is the same. In fact, the good, healthy teams kind of understand the principle of finality that there are many paths to the same destination, but we all have to have the same destination. We want all the different paths to be on the table because that’s where the creativity happens, but we have to be very clear about what our goals are. A lot of teams get stuck there. Then, as you can imagine, it’s easier to say what our goal is or what our mission is than to actually do it. And so we find that a lot of teams get stuck with accountability, really being true to those values or being true to that vision or being true to those goals and actually following through with the things that they say they’re going to do. And as you can imagine, if somebody is not accountable, the first thing that breaks down is trust, and so the symptom of a team that’s stuck there is that they would tell you that “I don’t my trust my team,” or “I don’t feel trusted myself,” and that gets people stuck as well.

And then the other area that is really common for us to see is the folks who are kind of afraid of taking risks, people who are responding to the fear center of their brain rather than the frontal lobe where decisions get made. They could explore and experiment and be curious and create and innovate, but they’re concerned about failure so they hold back. Or it may be related to the other stuck place that they don’t feel like the environment will support their experimentation or their exploration so they don’t want to go out on a limb for fear that they will hold them out there. So those are the typical things.

And then the interventions that fix those things are basically some version of do you want to stay stuck or do you want to move forward? And if you want to move forward, it’s going to be some hard work. So if you think about all of the human resources, organizational development data and resources that are out there, it’s things like learning how to do conflict resolution, learning basic change management techniques, learning how to have crucial conversations. I can’t tell you how many times we were asked to come in and coach a team where all we’re really doing is facilitating really awkward, really uncomfortable, really difficult conversations between people.

And it’s simple to say but it’s really hard to do. It’s hard to have a mature, adult, professional conversation about a very delicate, very sensitive, very fragile topic. And oftentimes, having someone who can come in and put a piece of data on the problem and says, “Okay, we have corroborating evidence that this is in fact a problem,” having some kind of didactic teaching that says, “Here’s what the best teams do. Here are best practices around this issue,” and then sponsoring some facilitation of whatever the difficult conversation has to happen. As you know from when we were building the Team Clock assessment model, which to this day I appreciate your contribution to the wisdom behind that–

Pete Mockaitis

Oh, sure. Thanks.

Steve Ritter

A lot of these interventions are pretty stock kind of human resources, employee relations, organizational development interventions that essentially bring people together and then shepherd them around conversations that should have been happening without you. So like a lot of things that we as consultants do is you give people tools that equip them to eventually not need you, right?

Pete Mockaitis

Right.

Steve Ritter

And so our engagements tend to be relatively short, meaning a year or less, because if we do them well, we’re equipping people to not need our assessment, training and coaching services anymore. So an example of that is we put together a… I think we called it a culture of accountability team in a school district, where I was being paid to facilitate that team. Following the Team Clock assessment and training and action planning, now let’s execute these plans. So we put together a team of people that would be ultimately the team that would survive our engagement and do the work themselves. And so when a sub team, like a grade-level team in a middle school, for instance, were struggling with norms or values or direction or were stuck and couldn’t move forward or needed conflict resolution assistance, then this team would assist them in doing that, and they got coached and facilitated along the way. But eventually, they’d gotten good enough at it that it’s pretty clear that my presence or Team Clock, all of my people’s presence weren’t needed any longer in the room. And for us, that’s essentially our job is done. You’re now equipped with the tools and resources you need to be able to move forward in a healthy and productive way without us. In a business, it affects–

Pete Mockaitis

Customers.

Steve Ritter

Profit. Customers, and who makes money. In a school, we’re talking about impacting children, right? So the stakes are a bit higher when a school district is having issues around not being able to embrace a new leadership style or not being able to agree on the common vision for the future or not holding each other accountable. The losers in that game are the kids of the families of the community. It’s not about whether a company made money or not, or whether somebody was able to innovate some amazing product or not. It’s about kids not getting 100% of those teachers’ engagement in learning because a percentage of those teachers were being distracted by the politics of the school rather than by what was happening in the classroom. So we view that as an important platform to address because in a way, it’s like stealing from kids’ wellness. If we’re here for the mission of being able to educate children as successful, productive citizens of the next century, and 3% of our efforts are being distracted by office politics that happen in the cafeteria, then we’re stealing from kids.

Pete Mockaitis

So I guess I’d love to maybe zoom in a little bit in terms of making it all the more real. Okay, we have a problem. People don’t have trust because this happened to them in the scene there. So I’d love to make it a bit clear with regard to being able to relate and say, “Ah, yes. I have seen people up in arms about those very same kinds of issues.”

Steve Ritter

Well, so one of the places that you see it typically is following a merger or an acquisition.

Pete Mockaitis

All right.

Steve Ritter

And so the whole M&A market is a place where you have, as part of the media challenge, is this culture clash, whatever the reasons might be, as two different cultures come in together. And the goal is to be able to meld those and merge those. And so they can have all the examples of things that happened that prevent people from being comfortable taking risks. So maybe it’s that a person from the acquiring organization isn’t respectful of the history of where I came from, or maybe the way that they approach me the first time was heavy-handed in some way, or maybe I’m being micromanaged and I was perfectly capable of working autonomously and productively and accountably in the past, and all of a sudden, I’m being totally micromanaged. So then people act that stuff out, and so what’s underneath it is usually some version of either an us and them, the old guard versus the new guard, anything that you can imagine that would be a divisive element on a team and separates off one group as being different than the other usually has the impact of making people fearful to take risks, making people fearful to trust. And so whatever the division is, whatever the us and them is, old guard/new guard, veteran employees versus new employees, acquiring an organization versus acquired organization, these are all things that tend to split people up in some way and put them in factions.

And so back to the metrics for a second, that’s the beauty of standard deviations when you’re measuring people is that you can find out whether the feedback people are giving you on the assessment survey is coming from a consensus together group of people or from a couple of outliers who might have a different opinion than everybody else, or from groups… A higher standard deviation suggests that people are very split. So if you imagine just statistically for a second that on a scale of 1 to 5, people answered 3, and if there were 20 people on that team, maybe all 20 people said 3, but maybe 10 people said 1 and 10 people said 5. Well, that’s a very, very different team. And we often see those kinds of metrics in mergers and acquisitions, where you’ve got some division, and it often is old guard/new guard or whatever it happens to be, its pre-change/post-change dividing up things. And so the interventions around that are really to get around the table and say, “All right. So what are the obstacles in being a little more unified and a little more collaborative and a little more respectful of differences here?” And we may have to hear some stories about how “I’ve always been trusted to do my job in the past, and then I got this new manager from another company, all of a sudden I was being micromanaged, and I can’t work in that environment,” or something like that.

Pete Mockaitis

I see.

Steve Ritter

Each piece of data that we get unveils a story, and the story unveils the solution or the path to the solution in some way. I mean, that’s the interesting thing about doing the assessment is that all you get are metrics, but the metrics themselves don’t tell why something isn’t working or why something is vulnerable, and it forces you to then go back. So I might have gotten a piece of data on somebody who said, “We don’t have info about what’s negotiable and non-negotiable.” Well, that’s a very generic question, so if you say to somebody, “What did you have in mind when you said that?” and they’ll say, “Well, when so and so came into our leadership team, their role and my role have so much overlap I don’t know where I end and where she begins, and we need to get some clarity in our roles so we’re not stepping in each other’s toes so often.” Well, now we have a story that tells us why that data came up, and now we have a path that says if we actually talk about this and get more clarity around boundaries between roles with these two people, they’ll be able to work more respectfully and collaboratively with each other moving forward. Is that okay for an example?

Pete Mockaitis

That’s good. Yes. Thank you. And so if a large portion of the interventions that occur are really just facilitating a tricky conversation that they should have had a while ago but didn’t maybe realize with such clear clarity, now that they have to have it, what are some best practices for conducting that kind of a facilitation so that it goes effectively instead of off the rails and explosive?

Steve Ritter

Well, if you think about the very, very first domain of team effectiveness that I mention was norms. So if you think about what you would do in a personal relationship that you were going to commit to a long time, to grow with another person, you would have some norms in place, like “Let’s not leave things unresolved if somebody is mad,” Whatever the norms might be. They might be spoken or unspoken, but there would be some basic rules of engagement that say, “This is a way that we’re going to most productively move through a conversation.”

For some people, that’s just common sense. “Let’s be respectful. Let’s be mature. Let’s not raise our voices. Watch your body language. Watch your eye rolls.” All of the nonverbals and the things that create respect usually can be done without having to write down a contract that says, “Here are our rules of engagement.” But for some organizations, you’ve got to write a standard contract of rules of engagement for people. We do that in the form of a behavior checklist. We say, “All right. Here are the organization’s values. Based on these values, that when it comes to this topic, when it comes to resolving conflict, for instance, that according to your values, which include integrity, which include excellence, which include fairness or whatever it happens to be, then what would that look like? If you guys were going to babble out and be screaming about something, what would that look like?” And then we create kind of a checklist of value-based guidelines that say that however you’re going to move forward in these conversations, you’re going to do it in a way that it’s reflective and accountable to what you all agreed were the values of this organization. And then whether you have to put it on a poster or write it on a piece of paper or get people to sign something, or just say it in a room, let’s be usually respectful. Let’s make sure that we listen and check for understanding whatever the list of behaviors are going to be. That gives the guide posts for having those conversations, and then somebody can be the referee. Somebody can raise a flag when something is falling outside of those guidelines. We’ll often use that metaphor.

We’ll say, “What if everyone in the organization, whether you’re the CEO or the janitor, gets to carry one of those little yellow referee flags that the NFL football referees keep in their belts to call foul with?” And then anytime something falls outside of our values or our norms, every once in a while, we call time out and say, “Hey, that’s not what we all agreed to here. I thought we were going to be good listeners and be respectful and check for understanding and all those kinds of things.” So no one actually throws a flag, but everyone is empowered to call time out and say, “Hey, let’s fix this before we move forward.” Did that make sense?

Pete Mockaitis

Absolutely. Yes. I was just wondering if that was your role with the white and black shirt and whistle that you were just shrieking. Literally, I am imagining you in the referee uniform.

Steve Ritter

Yeah. Oftentimes, and then you find out who in the organization is comfortable with that role, because you don’t want them dependent on an external force. You want that to be an intrinsic self-monitoring thing, like you would in any relationship.

Pete Mockaitis

Yes. Perfect. That’s good stuff. Thank you, and I love to ask. Is there anything else you want to make sure that you get a chance to put out there before we shift gears and move to the fast faves?

Steve Ritter

The one thing I would put out there, and I hope people find a chance to visit the teamclock.com website,  December 2014 we finished the Team Manual and we were about to get it laid out and sent to print and prepare for the marketing and sale of the book when the aha moment happened that if the goal is to sell a book, then we should go ahead and publish it and get the cover art done and bind it and do all that, market it, and sell it. But if the goal was to have the greatest impact on the greatest number of people, then we don’t want to limit it to those who choose to buy a book. Why don’t we just put the chapters into modules on the website for free and then everyone can come and check it out? And so that’s what we did. And if you look at the analytics on the website, that is the second most visited page on the website other than the blog. There are some very specific how-to steps at everyone’s disposal. So thanks for the opportunity to share that out there.

Pete Mockaitis

Thank you for making that and making it free. That’s really handy. So we’ll certainly have that linked in the show notes here associated with this episode. So let’s go ahead and dig into the fast faves here. So can you start by telling us a favorite quote, something that inspires you repeatedly?

Steve Ritter

I am a big reader of Seth Godin’s work. Seth is kind of a marketing thought leader guru, and he was actually generous enough to give Team Clock an endorsement, but I read whatever he writes in his daily blog. And he says… So if you think about those of us who are trying to be an entrepreneur, we are often confronted with fear. So one of his quotes is, “Anxiety is experiencing failure in advance. Tell yourself enough vivid stories about the worst possible outcome in your work, and you’ll soon come to believe them. Worry is not preparation, and anxiety doesn’t make you better.” So that’s kind of a quote I think of.

Pete Mockaitis

Right on. And can you maybe also share about a favorite study or a piece of research that you find yourself referencing or thinking about often?

Steve Ritter

I’m not sure I can quote which journal. It may have been the Journal of Applied Psych. But they did a study on the greatest drivers of consultation outcome. And so whether you’re an adviser or a mentor or a counselor or a therapist or a coach or a consultant, they studied what features in that person drove the greatest outcome. And they looked at gender, they looked at age, they looked at education, they looked at training, and the greatest driver, interestingly, was the sense of connection between the consultant and the client from the client’s point of view after the first hour.

Pete Mockaitis

Wow.

Steve Ritter

So to me, that says something about how people engage and what happens in the chemistry between two human beings, and that when we’re looking for coaches or advisers or mentors, you don’t need to do a whole lot of shopping because your sense of engagement as the client is going to answer the question pretty quickly.

Pete Mockaitis

That’s handy. Well, I like that because that makes me feel like I’m not just super judgmental as I’m selecting all these contractors to help out and freelancers for projects.

Steve Ritter

Exactly. Yeah.

Pete Mockaitis

It’s like, “Maybe I should give them a fourth chance.”

Steve Ritter

You can do it after the first hour.

Pete Mockaitis

How about a favorite book?

Steve Ritter

I’m going to go back to Seth. He put out a book called “What to Do When It’s Your Turn.” So Seth Godin, G-O-D-I-N. And the subtitle is “It’s Always Your Turn.” It’s one of these books that you don’t just read cover to cover. It’s one of these books that you keep nearby and you dog ear a page and you put a bookmark in. And it’s one of those books you can go back to and be reminded of why we make art and why we take risks and what makes days meaningful, what makes connections meaningful, and so a lot of his work does that. But of the stuff that he’s written, “What to Do When It’s Your Turn” is, in my mind, the most powerful.

Pete Mockaitis

Great. And how about perhaps a favorite resonating nugget or piece that you share, and when you share it, you notice people nodding their heads, taking notes, retweeting? What is that thing or two that you say that really connects and resonates with folks?

Steve Ritter

Usually, it’s something about the value of the struggle. It’s something about how if you’re willing to… You know from seeing the Team Clock model, the simple version of it we use for cartoonlike faces, and three of the four don’t look very happy. People often say, “So Mr. Team/Relationship Expert, does that mean that in a healthy team, you’re not going to feel great most of the time?” And the answer is yeah. For healthy and functional reasons, you’re supposed to struggle because that’s the way we grow and that’s the way we change, and the idea is to keep changing and keep growing and keep evolving. And it’s way too easy to not have the conversations or way too easy to go with the comfort that comes from not taking risks or not approaching something that needs to get fixed. So I think the thing that I tend to push that resonates most with people is embrace the struggle. There’s a reason for it, and it makes you better.

Pete Mockaitis

That’s good. That may very well find its way on a quote graphic with your face on it, so thank you. We’ll carefully review the transcript before making our final decision.

Steve Ritter

Sounds good.

Pete Mockaitis

And could you maybe share a final challenge or call to action that you’d like to leave listeners with?

Steve Ritter

I like to think in terms of what I call gestalt wellness. What I mean by gestalt wellness is think of wellness as this kind of large umbrella that kind of is over your whole life and what that might include, and that we are accountable for being stewards of all those forms of wellness. So maybe that’s your physical, medical well-being and how much you exercise and the nutrition you put in your body and the toxins you try to keep out of your body or whatever it happens to be. Maybe that’s your career wellness. Maybe the things that you do professionally need to have kind of a wellness orientation. Maybe that’s financial wellness for some people. Maybe that’s spiritual wellness for others. And maybe that’s relationship wellness for others. And I think for all of us, in some ways, it’s all of those, and that we need to be good stewards of our own wellness and the wellness of that small circle of people who are most important to us in our lives. And that may be your family, that may be your friends, that may be your workplace, but we all own that accountability for the stewardship of that all-encompassing gestalt wellness for ourselves and for those people that we love.

Pete Mockaitis

Beautiful. Thank you. Well, so to find more from you, it’s teamclock.com, and that has your social media and your email and your phone and all of that?

Steve Ritter

Sure does. That’s the easiest way to get a hold of me.

Pete Mockaitis

Perfect. Thank you. And I’m sure some folks will be heading on down. And Steve, it’s been so much fun. I wish you and Team Clock lots of luck as you continue to shape and mold and optimize teams out there.

Steve Ritter

Thank you, Pete. I appreciate our history together and our connection and whatever that’s going to evolve into moving forward as well. Thanks a lot.

Pete Mockaitis

That’s a great way to say goodbye. Thank you.

Steve Ritter

All right. Take care!

Leave a Reply