Success Teams – updated post
UPDATE: We’re reposting this from last year. New web site, old post.
It’s rentree – welcome back to the regular rhythm of the year as we start our WWNG “academic year” together!
In this blog post (which I hope is the first of a regular series this year from me and by WWNG guest bloggers*) let’s have a closer look at a recent and growing success phenomenon in the WWNG: success teams.
Our association was introduced to the idea of success teams a couple of years ago by member Anna Brambilla. We’ve taken what she explained to us and adapted it in a number of interesting ways. I’d like to share with you the basic idea as we learned it, and tell you a bit about some of our experiences with WWNG success teams.
What is a “success team”?
The purpose of a success team is to give its members a way to support and be accountable to one another for everyone’s forward progress. Our experience with success teams has clearly confirmed that when you know that there are other people waiting to hear about what you have done, it’s a great motivator for following through and moving ahead on a goal!
A success team is four to six WWNG members, each with a project or goal, who agree to meet regularly for a fixed period of time. During these meetings each person recounts what she has accomplished since the last meeting and makes a commitment to the group to accomplish several more specific steps by the next meeting. There is also time during each meeting to get feedback, support, suggestions, and help from the others in the group.
At the first meeting, the group decides on when and how often to meet, on the ground rules (for absences for example), and of course on a name.
The original guidelines suggest a 6-week limit for a success team. This makes it easier for individuals to commit to full participation, and allows the group to conclude gracefully. Some participants go on to form new groups, keeping the energy fresh.
How has the WWNG incorporated success teams?
Anna offered the WWNG a set of guidelines and an agenda for each success team kickoff meeting, which we have incorporated into the Professional Enrichment Program (PEP) handouts. We used the PEP as a natural launching pad for success teams beginning in 2012. Many of the PEP participants who set concrete, near term goals during the PEP workshops signed up. I helped start up (with the agenda and groundrules) and things took off from there.
Since then, we have launched a number of success teams after 2 more PEP sessions, with both PEP alumnae and through announcements to the WWNG membership.
I think we have had around 10-12 success teams since we inaugurated the idea 2 years ago. I’m not sure of the exact number, because we have not asked for any reporting from the groups. I learned via our excellent grapevine that there are a number of success teams that have formed on their own!
What interesting things have we learned?
About organizing: The hardest part of the whole exercise is finding a good day and time for 6 people to form a group! We have tried using an online poll – it worked reasonably well, but I’m open to other suggestions.
About timing: The original success team guidelines suggest that the team meet at least once a week. Most of our teams have followed this, but a few decided to meet every other week instead. This timing allowed the participants to commit to larger accomplishments than they felt they could accomplish in just one week intervals.
About goal-setting: Getting something concrete from a success team really does require having some kind of a goal – but the choice of goal is entirely up to you. We’ve had both professional and personal goals put forth – I had a success team help motivate me for an interior decoration project last year and I finally painted my kitchen!
About progress: I’ve had the good fortune to participate directly in 5 success teams now. I personally feel I’ve been able to make significant progress on several of my goals. How about you? Have you been on a success team? What has the experience produced for you? (Feel free to share your experience with other WWNG members – reply to this post.)
What innovations has WWNG introduced?
Because we are busy, we come from all around Grenoble. One enterprising success team decided to try meeting remotely, via Skype. I participated in that group and think we had a super success – I will recommend a “virtual success team” as a great alternative for those of you who can’t get away at lunchtime or after work or those of you for whom the travel time would be an obstacle to participating in a success team.
And…what do you do if you want to be part of a success team?
With the start of the “new year” at rentree, we can start up a fresh crop of success teams. If you are interested in joining one, reply to this post in the ORAs – we’ll organize a new online poll and see if we can find some mutual dates and times.
*Guest bloggers – maybe this is you! If you have a favorite networking/WWNG topic you’d like to write about, contact Amy Church-Morel. It can be any length (short is ok), and don’t worry if English is not your native language – write whatever you wish. We have excellent English editing services!