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5 Core Values of Mutual Learning Teams

Tuesday, July 9, 2013
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Teams seeking to move away from a unilateral control mindset and instead to embrace the mutual learning mindset, will first need to live the five core values that are designed to produce results that include high performance, better relationships, and individual satisfaction. 

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The five core values consist of the following:

Transparency: You must share all relevant information, including your thoughts, feelings, and strategies with the appropriate people at the appropriate time. It means explaining why you are saying what you’re saying, why you’re asking what you’re asking, and why you’re doing what you’re doing. Everyone needs to be on the same page to move forward. 

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Curiosity: Ask questions that you don’t already know the answers to. In challenging situations, you may believe you understand them and have the right ideas to solve them, but you are at a loss when others disagree. Either they don’t see what you see or you don’t know what they know. Do not feel threatened by new information or ideas. Engage others and allow them to question your ideas, but most of all, take an interest in what others feel, think, and say. 

Informed choice: Informed choice is built on information that you generate through transparency and curiosity. Informed choice means making decisions and maximizing others’ abilities to make decisions based on relevant information in a way that builds commitment. Not only are you informed, so too, are those you are working with. When your team makes informed choices they become more committed to the decisions. 

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Accountability: The organization depends on you to make good decisions and to be held accountable for the short- and long-term consequences of such decisions. Accountability means that you are expected to explain your reasoning, decisions, and actions by others. It is not sufficient to simply tell others what you said, what you did, or what you decided. It is necessary to explain what led you to say, do, or decide what you did. By helping others understand your thinking you reduce the chance that people will make up inaccurate stories about your intent. 

Compassion: Without compassion, the mutual learning approach feels hollow and robotic. It is the emotional glue that holds all the core values together. When you operate from compassion you are aware of the pain that people you work with face, you internally connect to their pain, cognitively. and emotionally; and you respond to the pain.

Blog post is adapted from Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams: How You and Your Team Get Unstuck to Get Results (Jossey-Bass, April 2013). 

About the Author

Roger Schwarz is president and CEO of Roger Schwarz & Associates. He is a recognized thought leader in the realm of team leadership effectiveness for two decades, and the author of Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams: How You and Your Team Get Unstuck to Get Results (Jossey-Bass, April 2013) and The Skilled Facilitator.

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