Use the “4 Ps” to emerge from the pandemic a stronger, more collaborative team

How will you balance a desire for flexible work arrangements with ensuring fairness and equality? How will you manage burnout and rebuild team connections that may have suffered during the pandemic?

July 7, 2021

Canada is opening for business. With vaccination rates increasing and cases of COVID-19 decreasing, provinces are reopening their economies. After 16 months of public health restrictions, business closures and all the challenges that came along with the pandemic, we all deserve a minute of celebration. However, for many organizations the hard work is just beginning.

A wave of change is coming, and leadership teams have some tough questions to answer. As employees return to the office, will it be business as usual, or will it look different? How will you balance a desire for flexible work arrangements with ensuring fairness and equality? How will you manage burnout and rebuild team connections that may have suffered during the pandemic?

The opportunity

While these are difficult questions to answer, they also present a unique opportunity. If there was ever a time to hit the reset button, it is now. It is the perfect time to build a culture of team collaboration and change the way you work together.

The pandemic shined a light on teams’ strengths and weaknesses. If your team was already good at collaborating before COVID-19, chances are you got even better. However, if you weren’t working well together before, you probably got worse over the last year.

Either way, this is a chance to think about the long-term changes you can make to become a dream team.

The 4 Ps for team collaboration

Making this foundational shift doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. We use the 4 Ps to help teams figure out where to start, where they want to go, and how to get there.

The 4 Ps:

  1. Identify a shared PURPOSE. Determine what the group wants to accomplish and what success looks like. Discover what inspires team members to show up to work every day and create a scenario that everyone can get excited about. An unclear purpose can lead to a lack of team and/or personal commitment.
  2. Agree on the PROBLEM. Figure out what obstacles are in the way and what problem your team is trying to solve. Remember that different team members may be facing different obstacles. Undefined problems can lead to uninspired solutions and a lack of empathy among the team.
  3. Make a PLAN. Identify solutions that will help the group overcome those obstacles and achieve its “purpose”. Clarify responsibilities for team members. The absence of a feasible plan can create a sense of chaos, which may lead to fear and uncertainty.
  4. Lay out the PRINCIPLES. Decide on norms and values to guide your team’s culture and behaviour. Unclear principles can create confusion and misunderstanding, leading to frustration and potential conflict.

You have the answers – we help you uncover them

The 4 Ps don’t have to be followed in order. While many organizations start with “Purpose”, some may skip right down to “Principles”. It is flexible, which is why having a facilitator to guide the process can be extremely helpful.

The facilitation process always starts with a thorough discovery or assessment, so that we can determine your objectives for the meeting. It is important to be clear on what you’d like to accomplish, what success looks like and how we get there. When we work with you, we don’t provide the answers. It’s our job to ask the right questions and guide team collaboration as you uncover your own answers and path forward.

Now is the time to hit the reset button

Through that conversation, we can help you tackle the big questions you are facing in the post-pandemic world. Do you simply turn the lights back on and send everyone back to their cubicles? Or do you use this as an opportunity to reset and rethink what kind of company, organization or team you want to be?

Over the past 16 months, companies have been forced to stretch and think outside the box. The “end” of the pandemic should not bring that creativity to a screeching halt. Instead, let’s keep the momentum going through team collaboration. If that has been a challenge during the pandemic, it isn’t too late to start building momentum now.

We don’t get many opportunities in life to start fresh. If there is a silver lining to the pandemic, perhaps it’s the chance to reset, rethink and redo. A chance to bring people together and, through collaboration and the 4 Ps, decide what we want the future to look like. And make it happen.

Written by
Robin Parsons

Robin has more than twenty-five years of experience as an effective leader and strategic thinker. She helps organizations have better conversations that help them work together more effectively.

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About Us

Parsons Dialogue is based in Calgary, Canada, serving clients across North America. We design and facilitate strategic processes that help teams collaborate with clarity and confidence.

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