This tool is called a Pride System. It helps your team members minimize negative pride on one end of the spectrum and maximize communication and self-esteem on the other.

I’ve found the study of pride very helpful in learning to collaborate deeper to increase team strength & speed.Why? Pride isn’t a very safe subject to discuss for some and it’s hard to define and use with skill in our interactions with others. It’s a complex emotion and I’ve found it to be so rich in opportunity to help us collaborate deeper that it might be the most powerful collaboration tool we can use. 

Let’s draw-out some of that richness by making a distinction between different types of pride and assemble it into a Pride System.

In the positive, pride is a satisfied sense of attachment toward one’s own or another’s choices and actions, or toward a whole group of people such as a nation or ethnicity. I call this virtuous pride. Virtuous pride is aligned with and feeds the greater good. Virtuous pride feeds and enhances creativity, productivity and altruism – in all those touched by it.

In the negative, pride refers to an inflated sense of one’s personal status or accomplishments. When someone has accomplished a great deal, the negativity comes from the love of one’s own excellence. Alternatively, when someone has not accomplished much at all, their pride is out of sync with reality. Negative pride is vanity or inwardly focused any way you slice it and can tend to create feelings of frustration, embarrassment and shame in others. 

A third form of negative pride is false pride, in other words, humility with ulterior motives. It is a lack of character. Some political figures are examples of someone with false pride.  

You can use the pride system to increase safety in team communication by setting the tone of conversations at the beginning of a project and as necessary such as when on boarding new teams members in the middle of the project. Also, the Pride System can be added when creating the project team’s “rules of engagement” for meetings. It helps distinguish what collaborative behavior looks like and doesn’t look like. 

Questions to begin use of the Pride System:

What type of pride is in use right now?

How do we remove sources of negative pride?

When the relationships between team members is at its peak, what does it look like?

The Pride System is one of a small number of tools (e.g. Pride System, Group think Test, Team Flow Model), that when used together, can dissolve the majority of the blockages to collaborating deeper.   

Imagine an “x” & “y” axis with a sloping line, inside and to the right of this axis, sloping from the top of the “x” axis to the far right end of the “y” axis. That’s the team strength & speed accelerant curve. The north/south or “pride” axis is the “x” axis and the west/east or “communication” axis is the “y” axis. At the top, far left of the sloping line is high negative pride, low communication and at the bottom, far right is low negative pride, high communication. 

Most new teams start and can remain at the top, far left. If collaborating deeper is a project objective and increasing communication is a strategy to achieve this objective, then minimizing negative pride is a tactic to complete the strategy and achieve the project objective. Success is measured by moving from the top left to the bottom far right of the accellerant curve. 

We have to figure out at the beginning of a project, behaviorally, what steps along the curve look like so we can measure progress as a team moves from high negative pride/low communication towards low negative pride/high communication. 

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