Taking the “Dys” out of Dysfunction: The TRUST Model for Teams and Organizations

3-hour Seminars

Day 1

Session Code: SEM-H
When: April 16, 2019
Location/Room: M 100 J
Level: Intermediate
Track: Innovation & Transformation
Presenters: Tatyana Fertelmeyster, Connecting Differences, LLC  |  Dr. Daniel Cantor Yalowitz, DCY Consulting


If you have ever worked for a toxic organization or were a part of a dysfunctional team you may be feeling a sense of dread even reading these words. How long did you stay? What finally propelled you out? Was it at all up to you to instigate change? Did you try?

If you are in the midst of dysfunction right now, you can clearly measure the distance between the company values that decorate the lobby wall and the everyday behavioral manifestations of very different, though undeclared, values. Do you stay? Do you go? Is it in your power to turn it around? Do you know how to go about it? Any chance it is (was) you? How we perceive and experience others and how others perceive and experience us can play an important role in being labeled as “toxic,” “difficult,” “not a team player,” etc.

Hopefully, you also know how it feels to be a part of a healthy, open, engaging and “engageable” workplace. We like to compare it to a healthy organism where blood flow is not blocked or restricted by toxins; where each part knows what it’s doing and gets all necessary support from other parts; and where energy and resources get mobilized immediately if a problem arises. In our engagements with teams and organizations, we’ve seen some that were too far gone and the best thing for people to do was to look for a new job ASAP. We have worked with teams where combining appropriate interventions with a willingness to change has empowered people to make significant shifts in their working relationships and environments. We always very much enjoy our encounters with organizations that don’t need any “treatment” but rather benefit from staying mindful and intentional about maintaining and strengthening what works.

In this seminar, we will introduce our TRUST Model—Toxicity Removal for Underperforming and Stressed-out Teams—and engage participants in a variety of interactive activities that focus on building skills for inclusion and integration as a way to maximize trust while minimizing fear. Studies show (and you know it from your own life experiences) that trust and fear don’t coexist very well in human relationships, be it in a family or in a corporate office. Saturation of either one unavoidably diminishes the other.

A lot of attention during the session will be given to participants working in small groups focused on practical applications to their own workplace realities using various tools and ideas introduced by facilitators. Generative creativity—one of the core skills of well-working teams—will be fully unleashed during this group work.

Practitioners of human-centered design, we approach every workshop and every team training we conduct as a collaborative co-creation of relevant content supported by process responsive to group dynamics and enriched by incorporating teachable moments. As facilitators, we focus on creating a safe container in which participants are challenged to stretch and go a step (or a few steps) further. We see our TRUST Model as a living, breathing, and evolving set of creative experiential approaches to working with teams and organizations. We expect that engaging a whole room of D&I practitioners in experiencing it together will not only provide practical and engaging learning for participants, but also add new ideas to our own work with teams.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Recognize the roots of workplace dysfunction.
  2. Identify appropriate interventions to bridge the gaps in trust.

The Forum on Workplace Inclusion®
2211 Riverside Ave, CB 54
Minneapolis, MN 55454
(612) 373-5994

Photos by Sarah Morreim Photography
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