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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Team Tips - 4 {Is this for me?}

Another challenge for teams comes from Jose R.:
“Can everybody work in teams?”
I am so very tempted to reply with a sarcastic answer, except that wouldn't be helpful, and this is a really tough challenge.

Some people I have observed over the years just don't seem suited to work with others at all. I leave it to psychologists to analyze and guess why. But most of us have encountered those who simply like to work independently or even have a difficult time making conversation with one other person, let alone a team.

In fact, some people, like myself, chose to work in fields like computer science to reduce the amount of time needed to deal with other humans, their emotional states, their foibles, etc., and maximize their time dealing with the pure, rational, logic of computing.

And some, like myself (again! ?), find themselves so disappointed and de-motivated working in organizational groups where there is no clear vision, objective, approach, sharing of ideas, focus on results, etc. that they can't function effectively. In those kinds of organizations I am un-employable (and have the severance packages to show for it.)

So if we view the challenge as “Can teams provide a work environment for everyone?” we can see why team building, team work, team success is difficult for lots of organizations and anyone who is stuck on those teams.

For those teams that can demonstrate success through the delivery of great results on time every time*, we can revert back to the original question and ask: “Can anyone at all become part of that team?”

And unless the product or service that your organization delivers to its customers can be built by one person only, never interacting with anyone else, we need to address this challenge.

What we have found in our work with teams using the Simple Rules and Tools of Great Teams* is that no, not everyone will want to be part of a given team's shared vision, and adopt the rules and tools to deliver great results. Some just aren't ready to step out of their comfort zone, give up their previously learned models and behaviours for mediocre results, accept the responsibility and accountability to be their best. This isn't a judgemental statement; it's just fact.

We all become ready to be our best in our own time, at our own pace. Unfortunately, in my opinion, some run out of time before they get to a decision.

What we have also found so far is that the best way to know if one IS ready to be part of a team is to attend the team building session known as BootCamp from McCarthy Technologies. There one is immersed in the Simple Rules and Tools of Great Teams and can discover for themselves if they are ready, and what it means to be part of a great team. As covered in the previous posts, this also allows the boss to recognize which people are creating which team, and for an existing team to determine their members.

Another choice is to join a great team for a probationary period to see if one is up to the challenge. An important team work practice is prototyping: building versions of the required product or service to be “perfected” (using the Perfection Game tool). Similarly, a probationary period for a new member is a use of prototyping.

Being part of a team isn't about group hugs or being in constant agreement with the rest of the team. Sometimes independent behaviour by a team member is the best choice for the team in a particular situation. Further, if the team's shared vision isn't shared by someone, then it is best that they leave the team – to possibly form their own team.

So if you are one of those extremely rare people who never needs to work with anyone else, you don't have to concern yourself with team work. Happily for the rest of us there are really excellent options.

Click here for your own copy of the Core Protocols – the Simple Rules and Tools of Great Teams.

To add your team challenges to the list please add a comment below or message me @ReevesResults on Twitter.

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