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Friday, April 27, 2012

Team Tips – 9 {Ramble on...}


It's a rainy day here, and I've pretty much caught up on work and administrivia, and since I've already fixed the hole where the rain gets in, my mind isn't kept from wandering...

This random? wandering includes the team challenges:
  • maintaining momentum
  • taking the Core Protocols literally
  • mining the richness of the BootCamp learning
  • why do bees buzz?

Maintaining momentum

As Vickie and I continue to work with groups that have attended the Simple Rules and Tools of Great Teams Immersion (aka BootCamp) inevitably individuals and teams find some aspect of the week long immersion into the delight of being useful – to themselves, and others – waning. Part of that might be running out of the adrenalin that typically is part of the experience. Sometimes it is physically demanding to stick at something. Perhaps we are experiencing enough personal change that our legacy behaviours and training start to push back. There can be disappointment that things didn't work as well on this part of the product as we remember it the last time. Or in the fun of trying many ideas we have lost track of a pattern for success – how we did it last time or how that felt. When we have reached the greener grass on the other side of the fence it can be difficult to remember how dry and withered the original side was.

Sometimes we just need to pause, take a collective deep breath, renew our support for each other, reconfirm our vision and alignments, and remember the wealth of possibility in front of us.

Taking the Core Protocols literally

If a particular Rule or Tool – Commitment or Protocol – is feeling like a burden, then we might be taking it too literally. Consider the problem of attempting to write down the paths to greatness. How I, or the next person, or the Core Protocols document, or the BootCamp Manual describe an experience will be highly variable. My view isn't automatically yours, your insights may not be mine, your words a different choice than in the document. If we are used to working with computing devices in black or white coding we have to remind ourselves that great teamwork is poetry, not bits and bytes. The algorithms of great team behaviour – the Protocols – are the result of years of refinement, including finding the best words. And if English isn't our first language, the difficulty is compounded. Take the example of “Will you ...” in Ask for Help. I've learned that this causes no end of confusion for translators. The intent isn't the future tense of the verb, but agreement to participate. Even the conditional “Would you” doesn't work.

The words are the best we have at the moment; the trick is to comprehend the intent and the spirit in the rules and tools, and keep practicing.

Mining the richness of the BootCamp learning

And if we digest each word in the Core, and read the BootCamp Manual many times, and think deeply about our week of immersion in the Simple Rules and Tools are we finished? I know for myself after 10 years of daily use and helping to instruct over 25 teams that I still learn something every time I read the words. And it is always fun to read some new book, a blog, a technique, a study that speaks to one single idea that is part of the thousands in the BootCamp experience as if that one alone was the answer. We live in a world looking for the seven habits, the four dashboard quadrants, the four agreements, the ten commandments, etc. Naturally authors and publishers are going to try to attract our attention to the silver bullets that make our lives wonderful. I just wonder how they would react to finding the wealth and depth and richness of BootCamp learning.

There is just so much there to explore, to try, and play with when one is dealing with the foundations of team communication and behaviour, the science of human systems dynamics.

Why do bees buzz?

Because they don't know the words. However, that doesn't stop them. I don't perceive that they analyze, I think they just get on with it. They do what works for them. When that flower doesn't work today they try another one. When a field or garden does provide pollen they repeat what works.

That's also what we have seen. Successful teams just get on with it. If this commitment or another helps, or this protocol or another adds value, then use it again. Or not. Try something else. Just get into the garden and smell the roses. And enjoy the honey.

Ramble on!


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