Sunday, 22 April 2012

Together Everyone Achieves More

Believe me, this will be stuck in
your head for quite some time!
Cheesy, right? However, despite wincing at the all-American cheerleading images that frolic into your head when you read this, you know that it makes sense.

On a recent overnight “away day” with our Management team I was confronted by this clever little acronym and immediately decided that it was worth passing on to others. Now I am probably not the best for making an authoritative decision as to the value of these sorts of things because I can often be a bit of a cheerleader myself. I love to be inspired and forced to think ... and often the cheesier it is, the better. This time though, I was sure that this simple acronym was an important one.

I am sure there are a number of people reading this blog (well maybe there aren’t actually but I will continue nonetheless) who come from the school of “if you want to get a job done, do it yourself” and I can’t blame them. There are many times when I am sat re-doing things that I have asked someone else to help me to do because I do not believe they have successfully reached my required standards of completing the task. The most prominent example of which is house cleaning; my partner Paul is absolutely useless at cleaning the house. He does a great job at the superficial cleaning, where he ensures that there is nothing left on the sides and the carpet has been hovered but he ignores the dust on the skirting boards and certainly forgets the tiles around the bath (Wow, I just realised that I have turned into my mother!).  Despite my frustrations at his lack of attention to the finer details of cleaning, I know deep down that it would be so much easier and a quicker task if I allowed him to help me rather than flapping about it and re-doing it all by myself. Really, it is all about us understanding what we are trying to achieve, using each of our strengths to our advantage and working out the best way that we can get the job done together. Mind you, that didn’t work with the building of the furniture when we moved in to our house, so perhaps we are going to have to work extra hard at this.

A book that I am reading at the moment “The Five Dsyfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni tells a story in the opening pages where an incredibly successful business founder expresses the power of teamwork. He says “If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time”. This is pretty powerful stuff and I am 100% convinced that he is right but the question remains, how do you achieve that? I think that perhaps this will always be an elusive goal due to the number of determining factors involved but there are many things that we can do, within our personal and professional lives, to ensure greater teamwork.

One of the most important elements of teamwork is clear communication. Everyone in the team needs to understand where they are going, what their particular role in getting there is and what the end result will look like. Teamwork will always seem clunky at the beginning, especially if these 3 questions are not answered and sometimes it will seem easier to just get on with things by yourself.

An acquaintance of mine recently attended a leadership course, upon which he was asked to complete a team exercise with other attendees. They were encouraged to work together, with a few curveballs thrown in (e.g the leader acting in a passive and indecisive way) and managed to complete the set task in no more than 10 minutes. When the participants were asked about what they thought about the task and how they could improve, many of them believed they could have done it by themselves in a much quicker time.

They were probably right.

However, they were then told that the quickest a team had ever completed the challenge was in less than a minute, an impossibility for one man/woman alone. This achievement required teamwork, with every member on the team pointing in the same direction with an understanding of how their jigsaw puzzle piece fit into the wider puzzle.

Quite simply:

Together Everyone Achieves More

No comments:

Post a Comment