The Teamwork $ Test

One of the big difference makers in business rests in the power of effective teams working together to solve problems.  The old adage matters:

2 Heads are Better Than 1!

But encouraging teamwork, group problem solving, brainstorming or any other activity where people are supposed to work together is fraught with challenges.  A few come to mind:

  • LISTENING:  Lets face it, listening is a skill, and not many people rank high on this one….

  • Ego: Even for good listeners, sometimes ego gets in the way of hearing what others have to say, that it has real value

  • Change:  Maybe collaboration has never been pushed before?  What are the ground rules?  How do we all behave?

Sometimes there’s no better way to advocate change than to PROVE that the change creates a clear better outcome, that can be quantified.  

In the area of teamwork, here’s a little test to try:

  1. Find a business issue that needs to be tackled, that creates a specific $ result.  Examples:  Purchasing, sales growth, supplies, capital spending, training.

  2. Identify a group of people that could form a diversified/cross-functional team to solve it.

  3. Ask them each as individuals to spend SOME time (maybe 1-2 hours) coming up with their plan and $ outcome.  Tell them to write it down, but it won’t be shared.

  4. Bring the team together and discuss the same issue.  Pick someone that knows how to facilitate the discussion, get all thoughts on the white board, don’t analyze as you go, save that for the end.

  5. Solve the problem with the group.

The team $ outcome by definition should be greater than the average of the individual outcomes.  If they are not, than something was not facilitated properly, or people with the higher outcome did not make their case effectively.  Or the solution was not universally accepted as feasible.

The point is this:

If you want Teamwork, prove that teamwork creates better outcomes.  And when you do solve a problem with effective teamwork, celebrate the achievement.  


Want to Lead? Grab a Squeegee & Make it Your Friend

I love metaphors & symbols.  They bring a point home clearly, better than words alone can do.

You know what brings home a point even better?  ACTIONS.  The EXAMPLE you set.

In a food manufacturing facility, water on the floors tends to be all around, and it’s also a safety risk.  There’s an Old School Tool to combat water on the floor:  The Squeegee!

squeegee as a metaphor for leading

If your a leader and want something done, encouraging people to take ACTION against something important is mandatory.

“Keep the floors dry, PLEASE!”

Even more important?  Backing up your Plea with your OWN behavior.

Never let the squeegee go untouched and get lonely.  Pick it up and make it your friend.  Pull some water off the floor.  Do it daily.  More than 1x per day.  Your team will notice, then follow suit (eventually).

Grabbing a squeegee for even 30 seconds while running to your next appointment will set the tone for the troops.

Directives are always needed.  Backing up a directive with ACTION brings the importance to life.

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