What Great Team Players Really Do
True story. I’m in a sixth-grade PE class and we’re running relays. Instead of around-the-oval relays where you pass the baton from behind, we’re running back and forth on a straight line. You run straight at the person you’ll pass the baton to; they take it and run right back the other way.
Lt. Columbo, (Former) Sales Guy
If you’re old enough, you might remember Lt. Columbo, the absent-minded, rumpled detective whose catchphrase was, “Oh, one more thing.” This was always followed by a question his suspect didn’t expect. Enough of these, and he’d eventually catch the suspect in a lie. Case closed.
Assume Good Intent, then Ask a Question
We spend a lot of time with our clients helping them learn to become truly open and honest with each other. That requires lots of trust building (which happens in real time during meetings, not out in the woods on rope courses).
It also requires changing some deeply embedded behaviors, one of which is how we respond to comments, ideas and suggestions with which we disagree.
The Unarguable Position
Years ago, a wise coach taught me that “You can’t not have your thoughts and feelings.” Neuroscience tells us that they occur in your brain in about 3/1000’s of a second. That’s too fast for you to either stop or control. You get to decide what to do about them, but not having them is not an option.
The good news for you is that because you can’t stop or control them your thoughts and feelings, you have every right to have them. You also have every right to tell other people what they are. All you have to do is acknowledge that they’re not objective truths. They’re just your thoughts and feelings.
Work Yourself Out of a Job
In a recent post, I told the story of a client whose head of engineering – a very strong player – quit suddenly, just as the corona virus shutdown was looming. Under pressure, they quickly promoted one of their staff engineers to take his place. To their great surprise, they quickly learned that he was every bit as strong as the person he replaced, and perhaps even stronger.
Fight or Flight
Buried deep in the reptilian part of our brain is a system that quickly constantly scans the environment looking for potential threats. When it spots one, it reacts with an instant impulse of “fight” or “flight”.
The more recently developed portions of our brain help us ultimately decide what to do. But the instant assessment cannot be turned off. It is an automatic, unconscious response to threat, developed over millions of years to help enhance the odds of survival.
Client Spotlight: Farmer’s Fridge
Farmer’s Fridge is a startup with a BHAG of making healthy food as accessible as a candy bar. If you live in greater Chicago (and now Milwaukee, metro New York and elsewhere), you may have seen their vending machines in office buildings, airports, hospitals and more. The challenge they’ve taken on is enormous, and they’re well on their way.
As Go You. . .
When we get a team together for an EOS® Quarterly session, the first thing we do is debrief on the last 90 days. How did we do? How accountable were we? What did we learn that will help us build a better plan for the next 90 days and do a better job of executing it?
As you might imagine, right now those debriefs include a lot of reflection on how the team responded to the COVID-19 shutdown. Crises pressure-test everything. As one team member said recently, “You see everyone’s true colors.”
Client Spotlight – Hillerich & Bradsby
When COVID-19 shut down baseball, other sports and tourism, their business revenue was severely impacted. As you can see in the video below, they quickly shifted their glove supply chain into the production of anti-bacterial face masks, donating a portion of the proceeds to food banks. Although it’s not shown in the video, they also re-purposed their national distribution center, turning it into a shipping point for PPE of all kinds.
Client Spotlight – Platinum Pest Solutions
When COVID-19 hit, property managers became reluctant to allow Platinum’s technicians into their buildings and residents became afraid to allow them into their units. That was bad for everyone. Residents started having more pest problems. Property managers started getting more complaints. And Platinum’s revenues took a big hit.