Ed sat up straight in his chair. "Before we begin," he said, "I need to say something. You all know that I've been out a lot these past two weeks and a bit distracted by the situation with my son. Well, the danger's passed and we expect he's going to be fine." A chorus of whoops and table thumps filled the room. Smiles all around.
isn't the thrill —
the relationships areHe continued, "I'm back now, and I want to thank you all for your understanding, but especially I want to thank Marian. That first day, when I called her…no, wait." He stopped, and turned to Marian, who was seated at his right. "Marian. That first day, when I called you from the hospital, you didn't even let me ask you for help. You just said, 'I've got the ball, Ed. You look after your son. Don't even check your email.'" Ed's voice cracked.
He paused to compose himself — a long pause. He continued looking at Marian. Marian looked back. Silence in the room.
Slowly, he continued. "And I want to thank you for backing me up." More pause. More silence. "That's all."
Everyone applauded. They stood. The applause continued. Marian beamed. Ed beamed back.
At least once in our careers — if we're really fortunate, more than once — we belong to a team that we remember fondly for years afterwards. The team was a high-performing team, and pride did go along with that, because high performance and high achievement are valuable to the organization.
But for most of us, high performance isn't the thrill — the relationships are. We remember the people, and we remember how great we felt to be a part of that team. What was it that made that team so great? How can we make that experience happen again?
- Step forward
- Teams like Ed's and Marian's achieve alignment of purpose through hard work. If you want to be part of it, you have to be part of it.
- Appreciate yourself
- When you work hard to elevate your team to the heights, appreciate yourself, whether the team does or not.
- Appreciate others
- When someone contributes a treasure, appreciate both the contribution and the contributor, publicly and with feeling. Like Ed did.
- Appreciate appreciators
- When someone publicly appreciates a contribution and a contributor, appreciate the appreciator. The standing ovation wasn't only for Marian — it was for Ed, too, and for the team as a whole.
- Ask for help when you need it
- When Ed needed help, he asked — or he would have if Marian hadn't offered first. When you need help, ask your teammates. And when a great team needs help, it asks for help.
Great teams don't just happen. The people who belong to them make them great teams. If your team isn't a great team yet, what would happen if you decided, right now, to help make it a great team? Give it try. Let me know how it goes. Top Next Issue
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More articles on Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness:
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Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
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- Recent research into the effectiveness of brainstorming has raised some questions. Motivated to examine alternatives, I ran into speedstorming. Here's Part II of an exploration of the properties of speedstorming. Available here and by RSS on February 27.
- And on March 6: A Pain Scale for Meetings
- Most meetings could be shorter, less frequent, and more productive than they are. Part of the problem is that we don't realize how much we do to get in our own way. If we track the incidents of dysfunctional activity, we can use the data to spot trends and take corrective action. Available here and by RSS on March 6.
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- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
- Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.
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