Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 4, Issue 24;   June 16, 2004: Team Thrills

Team Thrills

by

Occasionally we have the experience of belonging to a great team. Thrilling as it is, the experience is rare. How can we make it happen more often?

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.

High performance
isn't the thrill —
the relationships are
He 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.

A bobsled teamAt 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. Go to top Top  Next issue: Selling Uphill: Before and After  Next Issue

Rick BrennerThe article you've been reading is an archived issue of Point Lookout, my weekly newsletter. I've been publishing it since January, 2001, free to all subscribers, over the Web, and via RSS. You can help keep it free by donating either as an individual or as an organization. You'll receive in return my sincere thanks — and the comfort of knowing that you've helped to propagate insights and perspectives that can help make our workplaces a little more human-friendly. More

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Many of the difficulties we encounter when working together don't create long-term harm, but they do cause delays, confusion, and frustration. Here's Part II of a little catalog of tactics for avoiding speed bumps. Available here and by RSS on November 30.
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Reaching consensus in technological contexts presents special challenges. Problems can arise from interactions between the technological elements of the issue at hand, and the social dynamics of the group addressing that issue. Here are three examples. Available here and by RSS on December 7.

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