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:
- Critical Thinking and Midnight Pizza
- When we notice patterns or coincidences, we draw conclusions about things we can't or didn't directly
observe. Sometimes the conclusions are right, and sometimes not. When they're not, organizations, careers,
and people can suffer. To be right more often, we must master critical thinking.
- The Paradox of Confidence
- Most of us interpret a confident manner as evidence of competence, and a hesitant manner as evidence
of lesser ability. Recent research suggests that confidence and competence are inversely correlated.
If so, our assessments of credibility and competence are thrown into question.
- How to Make Good Guesses: Strategy
- Making good guesses — guessing right — is often regarded as a talent that cannot be taught.
Like most things, it probably does take talent to be among the first rank of those who make conjectures.
But being in the second rank is pretty good, too, and we can learn how to do that.
- False Summits: II
- When climbers encounter "false summits," hope of an early end to the climb comes to an end.
The psychological effects can threaten the morale and even the safety of the climbing party. So it is
in project work.
- Wacky Words of Wisdom: VI
- Adages, aphorisms, and "words of wisdom" seem valid often enough that we accept them as universal
and permanent. Most aren't. Here's Part VI of a collection of widely held beliefs that can be misleading
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming December 18: The Trap of Beautiful Language
- As we assess the validity of others' statements, we risk making a characteristically human error — we confuse the beauty of their language with the reliability of its meaning. We're easily thrown off by alliteration, anaphora, epistrophe, and chiasmus. Available here and by RSS on December 18.
- And on December 25: Disjoint Awareness
- In collaborations, awareness of how our own work might interfere with the work of others is essential. Unless our awareness of others' work — and their awareness of ours — matches reality, the collaboration's objective is at risk. Available here and by RSS on December 25.
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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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