May 20th, 2013
Leadership and Teamwork – Pull the Oars … Count the Beats
Another guest blog today, from Patti Grimm. Great message on working together for everyone’s benefit.
Analogies and stories are powerful ways to communicate a message which people remember. A lot of business writers, professors and business consultants use a number of different analogies to illustrate the value and power of working in High Performance Teams in order to deliver sustainable business results. The most common analogies today center around “Getting Everyone on the Bus” or “Getting Everyone on the Same Page” or “Getting Everyone Singing From the Same Sheet of Music.” The challenge with these analogies is people can be a massive or passive rider on a bus. People can all be on the same page but be reading different stories. People can be singing from the same sheet of music and still be out of tune with each other.
One of my favorite things to do where I lived in the beautiful Pacific Northwest is to drive over the I-520 floating bridge (and yes the bridge does actually float on Lake Washington) and watch the University of Washington men’s or women’s rowing team practice in perfect formation and be the true example of the value and power of teamwork. I am always amazed by the teams of 2 to 16 people rowing in perfect sync and listening to the coxswain coach the team across the beautiful crystal clear blue water.
Based on my love of rowing here is the analogy I‘ve used with clients in one on one executive coaching sessions, in change leadership and team development sessions. When an organization is fully aligned with a shared vision, a common goal and a set of operating principles for which they hold each other accountable and use to make business decisions, you’ll see a fully engaged team. You see everyone in the same boat … facing the same direction … with the same sized oars … pulling the oars in perfect synchronization and all the leader needs to do is count the beats to achieve perfect precision, teamwork and business results.
In too many organizations today you find a variety of people working together and still not reaching their full potential as a high performance team. Here is what is happening in many organizations – You have some people in the boat with very short oars rowing very fast but not fully contributing. You have another group of people in the boat with very long oars, pulling deep in the water and feeling like they are the ones “holding up the team.” You see some people in the boat facing the wrong direction and actually working against the team. And you have a few people standing on the dock and wondering where the boat is going.
The power of teams and teamwork is having everyone in the boat, facing in the same direction with the same sized oars. It is pure beauty in motion to see a high performance a rowing team, sports team, orchestra or a work team pulling together to achieve their shared vision and fulfill their mission. When the team is in complete alignment, all the leaders need to do in “count the beats” to sustain long term business results and win the race against the competition. Here is a great quote which tells the story that in order to have a team, it takes work to make it happen.
Coming together is a beginning …
Working together is progress …
Staying together is success!
Contact us @ www.advantage-performance.net or call Pattie Grimm @ 425.289.6619 for more information on how we can help you, your leaders and teams build your organization’s capacity, capability, commitment which delivers sustainable business results today.