I grew up pretty independent and introspective. Maybe
because of that, I had always been mystified and blown away by human artifacts
and activities that I couldn't imagine wrapping my head around. As an engineer,
I had learned to understand and do some pretty complicated things, but I
thought those people who build corporations or cities must have a kind of
intelligence I could only dream about.
At a certain point in my career, it seemed like a good idea
to figure out how to be a manager.
Whenever people come together for some purpose,
communication is, of course, key to success. Our communication channels –
language, looks, books, etc. - struggle
to transport what’s in my head to your head. This is particularly challenging when
what’s in our heads is specialized, expert knowledge, and we have come together
because we have different expertise that needs to be combined to do something
complicated and hard.
Effective communication has to clear so many hurdles it’s a wonder
that it happens at all!
The saying “that’s like comparing apples and oranges” always
puzzled me a bit. It’s used to point out when two things are in such different
categories they can’t really be compared, but from the perspective of the
universe of all things, apples and oranges are so close they’re almost
identical. I guess difference and similarity are relative, contextual, and in
the eye of the beholder. (The saying would make sense to me in the context of
“which tastes better?; maybe that’s how it got started.)
The best teams are made up of individuals who are fully engaged. When a team member is really into it, the team gets full benefit of the person's talent, and the person feels fulfilled by their participation in the team.
Full engagement requires alignment. By alignment I mean that the team members share and buy into the team's objective. I think of team alignment as happening at three levels
- Team leadership holds the vision around which the team aligns
- Team members co-create their roles in realizing the team vision
Welcome to the Thinking Teams Blog! Here we will talk about the opportunities and challenges that present themselves when great minds gather for a purpose.
Just like the quests they undertake, great minds are multifaceted and complicated. Teams come together over touch-points of common understanding and purpose, yet there is always more to it. Human expertise, and many of our complex enterprises, defy our ability to perfectly understand, predict, or control. This can lead to frustration, failure, fistfights.