This pyramid summarizes the Thinking Teams view of a successful
organization, effectively moving toward its goals, powered by collaborating
teams of wholehearted individuals. The pyramid builds from foundational elements; its layers show focus areas for
organizational improvement and growth.
Starting from the base:
- Self-Aware, Productive Individuals– a wonderful
alignment happens when an organization enables its members to participate in a way
that connects with their full selves, not just the conscious
tip of the mind's iceberg (
We often talk about life in blacks and whites, but life is
lived in grays. Take the opposites “rigid” and “flexible”. The
most rigid, unforgiving thing I can think of is concrete, and now there is
“bendable concrete”*! Project leaders trying to enforce The Plan may see a black and white choice between
order and chaos. What’s really needed is an agile shade of gray.
Balancing project structure and flexibility is a fine art.
Too little structure gives us the Wild West, unmet commitments, and a team limited
to what can be achieved by the fittest survivor.
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.)
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.