Employee Reward

Who's on First

When there is a lack of clarity around what position each player is in, there is chaos or confusion. You can see this in any little league sports team, take your pick. As the kids start to follow the coach's instructions around roles and positions, the team gets better, tighter and wins more games! 

Ever been a little league coach? Do you have a long threshold for patience and love to see the fruit of your labour develop over time? The same principles apply no matter who the team is. 

I have three sons, all of whom had different skills, drive and desire to play. The oldest was a driver - must win kind of guy, no matter what the cost, broken bones, etc. The middle son, who was steady, reliable, calm, and the player that everyone could count on to show up and play the game to his best ability. Then the youngest, who picked dandelions and chased ants around the outfield with little or no interest in the actual sport. However, put him on a stage and he comes to life! Actually, that happens to all three of them but I digress... 

Every team has all three of these players believe it or not. How do you motivate them? How do you develop them and help them stay in their own lane and how do you weed out the ones who are just not the right fit for the team? Actually, how did some of them get on the team in the first place? 

In order to lead a winning team, first, you have to get to know what the skill set is of each player, the development needs of the individuals and the team, understand the team culture and where you are trying to go with this team, as well as the understanding of the leaders themselves. Some due diligence is required as you figure out where they are using their talents (or are they using them at all?) and, are they leveraging one another's strengths. 

This process applies universally, in corporate office environments, family businesses, schools, men's wear shops or any environment you can think of. 

As a coach, I'd be looking for the leaders to have an understanding of the skills and attributes and potential of each of the team members. If you have someone who is amazing at relationship building and you have them stuck in the back shop all day reviewing spreadsheets, they are soon going to check out, either physically, mentally or both. Alternatively, if you put an introvert who is super at analytics on the front line, their stress level is going to go up over time and they will never reach their true potential in that position. 

If you are building a team and have the luxury of doing so from scratch, you can build the team that plays to each other's strengths and skills so that everyone is sitting on the right seat on the bus from the get-go. However, that rarely happens. If you are an entrepreneur you know full well that everyone does "all other jobs as required" all day long and many hats are worn by every player. Think about that for a moment and the challenges around untangling that ball of string when the team is at full capacity. 

Back to the sports analogy, my oldest son played forward for one season. All he ever wanted to do was be in the net. If the guy who has the skills to play goalie is always playing out, it is not long before he loses some passion for the game. 

Now back in the office/store/shop we go. How often do you even think about whether or not your team is playing their best game, using their best strengths and skills to drive the business forward? Imagine how jazzed everyone would be when they can come in and do a job that they were wired for? As the old saying goes, if you are doing what you love to do, you won't have to work a day in your life. 

This applies to the home and family as well, when you come home and have to figure out dinner, or balance the books or figure out where to go on vacation or do the gardening, have you ever talked about this with your significant other? Who loves to do what? Who is good at what and who is the best person for each task? My neighbour is meticulous about her lawn. You would never see her husband on the riding mower. She wouldn't let him and he has no desire. Ever thought of having a partner meeting to chat this through? 

There is so much magic that can happen when the team (you define who the team is) has role clarity, understands what they are responsible for and are using their best gifts and talents to perform their duties. 

I encourage you to have this dialogue with all of your teams. 

#playtoyourstrengths #themagicofsynergy #winning team 

Let me know if you need some help to work this through! 

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