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Posts Tagged ‘collaboration’

Do you have an awesome pit crew?

Posted by Louise Barnfield on May 19, 2009

f1-grand-prix-crewf1-grand-prix-crewI have been watching in delight as Jenson Button has taken four chequered flags in the last five Formula 1 Grand Prix races.

The meteoric rise of the Brawn team has set this F1 season alight, and Jenson naturally does not hide his excitement or pride in the current situation.

The F1 drivers are the attention-grabbers, the celebrities who dominate the air-time and headlines. It’s the excitement and speed of the race itself that commands the full focus of the cameras and the spectators, with only occasional glimpses of the pit crew. You could almost forgive the drivers for having huge egos.

Yet, what’s the first thing that Jenson did as he crossed the finish line in every one of his four wins this season? He elatedly screamed his gratitude to his team, broadcasting his thanks for the world to hear on the Team Radio.

His team: the guys huddled in the pits, wearing anonymous overalls and balaclavas. The guys who spend sleepless nights just before the event dealing with last minute glitches to get their machines out to the starting line in race-winning condition. “Thank you, thank you! …You guys rock! …The ride was awesome! …You guys did an amazing job!

Recently, I was that driver. I drove a demo to a wide audience of colleagues across a number of teams. Apparently it was a great success – let me rephrase that – it was a great success! The demo ran smoothly and I received a great deal of kind and enthusiastic comments from my peers who were evidently enlightened and entertained by the event. But I wasn’t the success; I didn’t make the demo rock; I was simply the representative who presented the terrific work and dedication of many others around me.

So, I want to share the positive comments and encouragement that I’ve received! I’m taking this opportunity to turn this post into my own Team Radio and give a heartfelt shout-out to our amazing pit crew who themselves spent sleepless nights just before our event, dealing with last minute glitches to get to the starting line in winning condition. “Thank you, thank you! …You guys rock! …The ride was awesome! …You guys did an amazing job!

Posted in productivity, teams, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts

Posted by Louise Barnfield on August 9, 2008

Many moons ago, in my youth (and I do mean many moons ago!), I belonged to a rowing club. On summer evenings, or early (and I do mean early) on a frosty winter morning, a group of us would set out from Putney, West London, for a training session on the Thames (usually with the annual Head of the River race in our sights). Depending on who showed up, we would often row as a ‘four’ or an ‘eight’, much more sociable than a single or double scull.

The ultimate was a group of eight competent, team-oriented rowers. The high that one gets from rowing in a well-balanced, sympathetic eight is utterly exhilarating – gliding through the water at more than 8-times the rate that one individual could achieve. OK, granted, the whole beautiful experience can be fouled up by one incompetent or thoughtless rower who’s not in perfect (or at least reasonable) harmony with the rest, but in terms of ‘bang for your buck’ there’s little to beat that feeling when you’re all pulling together in the same direction, at the same time.

Last week a team of colleagues, 20+ of us, helped out at a local shelter housing project…just a few hours…one short afternoon. I was blown away by what we were able to achieve in such a short time. As an individual, I played oh such a small part, but my sense of achievement was magnified 20+ times. We made a difference…I made a difference, but only as part of the We. The tasks we completed would not have been feasible if individuals had volunteered the same amount of time, but on different days. The whole was definitely greater than the sum of the parts.

The personal satisfaction I gained from that project was similar to my memories of rowing, in that it was measured by what we achieved as a group, not just my contribution.

If I stop to think about it, I’m lucky enough to have frequent, similar experiences in my regular working day. I’m part of a well-balanced team (yes, Ken’s one for all, and all for one team), and although I may feel my individual achievements are not that spectacular on their own, they contribute to the whole. We all pull together. My job is so much easier because of the collaborative and selfless efforts of those around me – those who’ve tackled a problem, and taken time to share the solution to save the rest of us the effort, or those who go out of their way to help a team mate in any area outside of their own expected responsibilities. The team as a whole is far more productive when each individual benefits xxx-fold from those combined efforts.

Of course, the positive and productive effect of a ‘we team’ can be even more powerful when extended beyond team boundaries to an entire enterprise. As the buzz continues around the emerging technologies enabling business social networking, David Wilkins’ article From Human Resources to Human ‘We’-Sources (this week’s issue of Talent Management magazine) points out that there has been a lot less talked about “how to successfully use these technologies in the enterprise”, and that “the main risk factor is not technology, but rather culture and change management” (my italics not his). A related comment was made by Meg in her post on Integrated Talent Management, good strategy or fad: “Solution is great, but please tell me that you are clear on what problems you want to solve” (her bold not mine!).

David summarizes: “a Web 2.0 company is not about “you and me;” it’s about “we.” It’s a company in which management taps the collective wisdom of its people; where openness and transparency leads to greater success than risk; and where connections between people matter more than intellectual property.”

In a team meeting this week, Meg took time (in fact, pretty much the entire meeting) to acknowledge our achievements, not in the number of technical issues resolved, check boxes checked, or lines of code written, but in terms of team collaboration and support – the number of times someone gives thanks to another for help above-and-beyond, or kudos for a job well done that benefited others. It’s important to take time out to recognize how much our individual contributions affect others. In doing so, it encourages everyone to do their best, despite individual set-backs or frustrations…and, when we all do our best, we each reap additional benefits from the whole team doing their best together. In HR parlance, I and many of my colleagues are termed ‘individual contributors’. It’s easy to think sometimes that, as an individual contributor, one’s efforts pale into insignificance in the great scheme of things, but they sure can add up when you’re a team player.

Posted in hr transformation, management, social network, teams | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Evolution of Engagement – Part II

Posted by Amy Wilson on January 21, 2008

Technology Enablement

At last the guilt of posting a part I and no part II has overwhelmed me.  And really, if you don’t count Christmas and New Year’s as holidays, then my goal of posting every major holiday still stands …

First, I want to point out that technology will never create engagement – no matter how fancy or fun the system.  Culture and process come first.  However, technology has evolved dramatically over the past few years to better support the natural needs of engagement as well as the changing expectations of engagement.

When meeting with organizations, I use the following chart to illustrate these concepts:

evolution-tools.jpg

Humans have natural engagement needs.  They are things like gaining visibility to organizational motives and goals, learning & developing on a continuous basis, feeling part of a community, and so on.  These needs have not and will not change.  They’re basic.  However, the way we work has changed and will continue to evolve as the world continues to flatten, technologies evolve, and people (kids) adopt flatter approaches and new technologies earlier and quicker. 

The traditional methods of fulfilling engagement needs were focused on personal interactions – a company meeting, a team building event, classroom training, etc.  As organizations expanded globally and virtually (and transportation costs increased), such interactions became impractical. 

Meanwhile, we had the internet boom.  Internet tools quickly solved organizations’ needs to globalize, virtualize and save money.  Thus, the company meeting was moved to a webcast, the team building event became a distribution list, and learning went online.  The downside of such tools is that they are not truly meeting the needs of engagement.  They removed all of the good aspects of traditional tools, and kept only the bad – top-down, passive, and one size fits all.

That is changing.  Having recognized how individuals engage virtually and globally outside the workplace, along with the technologies available to them, organizations are equipping themselves with a new set of engagement tools.

Organizations that I speak with are leveraging interactive blogs as an open communication vehicle between executives and their staff.  They are also beginning to adopt corporate social networks to share strengths, interests, and goals for purposes of learning informally, finding opportunites, and completing projects.  Mark talks about the value of corporate social networks here.

Keep your fingers crossed for a part III … perhaps it will be a Valentine’s Day present to Meg. :)

Posted in engagement, social network | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

 
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