Coach’s Challenge for May 27, 2007

Good day team,

Here’s a challenge that I wrote last year while working on a presentation about teams. I think it’s the right time to share it again.

> The coach’s challenge this week comes from some material I gathered for a team off-site I helped facilitate this past week. It’s entitled “The Truth About Teams”. These truths are presented in an article I read in a special edition of Fortune magazine entitled “Team Work”. These are certainly not the only team truths, but these are some good ones.
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> THE TRUTH ABOUT TEAMS
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> TRUST IS THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENT OF A WINNING TEAM
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> If people think their teammates are lying, withholding information, plotting to knife them, or are just incompetent, nothing will get done.
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> TEAMS CANNOT TOLERATE COMPETING AGENDAS
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> It’s important for people to create a vision for their success and be pro-active about realizing that vision. But, if there are competing visions within the same team, the team will fail in achieving it’s overall goals and objectives. We are all competitive when it comes to what we think is important. When team members compete to get their personal agendas put front and center, the entire team suffers.
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> TEAMS CANNOT THRIVE WHEN CONFLICTS FESTER
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> If we can’t be open and honest with each other, when conflict does occur we hold it inside and it becomes resentment. It’s healthy to wrestle with each other from time to time. That way we can bring tensions out in the open and resolve them in the moment. Once the air is cleared, we can get back to business.
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> TEAMS CAN’T HIDE FROM THE REAL ISSUES
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> “Put the fish on the table,” says George Kohlrieser, a professor at the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland. You’ve got to go through the “smelly, bloody process of cleaning it”, but the reward is a “great fish dinner at the end of the day.” Most people don’t want to put the proverbial fish on the table. But if you don’t express your real feelings about the most important issues, they are never dealt with.
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> BEWARE THE SUBTLE SPIN
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> Watch out for the desire to always make yourself look good when it comes at the expense of others. We all tend to put a subtle spin on information to make us appear better than others. We may look good in the end, but the people who suffer are our teammates and it makes the team look bad. Know how to share credit and shoulder blame.
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> DREAM TEAMS DON’T REALLY EXIST
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> Be prepared to have an imperfect set. Know that you will always have to devote a considerable amount of time and energy to get them to synchronize. That’s what management is all about. Putting together a few talented people who will work honestly and rigorously for something greater than themselves – that’s more than enough of a dream.
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> Your challenge this week is to choose one of these “truths”, see of you can observe it to be true with your team, and work on it.
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> Have a great week!
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> Kathleen
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> Kathleen Doyle-White
> Pathfinders Coaching
> (503) 296-9249
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