“If you wanna hire great people and have them stay working for you, you have to let them make a lot of decisions and you have to be run by ideas, not hierarchy. The best ideas have to win, otherwise good people don’t stay.”1 – Steve Jobs
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
What is the biggest issue most teams face? What is your team facing currently? How you address these challenges will either make or break your team in the long run. How can you use these tough situations to make a big impact for the individuals on your team?
If you have problems to solve within your team – you run the risk of losing a good person if you handle it incorrectly. However, you also have one of the largest opportunities to earn strong loyalty and buy-in from your teammates if you work through it well, WITH THEM. “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity” – Sun Tsu, The Art of War.
“Teamwork is dependent on trusting the other folks to come through with their part without watching them all the time”1. Building trust with your team comes through communication and execution.
Two of the most effective teams I’ve been on have been at some of the most forward-thinking companies. One is Tesla, an electric car startup in Fremont, CA. and the other is rLoop, a hyperloop company that received one of the five awards available at the SpaceX Hyperloop competition. During my time at both companies the way we made the biggest impact for each other and for the team in general is through communication.
For Tesla, we conducted morning meetings for the whole team where we went over everything that each of us was working on and shared anything that was blocking us currently. From there, someone would offer to help and they would take that challenge on together.
Working through an issue with someone else can and usually does help the individual get through the problem. And this is true whether the other person on the team knows anything about the topic or not. Many times, the person who asked for help will just figure out the solution by explaining what the roadblock is to the other person. This process has a term. It’s called rubber ducking. You talk to your rubber duck and explain what’s going on. When you do this, you have to ensure that you understand the issue well enough to explain it. This is often why people say that two heads are better than one. You have to communicate and explain. You must think clearly through the issue before telling someone else about it. From there it forces the other person to ask questions about parts that remain unclear.
During my time at rLoop, we had people spread out in various parts of the world all working on the same project. We were all in different time zones and very different parts of the world. North America, Europe, Australia, Africa, and more. Communication and trust were highly critical. When one person would work on a part of the project, they had to communicate about what they did, ask questions, how the fixed certain things, where they left off, what they thought needed to be done next, and give help to others all in a way that could be used by someone else in another part of the world at a time where the other person might still be sleeping. Very challenging. The only way for us to make a difference for each other was to communicate and trust each other to do their part. Both in communication themselves as well as in executing on their part of the work.
WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED
Now that you know how to make a difference through communication and trust, how are you working with your teammates to build that? How are you dealing with communication and challenges within your team to take advantage of the opportunity in the midst of chaos?
Leave a comment below with the answers to those questions. I’m interested in hearing from you and, who knows, it might prove valuable to others listening.
Until next time –
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