Monday, December 31, 2012

2013: The Year of the 'Who'

The turning of the new year is the traditional time for prognosticators to weigh in on what's ahead. I've been known to do a bit of this myself, but this year there will be no predictions about the stars - movie, music, or celestial - although I do have one about sports. Most, however, are about the future of work.

My first prediction: A Person is a 'Who', Not a 'What': Teamability and the Future of Work will be published in 2013. (There's some hedging here, since the first draft is complete, and Mark's been Vision Forming it at an ever-increasing pace.)

Here are the rest:
  • The valuation of teams and 'teaming' will supersede the longstanding focus on talents, skills, experience, and 'leadership' because it is where people come together that true value creation happens.
  • There will be a new emphasis on promoting from within - but by casting a much wider net for potential successors, creating new opportunities for non-traditional paths to advancement.
  • Role-fit and Team-fit will become essential elements in the forefront of consulting for workforce planning, team selection, and management practice, as people begin to realize that both engagement and retention depend on them.
  • Sales will no longer be looked at as just one kind of job category, because people will recognize the profound differences required to 'team' with different kinds of customers, for different products, with different sales cycles, and different value propositions.
  • Applied research in the workplace will begin to produce new standards for Role Distribution and Coherence Ratios in vertical markets and functional-areas of business.
  • 'Role-based Attraction' will emerge in job-sourcing, as phrasing designed to appeal to the desired Roles will find its way into job requisitions and postings. Cost- and Time-to-Hire will decline, and Quality of Hire will improve because of this.
  • If you know me, you know I often say leadership is a team sport. (It's just about the only sport I'm tall enough to play!) But as professional sports teams catch on to the power of Teamability, they will be able to calibrate their team synergy for peak performance and build winning team cultures to replace an unreliable 'star system'.
Finally, as we stop pretending that a resume is a true reflection of a person's worth, we will begin to honor the dignity of all those who contribute to the achievement of business value.

In my view of the future of work, people will be treated as 'Who's, not 'What's. It will be a future in which teaming technology enables more and more people to find and fulfill their true mission in life.

Is there anything more likely to produce Peace on Earth and goodwill to all? May you join us in that dream for the coming year and beyond!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Project Manager Project, Part 2

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Last month I started my Project Manager Project, intending to answer the questions Project Managers have asked about teams, teaming, and Teamability. Here’s the second part, with thanks to the many PMs around the globe who’ve asked these excellent questions during Teamability webinars.

This one is on a difficult subject: dealing with bullies. And it’s not just for PMs. Here’s the question:

We have one team player that is a bully, and our team is very small. We don't want to work with him so how do the rest of us deal with him?

Bullying behavior is often rooted in fear. People who bully others are dealing with their fear in ways that may make them feel better, but are (at minimum) ineffective, and (more likely) damaging to team performance. The more stress there is in the environment, the worse this kind of behavior can get. Consequently, arranging an occasional ‘stress break’ for the team is a valuable practice, but try to include the bully. Even just a shared laugh is a great stress breaker – which is why so many project teams enjoy ‘gallows’ humor! Once you get the bully laughing, bullying tends to subside, at least for a little while. 

Here’s another little trick. Take note of the degree of ‘friendliness’ the bully is exhibiting. When you are dealing with him or her, don’t be even one little bit friendlier than that. (Don't be nasty; just go ‘cool/neutral'. If you are naturally very friendly and often smiling, this may be very hard for you!) At the same time, pretend you have very little power (which, paradoxically, is just about the most powerful thing you can do in this situation!) and tell him or her you have no answers. When the bully tries to tell you what to do, ask for more, and more, and more details. Sooner or later, he or she will run out of answers and probably tell you to go figure it out yourself.  Which is really what you want, isn’t it?

The key to ‘bully-handling’ is the avoidance of any kind of a power struggle. If you can do this, while practicing Role-respect  and keeping the bully focused on job responsibilities with the right Role-fit, the bully’s fear will subside and the general tone of his/her behavior will improve, at least for as long as the stress level remains relatively low.

This same strategy is also effective with 'know-it-all’ people, and with those who seem to want everyone else to be dependent on them.

A final note: sometimes the best you can do is just not make it worse. If you do that, please congratulate yourself!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Disaster Preparedness, Teamability Style



It's so nice to have a team to remind you of what's really important!

Philadelphia is in the middle of a rare weather event for us: an approaching hurricane. But when your team includes people who have experience dealing with things you don't, at least you have someone to turn to that you can trust to come through for you.

So as we look toward the coming week, which could include enough national disruption to derail some attendees at our intensive, three-day weekend, advanced course in Teamability, we were lucky enough to get these important tips from Carolyn DeWitt, a partner in Coherent Counsel, LLC, who advises CEOs on disaster planning, among other services.
  1. The loss of power is what really fouls things up the most. If you have multiple devices, charge them all so you can extend your personal 'connection life' by transitioning from one to the other as they lose power. 
  2. Set up a communication list on email and text for all the people who will need to know what's going on. That starts with your team but it also includes key contacts, vendors, customers, and if you are planning any events, attendees.  
  3. You will have a point where you need to make a go/no-go decision, for instance on a meeting or conference. You can send a text to tell people to check their email for your more detailed message. Remember: not all people have access or look at their email throughout the day if they are out on business or traveling, but the text will tell them you have important news/updates.
  4. Cancelling flights, hotels etc becomes an iffy things for conference attendees during “acts of god”.  Some will honor the 24 hour advance cancel only, some will make smarter choices and allow non penalty cancels. The sooner you can allow attendees to cancel without penalty obviously the better. Remember: if attendees are in an affected area, they may not have power to GET your message, as the impacts spread.  
  5. If you DO have power, the other thing that may shut down your communication is overburden of circuits and cell towers, both land and air. Even the paths to internet connectivity can get overwhelmed. Emergency tactics are for you to have a contact outside of the emergency affected area that can be your communication point. Select someone outside of the affected area to be your RELAY point. You then only have to worry about getting your message to one source that then can relay the message to everyone else. Remember: much of the network and frequency capacity gets designated for emergency responder and support networks like the Red Cross. This all happens behind the scenes in the network directly with providers. Especially with everyone who lives outside of the storm zones, frantically trying to learn the status of their loved ones, every network type can be overburdened.
  6. Another option is to have the chief decision-maker (located somewhere with generator power) who can have direct posting access to your website as a communication update point. Then delivery is to one (hopefully in a secure and redundant service site).  Again, where email and text messages may be compromised, internet access to a large pipe access website, might be one thing that all or most people will be able to access. But everyone needs to know in advance what your methods of communication will be.  
  7. Finally, once you figure out what you want to do, how you will communicate—proactively let everyone know. Send out communication as soon as possible to say that you are on this, and will be keeping communication to them by X process at Y frequencies. Otherwise, everyone will start getting peppered by all sources to 'know what the plan is'.   
  8. Lots of people have never been through a huge storm and their first priority will be to protect and communicate with their family and loved ones, then protection of property etc. Snow and ice are one thing, water is another. People will get trapped by rising water, and many people do not know how to swim. The most unexpected devastation is inland, not near water sources. People forget their sewer and drainage cannot cope with the amount of rain, even though they may not be near ocean, rivers, etc. Many emergency responders will meet situations they have never dealt with, so they may have failures as well.  
  9. There are many special situations such as call centers, large student populations, where there are other very specific things they can and should be doing. Carolyn can help here.
  10. Remember that even less invasive storms create much havoc and loss. Things can start to unravel pretty quickly if you aren't prepared.
Thanks for that advice, Carolyn! I'm just going to add one more point...

If you want to prepare for ANYTHING, start by amassing the very best team you can!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Project Manager Project


Project managers who attend our course in TGI Teamability™ come from diverse organizations in all parts of the world. What they have in common is the desire to learn new and better ways to deal with some of the challenges that are intrinsic to Project Management, which include:
-       having a great deal of responsibility, and often not nearly enough authority to drive effective performance
-       working with cross-functional teams in environments where the various functions represented are at odds
-       dealing with people who have been assigned to their team, but who are not necessarily prepared for – or supportive of – the mission, or the job responsibilities that they encounter

But PMs also have the ability to ask questions and learn new applications, so I was delighted when I received a transcript of recently asked questions.

I’m going to feature some of the questions that were especially energizing in this and future blogs, including thoughts on how PMs can empower themselves to organize the people, processes, and controls that will enable them to deliver successful projects, by reducing stress, developing team synergy, and improving overall team performance.

Q: How do we get 100% true team players? Doesn't it depend on the company, the culture, the favoritism levels, number of years in the company, true diversity levels, business leaders' professional training levels, and the big one - communication - because being a good communicator doesn't mean you are a good team player?

A: Having 100% true team players is a beautiful goal, and Teamability provides the means to get there – a state that we call ‘Coherent Human Infrastructure’ (CHI). However, because of the various obstacles you mentioned, CHI is very likely to be a long-term effort. So instead, let’s focus on the ways that Teamability can help Project Managers achieve a critically important near-term goal: working with team members more effectively, helping them collaborate more readily, and producing the kind of business results that will raise the value and visibility of successful teaming.

Here are three steps in that direction:
First, for each person on the team, try to align job responsibilities with the person’s Role (as identified by Teamability). Since many people spend every day doing work that doesn’t satisfy (or even connect with) their inner need to serve a specific type of organization need,  any work that actually DOES fulfill that desire will quickly be perceived as exciting and invigorating.

Second, you want to make sure that people who will be encountering the most resistance, tackling the hardest problems, and/or feeling the most time pressure, are also the most Coherent members of the team. Less Coherent people can be excellent contributors, and good team-players, but they are also more susceptible to stress – and as we all know, people who are feeling a great deal of stress are generally not at their best. 

Finally – and this can be the easiest or hardest, depending on those culture and favoritism factors you mentioned – you need to promote a culture of respect, trust, and belief in working together as a team. This effort will be greatly enhanced through principles of Role-respect, and Role-recognition – which are discussed in the basic 4-hour course, and are covered in greater detail in advanced CHI course. (Information about these courses is available at http://bit.ly/TGItraining.)

This blog was inspired by Luma Ousta of http://pduOTD.com. pduOTD (which stands for PDU of the day) services Project Managers, Business Analysts, and Agile Practitioners world wide. Their website launched  Jan 1 2011 and they have experienced explosive growth since 'going Live', having welcomed visitors from over 170 countries. The basic TGI course, which is given free of charge, provides PMPs with 4 hours of Category B credit.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Who's on Your Survival Team?


Are you treading on shaky ground at work, quietly looking for a new job as you try to figure out how to recover? Or are you in transition, still wondering what you could have done differently? Let’s face it. In this economy, it’s all about survival, and to survive you need the right team.

Along the way to creating Teamability™, which is a completely new way to measure how people will ‘team’ together to achieve common goals, we learned a lot about how different people are attracted (or driven) to make meaningful contributions in group activities. When an individual has a strong focus on serving one of ten fundamental organizational needs, we call that their ‘Role.’

Teams comprised of people who naturally and effectively serve the ten organizational needs, will tend to generate positive ‘team spirit’ and coherent behavior. So if you find yourself doubting your own capabilities, or blaming yourself for a job-related misfortune, think again. Even the most heroic individual effort cannot equal the power and performance of strong, balanced, synergistic team.

Think of this as a peek into the world of Teamability – where it becomes possible to solve the ‘right people, right seats’ puzzle, and to predictably structure, develop, manage and motivate successful teams.

1.     Whenever a new organization or mission is being created and launched, the Role with a ‘big picture’ vision of the future is essential. In the language of Teamability – this is a Founder.

Clear vision and purpose are key components of positive team performance. If they weren’t present on your team, how can you blame yourself for lacking a sense of inspiration?

2.     The strategy person – the Role that seizes upon the vision and marshals the people, the resources, and the drive to make it happen – is a Vision Mover.

Without well-defined ‘mission control’, you and your colleagues may have felt as though you were on a rudderless ship. Was it really your fault for not always knowing which way you were supposed to be heading?

3.     The coach, or in Teamability terms, the Vision Former, complements the Vision Mover by providing focus, organization, and encouragement to the entire team.

When there is a lack of ongoing guidance, and wise shaping-up of activities and processes, neither you nor your colleagues had a genuine opportunity to be at your best.

4.     At one time or another, you have probably worked with a real ‘get-it-done’ person; someone who just burns through a task list and comes back for more. This Role is the Action Mover.

If you’re a big-picture thinker or planner, it’s just not right to expect that you should also be the right person to execute at the tactical level.

5.     In an increasingly decentralized business world, the project manager is a familiar figure, and an important one. The Role that can best handle this kind of responsibility is the Action Former, who is tailor-made for supervision at the tactical level.

If you’re always on the go, with complex activities to perform and way too little time in which to do them all, how can you also succeed in tracking the details and organizing the follow up?

6.     The person with an uncanny ability to find a key resource, uncover new information, or ‘scout’ the competition, most likely has the Role of Explorer.

People who are running day-to-day activities often need new or innovative solutions for thorny problems. If your immediate work requires your full attention, you can’t be expected to ‘head into the wilderness’ to search for it, can you?

7.     The Watchdog Role is a natural ‘resource broker’, always comfortable with responding to the needs of others, and very good at making the best use of what’s available – even when there’s not enough to meet demand. 

If you spend all of your time focused on bringing home what the organization needs – money, physical resources, information or opportunities – can you be faulted for not also making sure it goes to where it will do the most good?

8.     Teams, and organizations, can literally come ‘unglued’ in the absence of a person who is dedicated to making connections, spreading good news, and reminding others of their common interests. This ‘community builder’ has the Role of Communicator.

If you are responsible for creating a collaborative network and directing progress toward achievement of the mission, how reasonable is it to expect that you should also be the ‘feet on the street’,  connecting people whom you don’t personally know, and who may not know each other, and keeping their commitment and enthusiasm alive?

9.     Think through your previous business contacts. Can you recall working with someone who was always eager to be the ‘fixer’; who could dig in to problems and make things right in short order? Teamability identifies this Role as the Conductor.

Any long-term project that has a lot of moving parts can encounter dozens of potholes, problems, and roadblocks. If your job responsibilities require your full attention at the management level, how realistic is it to expect you to dive down and deal with every little glitch?

10. Here and there in every organization, you will find a ‘knowledge-keeper’: someone who preserves the lessons learned from both successful and unsuccessful initiatives. Why? Because they understand and respect the potential value and the usefulness of group history. This Role is identified through Teamability as the Curator.

If you need to know what has and hasn’t worked in the past, where to find obscure information, or even ‘where the bodies are buried’, this is your source. Organizations often underestimate the value of this Role, leaving teams vulnerable to ‘reinventing the wheel’, and people like you lacking information that could have guided your decisions.

Now really, few people have all ten of the Roles on their team, or at their beck and call. That’s why a secret to survival lies is in learning to recognize the different Roles among your office friends. If you build Role-diversity in that group, you’re covered no matter what kind of need or challenge may come your way.

Our twenty-five years of research, a revolutionary new ‘technology of teaming’, and a ton of experience in evaluating team structure, all point in the same direction: when you can recognize the different ways that people are attracted (or driven) to serve specific organizational needs, you will gain the information and the ability needed to work more collaboratively, make better choices, and get better results in any kind of team environment. What better way can there be to ‘fire-proof’ your career?

One last thing to remember: if you want all the Roles to be there when you need them, make sure you are on their survival team, too!

Copyright (c) 2012, The Gabriel Institute. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Science, Not Speculation: Why Terrell Will Fail


In this economy, getting hired is always good news, and T.O.’s got a new job with the Seattle Seahawks. Good for him, but the pundits are already buzzing in expectation of the drama that is sure to follow.

Let’s face it: this tremendous talent hasn’t worked well on his teams, and history is likely to repeat itself. I submit his work history for your consideration, including some of the reasons (information from Wikipedia) for his leave-taking:
  • San Francisco 49ers (1996–2003): spat with 49ers front office members
  • Philadelphia Eagles (2004–2005): made negative remarks about Eagles management and teammate Donovan McNabb, suspended four games without pay, deactivated for the rest of the season, released
  • Dallas Cowboys (2006–2008): after feeling assured he would be remaining with the team, felt blindsided by his release
  • Buffalo Bills (2009): one year contract only
  • Cincinnati Bengals (2010): placed on injured reserve, not re-signed
  • Allen Wranglers (2012): released after season’s end

In addition, Owens’ checkerboard career has been repeatedly marred by the badmouthing of team members, coaches, and management, gloating over opposing team losses (what used to be called ‘poor sportsmanship’), and public displays of inappropriate behavior, including the celebration his own moves while downgrading the successes of his teammates.

So, although he is arguably the most talented wide receiver of his generation and a future NFL hall-of-famer, his stay with the Seahawks will likely be yet another short chapter in the life of Terrell Owens.

So what’s wrong with this picture? Hint: it’s not the talent, it’s the teaming.

What does it take to be teamable? Of course, you have to start out with the talents, the skills, and the drive that the job demands. In the case of football, I could be a fabulous team player, but only on a team of all petite women. And they’d have to scale down the size of the gridiron, too. But I digress. The kind of team player you are boils down to three central aspects of ‘Teamability.’

First, are you playing in the right position? Our research on team interaction demonstrated that most people align themselves with a very specific way of contributing to their team. If their job responsibilities are a good match with this intrinsic ‘Role,’ their team contributions will be consistent and their experience of working with others will be generally positive.  Also, people whose work provides a clear sense of ‘Role-fit’ will not only enjoy what they, personally, are doing, they will also tend to gain in understanding and appreciation of the Roles of others on their team. When the team challenge is at the level of NFL football, there needs to be a very high level of ‘Role-fit’ and ‘Team-fit.’ Individual achievement is not enough. You may get recognized for the most yards-per-carry, or sacks, or whatever, but such rankings, by themselves, rarely add up to winning that huge gold and diamond ring. Getting to the Super Bowl requires consistent, flawless interaction with your teammates, both on and off the field. And that includes respecting each one of them the way they best experience respect and appreciation.

Second, how do you deal with stress? It’s part of life, but it is amped-up to the max when you’re in the red zone, there are no more time-outs, and team performance on the next play will make the difference between making the playoffs and heading home for the winter. Pro ball is nothing but stressful. (Why do you think players are paid so much?) You are under constant scrutiny, and subject to the relentless expectations of the owners, the coaches, the fans, and even yourself. A crucial element, which we call Coherence, defines the connection between stress and performance in team situations: some people ‘pull away’ when they feel stress, and some people pull together.

Third, how well do you blend with the prevailing culture of your team? The effects of ‘Teaming Characteristics’ can be subtle, because they are not limited to the ‘inner circle’. Everyone who is invested in the team’s success, from the coaches and support staff, to general management, the local media, and the ever-present fans, creates the teaming environment. Each player will have ‘TC’s that mesh well, and others that may not. This knowledge can be leveraged by coaches and staff in helping team members to ‘be their best selves’ in both good and bad situations.

Sad to say, T.O., for all his talent, just doesn’t fare well in the dimension of Teamability. If you’ve ever hired, or worked with, someone who had a great resume, but turned out to be toxic on your team, you’ll have a pretty good idea what it’s like to try to team with Terrell. So pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. T.O. will not be staying long in the Emerald City.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cohesion, Coherence, Clarity, and Connectedness


I've always been a bit of a stickler for language. Not quite so much as Humpty Dumpty, who says to Alice during her adventures in Wonderland (a place with disturbing similarities to the 9 to 5 worlds that some of us inhabit): "When I use a word... it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less." For me, words are nuanced, and specific - not used as a device of control but for the purpose of communicating new ideas by connecting them to things that people already understand.

Having said that, please know that I'm not upset when people use 'cohesion' when they are talking about 'coherence'. It's only in the interest of clarity that I'm even mentioning it.

Cohesion is the state of sticking together. On a team, cohesion accurately describes the traditional sense of everyone doing the same thing at the same time. (No I will not say "hold hands and sing Kumbaya," but if you thought of that, you've got the idea.) That kind of cohesion worked best back when there was one boss and he (it was almost always 'he') made all the decisions, and large numbers of people were actually doing the same thing.

On many modern teams, teammates are far less likely to be doing the same thing; and even less likely to be working in the same building, or state, or country. In the future of work, cohesion - marching in lockstep - will be of less and less value. Team members will need to be able to handle the stress that comes with collaborating through distance, ambiguity, and continuous change. What they will need is Coherence.

Coherence is physical. It's a term used in signal processing, which involves a lot of equations. (Once upon a time, I wanted to become a theoretical mathematician. I like the elegance of equations, but I fear that the vast majority of you may not, so there won't be any here.) Think of what it's like when you have bad phone connection, causing noise and distortion of the sound. That signal has low coherence, so it's easy to recognize that coherent sound is highly desirable.

Lasers emerged when scientists learned how to generate a coherent beam of light, and lasers are now used in electronics, entertainment, medicine, and communications. The laser that's used for surgery allows the surgeon to pinpoint, with extreme precision, the place that gets cut. If you ever need eye surgery, you'll appreciate this, because it makes for relatively pain-free recovery.

Did you know that a beam of laser light, projected from Earth to the Moon - a quarter of a million miles away - will light an area only a mile and a quarter in diameter. Compare that with a normal flashlight beam, which begins to dissipate mere inches from the source.

When I use the term coherence to describe how people 'team', I'm talking about the same phenomenon. When people operate coherently, they have 'clean' relationships with the others on their team. If needed, they can all take on different jobs within the team, moving to more leadership if that's their specialty, and hanging back to let others step up when it's the right time. The clarity and intensity that accompany the state of Coherence is what keeps people attracted to, and connected to, their team - no matter where in the world they may be.

Now what does all this have to do with connectedness?

It turns out that a lot of our daily work, and a lot of the 'content' that happens in the course of organizational activity, is subject to the influence of nodes in the social network - and in particular, the high-level nodes known as 'hubs.' They're the people who seem to know everyone, and through whom a lot of communication passes.

When social nodes are Coherent, they are free of noise and distortion. The signal that enters them is pretty much the same as the one that emerges. But a message can change when it passes through a less Coherent node. The result could be a simple misunderstanding, a significant error, or a layer of political intrigue. Either way, the network maintains connectedness, but a Coherent network is one that will nurture people, amplify performance, and maintain the integrity of the organization and its vision.

So let's strive for the clarity and connectedness that comes with Coherence. Beyond that, cohesion is optional.

Friday, May 11, 2012

In Praise of Vision Formers


I’ve been absent from blogging lately, much longer than I like, but there’s a reason. Finally, after what seemed to be the longest gestation period in history, I have finished the first draft of a new book.

It isn’t my first book. It’s my sixth. I used to think that, like birthing babies, authoring a book would get easier and go faster over time. That was generally true with the first batch, written in the late 70’s through the 80’s. But this was a ‘late in life baby’! There was so much more that I needed to get out, remembering all the while that very few readers have boundless patience. It was like having sextuplets and then realizing you’ve only got one name and not nearly enough diapers.

I should explain that.

The ‘technology of teaming’ that we created identifies (among other things) ten specific modes in which different individuals strive to make a meaningful team contribution. Each of these capital-R ‘Roles’ has a name that corresponds to the organizational need that it fulfills

I have the Role of ‘Founder’, and also of ‘Vision Mover’. People with this particular combination of Roles are big-picture builders, often entrepreneurial, whether in starting companies or projects. And when we do it, we do it with a vengeance. The ideas and strategies, the desire to connect, and the urge to make rapid progress can become overwhelming. (I am just admitting this to myself.) So when life intrudes, projects like books and other things that aren’t screaming for attention get shelved in favor of those that have pressing timelines, or that other people need so they can do their jobs.

It’s easier to go ‘cold turkey’ from book writing than from crafting a few paragraphs or phrases here and there, which is why I blog and tweet a lot. But finally, the need became unbearable. The story had to be told. It had been percolating since I first (very long ago) became fascinated with the way people behave in groups, so I gave in and shifted into high gear.

Producing a lot of thoughts is not as hard as it sounds (at least not for a ‘Vision Mover on steroids’, which some have called me) but this is the truth: the hard part is shaping up the spaces between the thoughts.

Mark Talaba, my Vision Former, at work
For that you need a Vision Former.

The Vision Former is the Role that brings high-level order to the execution of a vision.  You can bounce a zillion ideas off of a ‘VF’, and he or she will tell you which ones can work – in which context, under what conditions, right now, in the foreseeable future, and maybe never (or at least, not as you’ve first laid them out.)

I could use two of them. Or maybe ten. (Yes, this is a great Vision Mover fantasy… maybe there’s an app for that?)

But I have been blessed with one great one. And even as I write this (and, truth be told, also write other thoughts on three other screens) he is shaping and forming what will be the final product.

I have had editors before. In the old days, pre-digital publishing, the publisher assigned one to prod you until you delivered the manuscript. If you were lucky, they made some improvements, but that wasn’t a given. Why? Because they had experience, and they had English skills, and writing skills, but weren’t always the right Role-fit for the job.

As it turned out, I liked most of them, though they did get naggy at times.

You don’t get nag from a Vision Former. Just pure, efficient, shaping of concept and flow and finished product.

So I will sing the praises of a great Vision Former the only way I know how: by producing yet more material for him to shape and form until it is ready for you.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Five Ways to Increase Your 'Teamability'

Teamability: The ability to be a great team player.

Everyone wants great team players. What can you do to be a better one? Try answering these questions and you’ll generate your own personalized tips:
  1. Think back over all your job experiences – both paid and volunteer work. What kinds of things really made you feel good? Make a list. Can you find some similarities between them? There’s an excellent chance that you will ‘team best’ when doing work that involve the same types of tasks, responsibilities, and/or work environments.  Consider asking for the opportunity to add or ‘swap’ some of the listed items into your current job.
  2. You don’t have to be a manager to help your teammates. Does someone need a hand with something that you can offer? Go for it!
  3. There’s really no better ‘growth gift’ than honest, caring, respectful feedback. Is there someone you trust to give you some?  If so, go ahead and ask. In fact, your first question should be for feedback on your teamability!
  4. You probably have a good sense of how you make your best contributions to group efforts. But you could be mistaken if you assume that others know this about you. Can you think of some of ways to ‘advertise’ your readiness to take on job challenges that really ‘fit’?
  5. Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate from school, finish training, or reach a goal. There are always opportunities to develop a new talent, skill, ability, or interest. Are you seeking out the ones that will benefit you while bringing benefits to others?
What will your future look like? With greater teamability, you’ll have broader options, plus the flexibility and support to see them through to a successful conclusion!

 This blog originally appeared in http://leadershipisateamsport.wordpress.com January 25, 2012.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Teamability: Why You Should Care

‘Teaming’ happens between two or more people.
The history of sports teams and top athletes is full of examples. In recent years we have seen one after another baseball, basketball, or football player with superstar talent being bounced from team to team. 
Why?  It’s not because they don’t play well. It’s because they don’t ‘team’ well. Meanwhile, sports franchise owners continue to load their rosters (and payrolls) with top talent, but in the end the prize usually goes to teams that really ‘connect’ and make the most of what they’ve got – that play with passion, and find a way to win despite the odds. It’s a very public example of what’s going on ‘behind the curtain’ in many organizations. 
Business is a Team Sport! The ramifications of this fact extend far beyond the ‘soft stuff’ of team-building and motivational programs. 
What would it mean to your organization if you could fully understand the ‘teaming quality’ of your new-hire candidates, your people, and your teams?
No matter where you are in your career, entry level to senior executive to business owner, how you team will determine how far you get. That's your teamability, and that's why you should care.