This time around I want to dwell into how to tackle teams that are not yielding, collaborating or has some other dysfunction. Let us dig in to it.
I’ve had this idea for quite some time now, that teams needs to be balanced to perform at their peak. Much like a sports team. So lets take a detour into lacrosse land. I was thinking soccer first, but that’s to boring.
Some background on Lacrosse first.
Lacrosse is a ball game played on a big green turf, with 10 players in each team. The team roughly consists of 1 goalie, 3 defenders, 3 mid fielders (midies) and 3 attack men. The goal of the game is to toss a rubber ball into the goal of the other team more times than them. Simple.
To ‘toss’ a ball in lacrosse you need a stick. Different positions of the team requires different sticks. For example, the goalie has a large head on his stick, making it easier to catch balls. The defenders has longer sticks, which gives them reach. Midies and attackers have short sticks, good for quick release and protection of the ball. Obviously different positions require a different skill set for best performance.
A goalie needs to have quite the reflexes and be a decent commander, as he yells out ball position and various strategies to the defense.
Defenders need be quick at backward pacing, good at checking sticks and reading out weak players.
Midies are the working dogs of the field. They play on both ends of the field, thus they require stamina and endurance, as well as the skill to carry the ball from the defensive end to attack. They also need to know how execute the defensive as well as the offensive strategies agreed upon.
Attackers need to be accurate and extremely quick handling the ball and shooting. They also need to learn offensive strategies and read their defenders.
Balancing in lacrosse
It is quite easy to see that different persons fit into a lacrosse team at various spots. It’s not always obvious where you have the best fit for a single person, but given the opponents strengths and weaknesses you should be able to read how to best position your team. As a coach you train your team to become as good as possible at their position, specialty and skills. You also challenge them to switch up, try different things and learn what is going on at a different location of the field. This will make them more resilient and broaden their understanding of the game.
The dysfunction in the corporate world
Ever had a coach, coworker or even a boss ask you to switch places with someone in a different area of the company? Ever seen a developer being asked to take the lead in a sales meeting? I sure haven’t. I know I would be scared as hell. And now when we are on the subject. WHY IS THAT?
My initial take is that I have never ever seen that part of the field. I don’t even know the rules of that part of the game. Might even score in the wrong goal. It is like we, and now I am talking about my extended team the Corporation, playing a totally different game divided on different departments of the company. The only link between the teams are the executives or the like. It’s like a bad telephone game with different goals and different rules on every ear.
How to address poor company posture
Play the same game
Start with aligning your company to play the same game. This is number one. Remove all blind folds and clearly state the rules and goals for each part of your game field. Make sure that everybody knows how to play and assist driving the ball from A->B at any given position. This will ensure that if the ball gets dropped, anyone can pick it up and pass it along to the most suitable player.
Understand your team
While playing the same game, repositioning people and letting them to get to know the tactics and goals, you and they will discover weaknesses and strengths that you didn’t know about. Use that to your advantage.
Practice the GAME
I am a firm believer that we practice to little. I will address that in another post. But make sure your situation is set up in a way that you can practice safely, making a lot of mistakes and learn how to address them. Remember, the goal is not to get all your team mates to be best at every position, merely to know how to play that part.
I realize that even how much I ever wanted to, I would not be able to write an exhaustive post on this matter, because it is to grand. However; the aim is to give some pointers and hopefully come back to this from another angle later on.