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All posts from February 2018

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79: On being missable

Would they miss you if you were gone?

Your teammates, that is. Who would miss you more?
Who wouldn’t miss you that much?

If you’re on a great team, you may never want to leave. But asking yourself this question may reveal where there’s important work to be done.

How about your team’s customers and clients?
Would they miss you if your team was gone?
Or would they merely “pick another” to buy from? Why?

Asking this question may reveal where–as a team–there’s important work to do.

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78: The weak made strong

What if admitting weakness makes you seem stronger?

It always seems to be the most confident, proficient members of teams that are quickest to point to their mistakes and apologize for them.

And it seems to be the less-confident, less-proficient members that rarely apologize, or spot (or admit) their weaknesses–instead, apologies are replaced with versatile excuses.

  • Sorry has nothing to hide: This person flags their mistakes publically to the team. They have a clear enough grasp of their work that no mistake gets shipped. Even if the mistake is their own.
  • Sorry ‘owns the gap’: The space between error and resolution never goes unnoticed or unresolved for this person. Issues get caught, flagged and fixed, without requiring others to stumble upon their mistakes.

On your team, how often do you admit weaknesses? Your answer may point to your next growth opportunity.

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77: Low MPG

“Life is long if you know how to use it.” – Seneca

Ever said, “we’ll get around to that… someday”?

I hear teams say this often. And it’s always from passionate teams, full of energy and great ideas.

But we have the team.  We just don’t always use it wisely: we get stuck with Low MPG. The current obsession with workaholism is to blame:

  • We get “Low MPG” when we don’t use our time right. Our bodies are machines, and our gas tanks are finite. We must mindfully refill them to avoid running out mid-trip.
  • Decision-making suffers when we don’t use our time right. It’s a muscle just like a bicep is; training strengthens it but leaves it tired and torn. Rest is an essential part of training.

When we want to do more, we try to keep going when we should be maximizing the potential of our bodies.

How can your team bring your “someday” work closer, by avoiding Low MPG?

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76: Define your role?

Ever taken a personality quiz? Or a StrengthsFinder?

My teams love these things, and they get to communicate more effectively with each other as a result.

But whether it’s ‘personality types’ or ‘position agreements’, there’s an important distinction: Define your role. Don’t be defined by it.

Introvert or Extrovert, Operations or Marketing, it applies equally:

  • Personality results should fit you. You’re not supposed to fit them. By being your best self, if the results stay the same or change, they’re merely an indicator of you at this moment – a metric, not a box.
  • Job titles should fit you. You’re not supposed to fit them. While there are responsibilities you own in your role, you get to redefine the role as you bring your full genius.

How are labels and roles defining you? How are you instead defining them?

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75: Same vs Different

Which are we supposed to focus on?

There’s merit in both: in our similarities and in our differences.

As a team, we must focus on both, at different times:

  • Within the team: great teams want to be working together. So, focusing on what makes us the same, not on what makes us different, enables new ways to bond more closely, and work on problems more deeply together.
  • Outside the team: great teams know what sets them apart. So, presenting yourselves together based on what makes you different, not on what makes you the same, unlocks the potential for strategic market advantage.

What makes you the same? What makes you different?

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74: Teams are not families

Teams are not families.

It’s common, particularly in the tech world, to see teams–regardless of strength or culture–referred to as ‘families’. In reality, the best teams realize they’re the supporter of families:

  • Investing in strong bonds: we’ve talked before about how great teams want to be working alongside each other. But at the same time,
  • Investing in their freedom: remote work beats ‘Foosball tables’ and free massages, for instance, because it enables members to spend more time with their families instead of in office buildings.

Teams that behave like families enable each other to thrive in their actual family units. No more Foosball.