Teamwork and team building are increasingly seen as crucial to organizational performance, whether we are talking about a business, an athletic competition, a family, or just two workers coordinating their efforts. More books are written about team building than any other aspect of organization development. Yet it is still not entirely clear what the essence of teamwork is. One aspect is clearly that every member must perform some role that is relevant to what the group is trying to do.
Where do you see yourself at 95? That is not an unreasonable question these days. Peter Drucker lived until eight days before his 96th birthday, in 2005, and he was productive until nearly the end of his life. When I interviewed him at the Drucker Archives in Claremont, California, in April 2005, I brought up the notion of his being such an important role model to 21st-century knowledge workers.
During his presidency, Abraham Lincoln was both greatly respected and greatly reviled. Blamed for causing the nation to plunge into civil war, he became the President people loved to hate. Those who opposed his views regarding the war and slavery as well as his efforts to keep the nation united were vocal and uninhibited in denouncing him.
You’ve got smarts and skills in spades, and you’re brimming with potential. Still, in a high-speed, hypercompetitive business world, you have little time to make a big impression. You have to project credibility in an instant or risk being overlooked or rejected.
Today your credentials may get you in the door. Yet to really succeed, you’ve got to look credible when it matters most: in face-to-face interactions. Whether you’re meeting one-to-one or presenting to a packed audience, your credibility is immediately being assessed.
It all begins with trust. Nothing else really matters, nor will any other tactics that are taught really matter, if there isn’t trust. Can the art of creating trust be learned? Yes. Is there a process that can be defined for creating trust? Yes. You want to create trust? Ask questions, and then listen.
When conversations go wrong, when our best advice is ignored, when we get upset with the advice that others give us, when our subordinates fail to tell us things that would improve matters or avoid pitfalls, when discussions turn into arguments that end in stalemates and hurt feelings–what went wrong and what could have been done to get better outcomes?
Someone somewhere once said, “Honesty is always the best policy.” Really? Have you ever thought through the implications of that statement?
Ever had a person say something to you that was hurtful, unkind, or offensive? You ask them why they would say something like that, and they answer, “I’m just being honest!” You probably want to respond, “Well, lie a little!”
My client’s stock price is treading water, going nowhere, like a sailboat in the doldrums. Without a rising stock price, the options owned by the company’s senior management are worthless. They are, in the worst case, susceptible to a hostile raider.
The company hires us to figure out why this is happening and to suggest remedial strategies. They are committed to getting to the bottom of things.
We put our best team of analysts on the case. We even seek the collaboration of a brilliant finance professor at the London Business School.