And trust me, all teams have dysfunction. Some merely overcome the deficiencies, compensate for the weak links, or, let’s face it, simply get lucky. When success is achieved, it’s a beautiful thing and we celebrate the team. When success eludes us, we blame the individuals, the circumstances, or the leadership.
You know, I have a theory. The vast majority of dysfunction in teams is completely avoidable. More times than not, it comes down to one simple issue…thinking that other team members don’t care about us. Yep, we’re suspicious about their motives. We don’t trust their actions. And we read too much into their words (more often than not in written form, since email communication too often takes the place of face-to-face interactions these days).
This dynamic is easily overcome if we each simply commit to assuming positive intent in all interactions with others. Quite honestly, this isn’t just applicable to teams. Assuming positive intent is just a basic part of communication competence. And yet, failure to actively promote this assumption on the part of the receiver has undermined marriages, cost championships, and turned organizations to festering masses.
Easier said than done, you say? Yep, you’d better believe it. And yet, not impossible. Just like any habit, one needs to work on developing this imperative skill. The question isn’t, “Can it be done?” The real question is, “Will you do it?”
Undoubtedly, we all need to spend time periodically reviewing and reestablishing our mission, vision, and values. This is equally applicable to individuals as it is to organizations. This is out companies, non-profits, teams, and each of us individually ensures we are playing to our strengths and passions, as well as understanding the unique value we bring to our environments.
Here in the dark days of winter, particularly when the outside temperatures have rarely gotten above zero for weeks, we each have the opportunity to look deep and figure our own value proposition – to ourselves and to our stakeholders. How are you different from the others out there? Where are you better, and where do you still have room to grow?
Here’s the litmus test….
After you’ve determined your own values, purpose, and goals, and written them down, eliminate all identifying characteristics from your written notes. Remove your name, your company logo, or anything else that could clue others about to whom the description refers. Then have others take a look.
Are your current partners, customers, or stakeholders able to figure out the mission, vision, values, and proposition describe you? Or could they apply to many others around you? If the former, you’re golden. If the latter, well, you’ve got some work to do.
You see, if others can’t look at the sanitized version of your value proposition and determine that there is something fundamentally different between this proposition and others in the marketplace, you haven’t branded yourself near well enough yet.
Let’s face it, most of us are able to identify what we believe makes us unique, a combination of values, skills, experience, and ways of doing business (even in our personal lives). But far fewer can articulate these in ways that sound substantially different from everyone else. Think about it. How many organizations would say they don’t want to give #1 customer service or experience? How many would say they aren’t interested in being responsive, honest, and “cutting edge?”