Get everyone in your organization moving in the same direction at the same time
A small boat with twin engines needs those engines to run at the same RPM in order for the boat to run smoothly and not have the captain of the boat fighting to keep the boat on course. In business, if our teams are not in sync, it can mean turbulent waters for everyone.
Gene and Josh have both worked for Wackie TEK Medical Services for several years and are good friends. They are part of a team working on a new system to assist the help desk better serve and support their customers.
During a team meeting, Gene said, “Let’s make the whole thing interactive. That’s where the world is headed, so let’s do it.”
“Well, maybe,” mused Josh. “But I think we’ll hit some real problems down the line.”
“Like what?” Gene asked.
“First of all, our customers are not going to grasp it. They are not that tech savvy and certainly have not mastered interactive yet,” Josh stated firmly.
“Who says they can’t? We should just go ahead and do it?” Gene spouted back.
This situation is not uncommon today as many organizations are constantly looking to upgrade and get the edge on the competition. There is a lot of focus on personalities and a desire for everyone to get along (or, as my wife says, “getting everyone to play nicely in the sandbox”). Understanding everyone’s personality and behavior style is vital to the foundation of every team.
In this scenario, Gene and Josh understand each other and work well together. Their challenge is that Gene is what we would call a creator and loves to come up with new ideas and concepts. These new ideas are great as every organization is always looking for new ideas and plans to improve.
On the other side of this coin is Josh; he is a refiner. A refiner is someone who can see the challenges that others might miss. Often, the refiner is referred to as a “naysayer” and believed to not be supportive of the team. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A synchronized team consists of differing roles or dimensions that are balanced to ensure success. The four core dimensions are:
Without a strong refiner, the team could easily execute a project and experience numerous problems. In our example above, without Josh’s foresight and ability to recognize potential challenges for the end user, they might have developed an interactive system, rolled it out, and experienced many of the problems that Josh identified upfront.
The advancer dimension typically acts as the sales rep for the project as well as the cheerleader. They garner support for the ideas generated by the creator. Often, an advancer does not generate great ideas from scratch. Once an idea is created, they may use their experience to relate with and modify the ideas generated by the creator.
The executor is stereotypically a person who is relatively quiet in meetings when the team is brainstorming ideas. This does not make them a poor team player; their strength is at the end of the spectrum. Once an idea has been created, advanced or modified, and then refined, the executor is ready to execute.
Conversely, at the execution stage, creators and advancers are predictably on to the next new idea.
When a team is missing a creator or an advancer, they routinely become stagnant and stuck, doing things the same way for years. These teams often struggle with keeping good talent.
A team that is missing executors will be a team that gets a bunch of new ideas and never acts on them.
Take a few minutes and think about the members of your team. Can you identify your colleagues’ dimensions? What is missing? How can you fill the void?
Like many of life’s challenges, the first step is recognizing the problem. Once you have identified what dimensions are missing, the team can focus on filling that void. Sometimes, a fifth dimension will appear. That dimension is called the flexer. Flexers can perform the role of more than one dimension. Many teams have a natural flexer who will step up and fill the dimensional void, if necessary.
The greatest teams excel at this process and continue to grow. They are the leaders in their industry.