Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 4, Issue 24;   June 16, 2004: Team Thrills

Team Thrills

by

Occasionally we have the experience of belonging to a great team. Thrilling as it is, the experience is rare. How can we make it happen more often?

Ed sat up straight in his chair. "Before we begin," he said, "I need to say something. You all know that I've been out a lot these past two weeks and a bit distracted by the situation with my son. Well, the danger's passed and we expect he's going to be fine." A chorus of whoops and table thumps filled the room. Smiles all around.

High performance
isn't the thrill —
the relationships are
He continued, "I'm back now, and I want to thank you all for your understanding, but especially I want to thank Marian. That first day, when I called her…no, wait." He stopped, and turned to Marian, who was seated at his right. "Marian. That first day, when I called you from the hospital, you didn't even let me ask you for help. You just said, 'I've got the ball, Ed. You look after your son. Don't even check your email.'" Ed's voice cracked.

He paused to compose himself — a long pause. He continued looking at Marian. Marian looked back. Silence in the room.

Slowly, he continued. "And I want to thank you for backing me up." More pause. More silence. "That's all."

Everyone applauded. They stood. The applause continued. Marian beamed. Ed beamed back.

A bobsled teamAt least once in our careers — if we're really fortunate, more than once — we belong to a team that we remember fondly for years afterwards. The team was a high-performing team, and pride did go along with that, because high performance and high achievement are valuable to the organization.

But for most of us, high performance isn't the thrill — the relationships are. We remember the people, and we remember how great we felt to be a part of that team. What was it that made that team so great? How can we make that experience happen again?

Step forward
Teams like Ed's and Marian's achieve alignment of purpose through hard work. If you want to be part of it, you have to be part of it.
Appreciate yourself
When you work hard to elevate your team to the heights, appreciate yourself, whether the team does or not.
Appreciate others
When someone contributes a treasure, appreciate both the contribution and the contributor, publicly and with feeling. Like Ed did.
Appreciate appreciators
When someone publicly appreciates a contribution and a contributor, appreciate the appreciator. The standing ovation wasn't only for Marian — it was for Ed, too, and for the team as a whole.
Ask for help when you need it
When Ed needed help, he asked — or he would have if Marian hadn't offered first. When you need help, ask your teammates. And when a great team needs help, it asks for help.

Great teams don't just happen. The people who belong to them make them great teams. If your team isn't a great team yet, what would happen if you decided, right now, to help make it a great team? Give it try. Let me know how it goes. Go to top Top  Next issue: Selling Uphill: Before and After  Next Issue

Rick BrennerThe article you've been reading is an archived issue of Point Lookout, my weekly newsletter. I've been publishing it since January, 2001, free to all subscribers, over the Web, and via RSS. You can help keep it free by donating either as an individual or as an organization. You'll receive in return my sincere thanks — and the comfort of knowing that you've helped to propagate insights and perspectives that can help make our workplaces a little more human-friendly. More

Your comments are welcome

Would you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenfZCRGgZXcxcZEpMRner@ChacGdYNNNthhVpwHwmooCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.

About Point Lookout

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.

Point Lookout is a free weekly email newsletter. Browse the archive of past issues. Subscribe for free.

Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.

Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.

Related articles

More articles on Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness:

The Boott Cotton Mills and Eastern CanalThere Is No Rumor Mill
Rumors about organizational intentions or expectations can depress productivity. Even when they're factually false, rumors can be so powerful that they sometimes produce the results they predict. How can we manage organizational rumors?
A stormEmailstorming
Most of us get too much email. Some is spam, but even if we figured out how to eliminate spam, most would still agree that we get too much email. What's happening? And what can we do about it?
A sandwich piled highWorking Lunches
To save time, or to find a time everyone has free, we sometimes meet during lunch. It seems like a good idea, but there are some hidden costs.
Vincent's Bedroom in Arles, by Vincent Van GoghVirtual Conflict
Conflict, both constructive and destructive, is part of teamwork. As virtual teams become more common, we're seeing more virtual conflict — conflict that crosses site boundaries. Dealing with destructive conflict is difficult enough face-to-face, but in virtual teams, it's especially tricky.
A mantis shrimp, recently discovered to have the ability to detect the circular polarization state of lightA Review of Performance Reviews: The Checkoff
As practiced in most organizations, performance reviews, especially annual performance reviews, are toxic both to the organization and its people. A commonly used tool, the checkoff, is especially deceptive.

See also Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness and Project Management for more related articles.

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York CityComing August 23: Look Where You Aren't Looking
Being blindsided by an adverse event could indicate the event's sudden, unexpected development. It can also indicate a failure to anticipate what could have been reasonably anticipated. How can we improve our ability to prepare for adverse events? Available here and by RSS on August 23.
"The Thinker," by Auguste RodinAnd on August 30: They Just Don't Understand
When we cannot resolve an issue in open debate, we sometimes try to explain the obstinacy of others. The explanations we favor can tell us more about ourselves than they do about others. Available here and by RSS on August 30.

Coaching services

I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenhGCoRBrVmKSAEihfner@ChacfkdONxmkvWWULeYloCanyon.com or (617) 491-6289, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.

Get the ebook!

Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:

Reprinting this article

Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info

Public seminars

The Race to the South Pole: Ten Lessons for Project Managers
On 14The Race to the Pole: Ten Lessons for Project Managers December 1911, four men led by Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole. Thirty-five days later, Robert F. Scott and four others followed. Amundsen had won the race to the pole. Amundsen's party returned to base on 26 January 1912. Scott's party perished. As historical drama, why this happened is interesting enough, but to organizational leaders, business analysts, project sponsors, and project managers, the story is fascinating. Lessons abound. Read more about this program. Here are some dates for this program:

Creating High Performance Virtual Teams
Many Creating High Performance Virtual Teamspeople experience virtual teams as awkward, slow, and sometimes frustrating. Even when most team members hail from the same nation or culture, and even when they all speak the same language, geographic dispersion or the presence of employees from multiple enterprises is often enough to exclude all possibility of high performance. The problem is that we lead, manage, and support virtual teams in ways that are too much like the way we lead, manage, and support co-located teams. In this program, Rick Brenner shows you how to change your approach to leading, managing, and supporting virtual teams to achieve high performance using Simons' Four Spans model of high performance. Read more about this program. Here's a date for this program:

The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
Many The Power Affect: How We Express Personal Powerpeople who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.

Follow Rick

Send email or subscribe to one of my newsletters Follow me at LinkedIn Follow me at Twitter, or share a tweet Follow me at Google+ or share a post Subscribe to RSS feeds Subscribe to RSS feeds
The message of Point Lookout is unique. Help get the message out. Please donate to help keep Point Lookout available for free to everyone.
21st Century Business TravelAre your business trips long chains of stressful misadventures? Have you ever wondered if there's a better way to get from here to there relaxed and refreshed? First class travel is one alternative, but you can do almost as well (without the high costs) if you know the tricks of the masters of 21st-century e-enabled business travel…
Reader Comments About My Newsletter
A sampling:
  • Your stuff is brilliant! Thank you!
  • You and Scott Adams both secretly work here, right?
  • I really enjoy my weekly newsletters. I appreciate the quick read.
  • A sort of Dr. Phil for Management!
  • …extremely accurate, inspiring and applicable to day-to-day … invaluable.
  • More
52 Tips for Leaders of Project-Oriented OrganizationsAre your project teams plagued by turnover, burnout, and high defect rates? Turn your culture around.
101 Tips for Effective MeetingsLearn how to make meetings more productive — and more rare.
Ebooks, booklets and tip books on project management, conflict, writing email, effective meetings and more.