Don’t you just love how the world puts lessons right at our feet? I’ve been fascinated by the huge lessons coming out of the recent government shut down, orchestrated by our elected representatives. If there was ever a perfect example of a dysfunctional team served up on a platter, I’m not sure where we’d find a better one.
Here we find a textbook example of a team losing sight of their real obligation and purpose. As U.S. citizens we all just came through a stunning and jaw dropping occurrence. We were all invited … no … forced … to witness a marathon performance of ego. It’s not like it was free – it cost our country billions of dollars. Too many, although it was supposed to be about us, it seemed like we were pawns in a game that we could only observe and in which we didn’t get our turn. And you know what? It was priceless learning that we can apply to business and our careers. How often do we get to witness how NOT to work together? How often do we get to see what being an ineffective team means … in terms of morale, wasted dollars and losing sight of our purpose and the bigger picture?
It really doesn’t matter what side you supported. Everyone bears some responsibility. And so it is when we are part of a team. What matters is that when we come together as a team we must focus on the decisions that will best serve the company mission, (in D.C.’s case, the citizens of the country) in the best manner.
So following this same approach, how does being witness to the high-stakes game in Washington inform us as to the right vs. the wrong way to approach teaming and decision making in our own organization? Here are a few to consider:
- Never lose sight of the ultimate purpose and goal of the work being done. To achieve less than that is an unsuccessful effort
- Understand that your individual purpose is to present your perspective of the situation based on your knowledge and experience. This is needed information that will lead to the best overall solution
- Know that your obligation and responsibility is to the team … to really listen to input from all perspectives as your job is ultimately to help your company make the best and most informed decision
- Keep in mind that your ONLY true win is a win for your organization as that is what you serve in your position … not your department/division or yourself.
That we all were taken on a course costing billions and without any meaningful gain is a gross waste of valued and needed resource … to which we all contribute. It’s safe to say that this kind of waste is one that no one is willing to shrug off when it comes to the company in which we are a contributing part. I can’t speak for everyone, however it sure appears that to the extent we all are willing to use the example of D.C. as a litmus test to judge how differently we are doing things in our job and/or business, the more successful we just might be.