Questions to help the work get done (and the team to be built)

Seth Godin had a recent post titled Two questions behind every diagreement.  In it he shares two questions that will help move through/solve every disagreement:

  • Are we on the same team?
  • What’s the right path forward?

By definition, you cannot have a team without common goals and group decision making power, and getting there requires conflict.  These are two great questions, but let me add a few more to help you apply this in your own team and move things forward:

1. Are we on the same team? –> What is the issue?  What is the outcome we want?

2. What’s the right path forward? –> What are three steps that will move us ahead?  What 1 step will I own?  What 1 step will you own?  What 1 step will we BOTH own?  (remember 1 + 1 + 1 = 3)

If you cannot answer/agree on #1 don’t skip/move ahead to #2.  The key to #1 is addressing the issue and not the person – ie.  If the issue is someone or what someone else needs to do to make my life easier, then the whole discussion is about winning and not solving a problem.  That means you are the problem –> so step back, take a deep breath, apologize, and step back into the discussion with a different mindset.

If you get to #2, the best way to build teamwork is to own work together.  If a solution takes 20 steps and 3 months, focus on the next 3 and 48-72 hours.  Progress/success builds relationships between people and teams are created along the way.  I can hear the complaints now – – But this is a very complex problem and 3 steps is too small. My next question:  Is the issue that the problem is too complex or We are not agreeing on/owning a solution as a team?  In either case – either start moving forward or punt the problem to another team.

fyi – If anyone on the team has a goal to sit back and let someone else fail so they can either:  a) Ride in and save the day or b) Play the I told you so card – – – they should be given one chance to hit the reset button, and then removed from the team.

Thanks for planting the seed Seth.