Tuesday, February 21, 2006

17 Laws of Teamwork-Part 2

Some comments and learning points; the first THREE laws:

1. The Law of Significance
I just realised that the number ONE is indeed a lonely number, and so insignificant to achieve a great deal. But then again, looking back and rereading 'The Tipping Point' by Malcolm Gladwell, it does make me realise that even though a single person could NOT make the necessary significant change, but then it also take just one person to act as THE catalyst to make that change happen. I hope to be able to be that changing agent, and to get the desired outcomes later on.

2. The Law of the Big Picture
This is another envisioning exercise typical of books like the Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge. I do subscribe to the belief that only by aligning your vision with the rest of the team, and making this vision a shared one, will the rest of the team be able to get on board and make things work to realise that vision. I guess the power of shared ownership, something that I've not come across yet, is something very powerful that teams should never ever underestimate!

3. The Law of the Niche
Using the right tools for the right job - basically assigning each team member to his assigned duties based on his level of experience, expertise, and his passion; this is something that I also truly belief will make or break a team. But how do you ensure that the assignment is optimum? Well the only way is for the team leader to REALLY know his team mates well, to the point that he can make that wise decision (though not 100% fool-proof), that his hunch and objective assessment is correct, right and optimal for the future growth of the team.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

17 Laws of Teamwork-Part 1

I'm currently reading "The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork" by John C. Maxwell, and will like to record it in my blog for future references. The following is taken from the following URL: http://www.refresher.com/!bsteamwork.html

The 17 Laws are:
1. The Law of Significance

People try to achieve great things by themselves mainly because of the size of their ego, their level of insecurity, or simple naiveté and temperament. One is too small a number to achieve greatness.

2. The Law of the Big Picture

The goal is more important than the role. Members must be willing to subordinate their roles and personal agendas to support the team vision. By seeing the big picture, effectively communicating the vision to the team, providing the needed resources, and hiring the right players, leaders can create a more unified team.

3. The Law of the Niche

All players have a place where they add the most value. Essentially, when the right team member is in the right place, everyone benefits. To be able to put people in their proper places and fully utilize their talents and maximize potential, you need to know your players and the team situation. Evaluate each person's skills, discipline, strengths, emotions, and potential.

4. The Law of Mount Everest

As the challenge escalates, the need for teamwork elevates. Focus on the team and the dream should take care of itself. The type of challenge determines the type of team you require: A new challenge requires a creative team. An ever-changing challenge requires a fast, flexible team. An Everest-sized challenge requires an experienced team. See who needs direction, support, coaching, or more responsibility. Add members, change leaders to suit the challenge of the moment, and remove ineffective members.

5. The Law of the Chain

The strength of the team is impacted by its weakest link. When a weak link remains on the team the stronger members identify the weak one, end up having to help him, come to resent him, become less effective, and ultimately question their leader's ability.

6. The Law of the Catalyst

Winning teams have players who make things happen. These are the catalysts, or the get-it-done-and-then-some people who are naturally intuitive, communicative, passionate, talented, creative people who take the initiative, are responsible, generous, and influential.

7. The Law of the Compass

A team that embraces a vision becomes focused, energized, and confident. It knows where it's headed and why it's going there. A team should examine its Moral, Intuitive, Historical, Directional, Strategic, and Visionary Compasses. Does the business practice with integrity? Do members stay? Does the team make positive use of anything contributed by previous teams in the organization? Does the strategy serve the vision? Is there a long-range vision to keep the team from being frustrated by short-range failures?

8. The Law of The Bad Apple

Rotten attitudes ruin a team. The first place to start is with your self. Do you think the team wouldn't be able to get along without you? Do you secretly believe that recent team successes are attributable to your personal efforts, not the work of the whole team? Do you keep score when it comes to the praise and perks handed out to other team members? Do you have a hard time admitting you made a mistake? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to keep your attitude in check.

9. The Law of Countability

Teammates must be able to count on each other when it counts. Is your integrity unquestionable? Do you perform your work with excellence? Are you dedicated to the team's success? Can people depend on you? Do your actions bring the team together or rip it apart?

10. The Law of the Price Tag

The team fails to reach its potential when it fails to pay the price. Sacrifice, time commitment, personal development, and unselfishness are part of the price we pay for team success.

11. The Law of the Scoreboard

The team can make adjustments when it knows where it stands. The scoreboard is essential to evaluating performance at any given time, and is vital to decision-making.

12. The Law of the Bench

Great teams have great depth. Any team that wants to excel must have good substitutes as well as starters. The key to making the most of the law of the bench is to continually improve the team.

13. The Law of Identity

Shared values define the team. The type of values you choose for the team will attract the type of members you need. Values give the team a unique identity to its members, potential recruits, clients, and the public. Values must be constantly stated and restated, practiced, and institutionalized.

14. The Law of Communication

Interaction fuels action. Effective teams have teammates who are constantly talking, and listening to each other. From leader to teammates, teammates to leader, and among teammates, there should be consistency, clarity and courtesy. People should be able to disagree openly but with respect. Between the team and the public, responsiveness and openness is key.

15. The Law of the Edge

The difference between two equally talented teams is leadership. A good leader can bring a team to success, provided values, work ethic and vision are in place. The Myth of the Head Table is the belief that on a team, one person is always in charge in every situation. Understand that in particular situations, maybe another person would be best suited for leading the team. The Myth of the Round Table is the belief that everyone is equal, which is not true. The person with greater skill, experience, and productivity in a given area is more important to the team in that area. Compensate where it is due.

16. The Law of High Morale

When you're winning, nothing hurts. When a team has high morale, it can deal with whatever circumstances are thrown at it.

17. The Law of Dividends

Investing in the team compounds over time. Make the decision to build a team, and decide who among the team are worth developing. Gather the best team possible, pay the price to develop the team, do things together, delegate responsibility and authority, and give credit for success.

I'll be sharing some of the key learning points of this book and hopefully I can draw some personal reflections based on my continued exposure to my working teams.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

A day of humility...

What do you know? It has been a bitter sweet day for me yesterday! My students' results were out, and I just discovered that I AM not a good actor after all. I guess some people can just see the dissapointment in my face. No doubt that I did NOT promise that the results will be good this year, but nevertheless, there is indeed this NOT-SO-SECRET a desire that at least my charges and dept's results will at least be on par, if not better, than last year's. But then again, it will remain wishful thinking...for this year that is! :)

On the other side of the coin, my ruggers did well, winning their second match in as many weeks. One of the boys was pretty pissed that he got sin-binned for an infringement! That actually do not really touch my raw nerves, in as much as how the referee decieded to give his justification of that infringement after the match. And guess what he said: "Oh there were a lot of high tackles coming from your team and since you were the last one that I observe to do that, I just have to pick you for the infringement!" Errrr, I leave it up to you to draw conclusions from that 'short and sweet' statement!

So what would I have in mind to turn my dept around. Like in my initial 'shared-vision' practices that I did before taking over the dept, I do believe in the power of looking at the process, as opposed to just the end results. I subscribe to the belief that the results are just the mere output of a good process and systems in place...and I am still tweaking the process, taking into account considerable constraints, human dynamics, and perceptions and expectations. And you know the warped thing about this whole entire 'process & systems thinking' episode, i kinda love it! Hahaha. Getting a little warped huh! Nah, just enjoying in the idea that there can never be a worst result than this...NEVER EVER! Now time to read that little book of mine, 'If at First...' by Laura Fitzgerald for some sweet motivation...and some self-reflections