Many of us get into a rut at work and continually do the same things over and over, with the same outcomes. When a team is in a repetitive rut, this team development strategy helps members feel that they’re moving in a positive direction.
One way to jump out of that rut is to change your perspective.
Dan, a friend of my dad’s, is about 80 years old, and still does many things in what I consider to be an old-fashioned way. A few years ago I went to his house to help clean out the gutters, and after the work was done, we sat on the porch and chatted for a while. After an hour he excused himself, saying he wanted to get some checks in the mail before the letter carrier came by.
He went to a hall closet and pulled out a vintage Smith-Corona typewriter—you know the one I mean, a slim portable manual typewriter in a small case. Dan explained that his hands were too shaky to write out checks, so it was simpler to type them out and then sign them.
As he was typing away, his daughter and his six-year-old grandson, Ethan, stopped by.
I expected Ethan to ask, “What’s that?” when he saw the typewriter. Instead, Ethan did something that surprised me and changed my thinking about Dan’s way of writing checks.
“Hey Grandpa, that’s cool,” Ethan said. “You don’t even have to wait for the printer to warm up.”
Have you and your team been doing something at work that’s almost second nature? Try to look at that process through the eyes of Dan’s grandson. How would a six-year-old perceive a certain process or team interaction?
Do you interact with team members in a certain way, with the same results? Look at the way you interact with other members of the team. Is there a different way that you can approach other team members to get a more positive reaction or, if you’re the team leader, to improve their performance?
The only way for a team to make positive changes and realize outcomes that are different is to look around and try to see things from new perspectives. That also means taking a hard look at yourself in the mirror and deciding what kind of team member you are, and what kind of team member you want to be.
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