| One day, on an impulse,
I asked the 80 or so folks working for me the following
question in a staff meeting: "Say I was to line up everyone
here by the degree to which each person was pulling his
or her weight in supporting the overall team; where would
you be in the line? First ten or so? Somewhere in the
middle? At the end?"
After a short silence they began to pummel me with
questions. The dominant one was, "Who measures the degree
to which I'm pulling my weight?"
After thinking about this for a minute, I said, "Your
Wow, did that reply generate a lot of angst. "My peers
don't know what I do." "My peers don't think what I do
is important." "My peers don't like me." "I work to please
my boss, not my peers." "Others pull a lot more weight
than I do because they are workaholics and I have other
priorities." "I just arrived and it's unreasonable to
expect that I know enough yet to carry my full weight."
"I can't pull my full weight until I get more training."
|I found it
intriguing that folks seemed uneasy with the notion
of having their peers judge their performance in
the context of the team.
My out-of-the-blue question had struck a very tender
cord. Once I extricated myself from this cauldron, I
reflected on what had happened and why. Clearly people
were sensitive to how others perceived their job performance.
I found it intriguing that folks seemed uneasy with
the notion of having their peers judge their performance
in the context of the team. Despite all the rhetoric
and head nodding about the team's performance being
more important than any one individual's performance,
folks really hadn't bought into that. Most had not recognized
that just believing in the concept of a team was not
enough. Behaviors and attitudes had to change.
My people had not yet learned that individual endeavors
are meaningless unless the team succeeds. They hadn't
figured out that they cannot thrive if the team does
not -- that teams must have the allegiance of every
member if they want to win championships.
Wow, I thought. This team stuff is a lot tougher to
make happen than I had thought. Saying it's so doesn't
make it so.
Little is in the civil service with the Dept.
of the Air Force, where he's been a program manager
for five major defense acquisition efforts. He entered
the Air Force in 1967 and served on active duty