Most of us automatically set numerous targets every day whether it is what time we’re going to eat, to watch a favourite TV programme or deciding to chill out all day. At work we may have targets set for us by others or by ourselves, such as how many calls we need to make, people we serve or how many operations we do. These are all examples of small targets which are necessary if the larger ones, of the whole company for instance, are to be reached.
In our career environment whilst an individual may be set a target, he or she will inevitably be leading or co-ordinating a team. And when there are different personalities involved life becomes interesting and the journey towards that target challenging.
As a shepherd I can’t work with every dog as they too have personalities and different temperaments – as those of you with your own dog will know! The trigger that will send one shepherd ‘over the edge’ the next one will not worry about.
When clients come teambuilding with sheep it is very interesting to watch. It all starts immediately after the briefing with the questions which get asked and people’s reaction to the answers. It doesn’t usually take long for us to ascertain how efficiently the team are going to be at achieving the target – simply to get the sheep into the pen.
After a few attempts of finding out what approaches have not worked we might gather the team and ask how they feel they are you doing or what is the plan? Amongst the various responses we often hear “this is what happens in the office”, “I have no real idea what the plan is” or “there’s too many shepherds”. Just this week a team from a well known bank spent the afternoon with us and that is what they said.
All our client teams understand the target – herding the sheep into the pen – however after a while they often agree that they are not working as a cohesive team, with total commitment to the one goal.
They intimate that they are not thinking outside the box or exchanging ideas with the whole team – often since they fear they will be made to look or feel silly.
We often hear a team member make a really good suggestion or ask a great question but if it’s not asserted strongly enough, it isn’t heard or at least considered. Frequently this will be someone whose role in the normal workplace is not perceived as the leader of the team present.
Bonus of £20 million or £2 million, herd 10 sheep in the pen or 5 of the 10, no matter how high the ‘baa’ is set the same questions apply: what steps do we need to take to achieve it, what resources do we have, how long have we got – and are there any rules governing our approach?
It is great to hear the laughter in the field (and witness the inevitable frustration!) as one strategy doesn’t work and the building of a new one. Seeing how the team works together and often seeing a new natural leader shine.
Ultimately when they do round up the sheep into the pen, whichever strategy they have adopted, the team are as one celebrating their success. Their confidence levels soar and they work so much better together as they plan the next task – when we raise the baa!
What are the components of your team? What makes it tick? Or what circumstances cause it to fall apart? Do you celebrate when you reach a target? Let me know…