Recently at a reception in aid of a local charity for the homeless, I was asked (as I often am) which client teams round up the sheep in the most effective way. An interesting question since the first challenge we set has taken from 5 minutes to 120 minutes – how can this be?
Firstly, getting the team on board and agreeing a plan is so important. When the shepherd has one idea and the dog has another it doesn’t make for a good result. The sheepdog may be doing his best but if it is totally different to what the shepherd wants, the goal isn’t achieved.
Within a team we will all view a situation from a different perspective, eg a sales director and his or her managers, so the way we each act will vary. Only when it comes together does real magic happen.
When we use the camera on the sheep as well as on the shepherd this is really brought to light.
So secondly communication is key.
Another common task in shepherding is moving a flock down a road. The shepherd will notice gateways and side-roads, the dog might not, so thinking ahead and giving the next task is so important. The most successful team leader sees the big picture and sweats the small stuff too.
If a queue of traffic has built up behind the sheep being moved, the shepherd might switch places with the dog and drive the flock in the opposite direction to stream past the queue of cars. At this point the dog can get confused for a minute but soon accepts the situation and drives the sheep back up the road where they have just come from. Does the dog ask questions?
Does he wonder what he is doing? Unlikely. He simply has confidence and trust in the leader so knows he is not wasting his time.
Our focus in business may be interrupted at times so knowing how to get the whole team back on track to achieve the original target is essential.
In what ways do you have to see the big picture and pay attention to the detail at the same time? How does the magic happen within your team?