Teaming for Today’s Run

August 8, 2013
Your real job is change which means that your real job centers on projects which means lots and lots of teaming. That alone would prove demanding enough, but in today’s fast-paced, whitewater world, the players change often so the teams change often too. Being a good team player has perhaps never been more important.   Yet, determining what being ‘a good team player’ actually means let alone being one has perhaps never been more difficult. Below appear a few thoughts that might help.


Keep asking: Where do I fit in?

Throughout your career, you will make choices about the teams you join and the roles you play in them. In whitewater, these teams tend to be more fluid, more ad hoc. The team and the role that fit you last year on another project may no longer provide the best fit for you or value for you or for the current team.  Know your worth, know your value, as well as know your limits even as you do your best to expand them. Action: Keep asking yourself who you are professionally now and ask others what your skills are now as well as what ‘needs doing around here’. Look for the best fit… now.

Don’t try to run the river alone.

Organization let alone work and particularly project work get organized and reorganized and that will continue. Take note and follow suit. Action: Tend to your own organization, i.e., your network. Stay in touch, stay current, offer value, and pay special attention to those who do well by you. In short, keep your own organization current and well staffed.

Know your teammates.

Expertise is relative. It depends on the task and the collection of skills on the team. Failure to inventory what the task before the team requires and who can do what means risking an untimely discovery out on the river. Action: Take the time to figure out what needs doing, who fits where, and whether or not the team even has someone who can do what needs doing.

Become skilled not just at being in but also in entering and leaving teams.

Teams have to come together quickly, develop quickly, and perform quickly. They no longer have as much time to be a group. There are more temporary groups and many of them are shorter lived. Still, human beings comprise groups and humans are still social animals. Going faster in the beginning, especially by ignoring the social aspect of human beings unnecessarily risks downstream risks. Action: Familiarize yourself with best practices for starting, running, and closing down groups. Bring those practices (and supporting material) with you and share them, particularly as teams start-up.