Tuesday 30 September 2014

We're All Human ; Team work, Two sisters cookin' it large & Staying home from work.

If I'm honest, I struggle with being a team player sometimes. The reasons for this could be traced back to when I was a boy, and felt that I didn't have the courage to speak out too loudly, lest I get beaten up or laughed at for sometimes having an opinion that wasn't part of the shared consensus.

But that was over 30 years ago, and only lasted for a few years, so that's not it. No, it's because I feel that occasionally teams, particularly large ones, can end up drowning out or blurring over some valuable and crucial insights into a situation, especially when there are problems to solve, and everyone is trying their hardest to remain positive in the light of a difficult and challenging scenario; it's what I call a level of 'comfortable cowardice'.

It's rare, but I've personally seen it happen when working with groups of people who have been around each other for a long time and there is just other emotional stuff that is periodically ( even if covertly), contributing to a bottleneck somewhere and so on.  Consequently, objectivity can be diffused or lost, and that's part of the human condition, which is life itself.   That's why the next link caught my eye immediately :-

The Science Behind Why Jeff Bezos’s Two-Pizza Team Rule Works

The article states that the optimum size can vary from 5 up to 10, and I'd agree with that. It's not a hard and fast rule, however,  and from personal experience, unless I can get the vibe/energy or the rythym of the people I'm working with, then I'd rather go it alone. That sounds a bit hardline, but unless you get on with each other at least at a cameraderie level, then you can end up spending more time just fixing what I call 'hidden subversive drawbacks' rather than just pooling your energies together for the greater good of the bigger picture. 

This doesn't mean I don't ask for opinions and advice ( I've excluded google and my expertise at running search strings using it, as it's not a person, even though it is very valuable when used in context), but I tend to go to people who aren't normally from the vein or pool of resources I'd logically require.

In effect, I go to people for more of an emotional yet neutral standpoint, which sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it just sort of works more than 90% of the time for me. It's this element of detatchment that can provide a different frame or perspective on a situation, that an incumbent who already has pre-knowledge, cannot necessarily give you. It's paradoxical in so many ways, but it's worked for me many a time.

A while back, I discussed a concept called Groupthink, which I.L. Janis coined many years ago and covers some of what I discussed at the start about group decision making pitfalls, more clearly. Have a look-see over here, if you so desire to read further.  The irony in all of this, is that some of my closest friends are also ready to be 'lone rangers' if required to be, and it's that very reason why we get on with each other, and even love and respect each other, most of the time.

In effect, teamwork can be a bit of a mixed blessing, but when it works, it is absolutely glorious, as these two beautiful sisters are illustrating here :-


I could say more here, but it's all in the article; these two are just 'going for it!' and making the best of their time and energies together. The keyword here, is TRUST. Without that, you can't get too far in too many avenues in life, wether personal or professional.

Leaving people to get on with it, is essential to get the best out of them and being with them. That takes courage sometimes, especially if you're used to being in control most of the time and have to let the reigns slip a little, without giving up your ability to be constructively objective. And occasionally subjective, too. After all, we're all human.

Speaking of which, I'm going to finish on a bit of a tangential curve, as this also resonated, but on a different level. :-

The Case for Staying Home from Work

It's about being sick at work, which is something that's apt for me right now. Currently I've been under the weather for about a week, and I'm now allowing myself to just 'get sick', by not fighting the cold via too many medicinal things and taking the foot off the gas a little, so to speak . Hence, it can just run it's course and I can soldier on.

An interesting read this, and for me an odd one, as I'm self employed, which means if I don't chase up, run around, and do the work I need to do, I don't get paid. However, this is balanced out by allocating my own time off, which I'm much better at. No more 14 hour days, 'eight days a week', as the song goes.

As others who work for themselves know, it's no dictatorship of absolute power, and you are always answerable at some level to someone; wehter it's those in your employ or those working with you. The key as always, is actually wanting to as well as needing to, get along with your co-workers and teams of  people, both outside and in-house.

I cannot stress this enough, and that really is the absolute elixir of all transactions. Everything very much boils down to finding like minded people to make for a happy galleon to sail  the journey of life on. It's getting there that can be a myriad of complexities and nonsense, but trust your hunches and instincts and you'll eventually get to each destination stop, with less bruising and fatigue than is necessary.

And on that note, I'm off to grab some soup and soft cheese sandwiches. Both of these can go together in such great combinations (I've no idea which soup yet, hence the vagueness). I sometimes dip the bread into the soup as well, just like I did when I visited Cannery Row about four years ago, during a coast to coast trek of California. But more about that, at a later date.

For now, the soothing softness of the bread, combined with the warm nourishing flavours of the soup, are all I need to make things feel better.

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