Teaming Up: Respect the lanes

As a government contractor there are opportunities where two or more contractors team up to go after projects. Which is excellent when all parties work cohesively. However, there will definitely be times where it can be a ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ situation and the fight for leadership ensues. Just because you are a leader of your company or within your industry does not mean that you have the final say in a group. The ‘top dog’ position is a rotating one when it comes to teaming up because everyone has a deliverable to bring to the table.

 Deliver in your lane 

Everyone has a lane they are in and responsibility to deliver their solutions, results, or product within their designated realm; unfortunately some may be peering over their ‘lane’ to see what the other team member(s) is doing and merge themselves into the other lane. Don’t do it. Not only does the focus switch from your designated task, but also it presents a feature that no one likes to deal with in business, arrogance.

Let’s say you are a start up technology foundation that has three board members of whom each has a skill set or connection that will contribute to the foundation. The goal is for the board members to bring together the following teams: Network Engineers (NE), Finance(FI), and Graphic Design (GD. By delivering through these respective teams the foundation can build up and start serving the community within six months. The GD team is slow in their progress for an unknown reason, but possibly due to a lack of personnel. If the NE team leader decides to take over GD and assign tasks to the network engineers to ‘assist’ in the graphic design tasks the project would suffer immensely because of the improper ‘merging’. The network engineers do not know anything about graphic design and have been pulled away from their tasks due to the arrogance of their leader thinking that they could replace the team leader of graphic design without merit.

Now if the NE leader had made suggestions where they saw holes in the way that the GD team was working things would have turned out differently. The NE leader could have met with the GD team leader and discussed the observation, made a suggestion, found a solution, and possibly talk to the FI team and made some adjustments to allow for more personnel to deliver the product.

We have to remember that making a suggestion is far different than taking over. And when teaming up every individual has a part to contribute to the success of the project. This can happen within leadership or the employees carrying out the tasks. If you want to merge over and make suggestions to keep the engine running it is most welcome. Other than that, stay in your lane, so that the direction will always be forward.

“They listen to feedback and are willing to acknowledge mistakes and they will change direction if a decision turns out to be wrong. This last point is critical because 50% of all business decisions are wrong. They also create working environments that are open, transparent and democratic.”- Dr. Robert Hogan, founder and president of Hogan Assessments ,  The Value of Humility in Leadership (Forbes) 


We are all in this together