Wanna Grab Coffee?

Becoming the Ideal Team Player

October 05, 2020 Robert Greiner
Wanna Grab Coffee?
Becoming the Ideal Team Player
Chapters
Wanna Grab Coffee?
Becoming the Ideal Team Player
Oct 05, 2020
Robert Greiner

Welcome to the Wanna Grab Coffee? Podcast. Today's episode is a recording of a presentation I gave on Becoming an Ideal Team Player at our recent new hire onboarding week. The Ideal Team Player concept was developed by Patrick Lencioni and is critical to long-term career success. In this discussion, I show how exceptional teams change the world, how exceptional teams are made up of Ideal Team Players, and the behaviors required to become an effective Ideal Team Player. Finally, we cover some practical tips and tools that can help anyone level-up their team-centered behaviors.

We reference several materials in this discussion to help level-up your skillset, regardless of your career or experience level:

As always, don't forget to hit the subscribe button in your podcast player of choice and feel free to drop us a line at [email protected] or on Twitter @wannagrabcoffee.

Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to the Wanna Grab Coffee? Podcast. Today's episode is a recording of a presentation I gave on Becoming an Ideal Team Player at our recent new hire onboarding week. The Ideal Team Player concept was developed by Patrick Lencioni and is critical to long-term career success. In this discussion, I show how exceptional teams change the world, how exceptional teams are made up of Ideal Team Players, and the behaviors required to become an effective Ideal Team Player. Finally, we cover some practical tips and tools that can help anyone level-up their team-centered behaviors.

We reference several materials in this discussion to help level-up your skillset, regardless of your career or experience level:

As always, don't forget to hit the subscribe button in your podcast player of choice and feel free to drop us a line at [email protected] or on Twitter @wannagrabcoffee.

Robert Greiner :

Welcome to the Wanna Grab Coffee podcast. Today's episode is a recording of a presentation I gave on becoming an ideal team player at our recent new hire onboarding week. The ideal team player concept was developed by Patrick Lencioni and is critical to long term career success. In this discussion, I show how exceptional teams change the world, how exceptional teams are made up of ideal team players and the behaviors required to become an effective ideal team player. Finally, we cover some practical tips and tools that can help anyone level up their team centered behaviors. As always, don't forget to hit the subscribe button in your podcast player of choice and feel free to drop us a line at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter at Wanna Grab Coffee. Just to start off real quickly, these are my co workers. And there is precisely a 73.6% chance that we will be interrupted by one or all of them. So, you've been forewarned. There they are. My youngest on the left there is Noah, he's three, almost four, my daughter Amelia just turned seven. And so I might actually leave you all in the middle of this presentation and go and grade some school work or teach a math lesson or something like that. So we'll just see how it goes. So today, we are going to talk about becoming the ideal team player. And I'll start off with a quick question. Actually three questions but they're pretty quick. Show of hands. Who here has been part of a really good team? sports team? Academic Team, any kind of team? Just quick show of hands. I can see everybody. Okay, good. How many have been part of a truly terrible team? Okay, great. Yes. All right, one more? How many have been the sole cause of the fact that you've been on a terrible team? Alright, yeah, a few honest few honest people. Okay, so today, we'll talk about becoming the ideal team player. And the first question we need to ask is, why should we focus on becoming an ideal team player, and it's really because exceptional teams change the world. If we want to accomplish something today, any kind of meaningful outcome, it requires collaborated and coordinated involvement from others. So my favorite example of this is Apollo 11. Right? slide rules and pocket protectors. And so long ago that it doesn't even seem like it should have worked, put someone on the moon. That's pretty cool. One of the best teams in history. On the flip side, dysfunctional teams don't change the world. One of my favorite examples of this is the fire festival, everyone, remember that? I'm so out of touch actually didn't even hear about until the documentaries had come out. But here you had this. On paper, this team that really just should have succeeded. wildly, right? Charismatic leader, lots of funding smart people, all the celebrity and influencer level endorsements that you could ever want. And yet because of dysfunction, the team cratered into one of the most public failures that we've ever seen. Right? And history is filled with examples of teams that failed despite their overwhelming resources and talent. Sports is a good analog for this. You see that happen all the time, the underdogs come up and win happens in business, the largest stages, the smallest stages, when dysfunction creeps into a team, things go really, really bad really, really fast. So I'm going to do something a little bit atypical and ask you to take out your phones if you haven't already. And go to pollEvie.com slash team player, you can also do this in your thanks right in your browser here. And you should see a question that says which area has the largest impact on your team's results? And so you can pick strong skill set, solid relationships, having a shared purpose, a team level focus. So that would be like an individual's focusing on team outcomes, taking ownership and communication. So we're seeing these come through. Thanks so much. My biggest fear is that I'll give a presentation and no one will no no participate here and we'll just stare at a blank screen awkwardly. Okay, communication is taking the lead. All right. So few on strong skill set. Several on relationships, appeal on shared purpose and most in communication. Good, okay. Thank you. So, we've established and I think it's pretty agreeable that you want to be on an exceptional team. Exceptional teams change the world and you don't go home every day really frustrated and drained by all the drama and dysfunction on a team. So how do we build exceptional teams? Well, exceptional teams are made up of ideal team players. So it turns out that if you study teams, the strongest indicator of whether or not a team will be successful really breaks down to the individuals, right. So without that strong foundation of individual team players, organizations will continually struggle to achieve their goals no matter how straightforward they seem. And that's why especially in the business world, we see case after case of solved problems, failing spectacularly over budget, late, people quitting in the middle of the project and not having a backfill, on and on, right for applications implementations, project level outcomes that have that other people have done already, these are solve problems. And still we can't manage to, to get through them. And that's because of team dysfunction, which goes down to that individual level. So the next question, well, how do you become an ideal team player? Luckily for us, Patrick Lencioni, has answered that question. And he says that ideal team players are humble, hungry and smart. And by smart, he means people smart. So humble, puts the team before self, hungry, always in search of more, and smart plays well with others, right. And if you combine those three things together at the individual level, you will create exceptional teams. So let's break each one of these down a little bit. The humble team player, what does that mean? Right, demonstrating a continuous emphasis on making their team successful sometimes at the expense of their personal gain or preferences. I think there are some special operations unit, I want to say Green Berets, but now I'm thinking it's Rangers, who in their creed, say, I will shoulder more than my fair share of the load. And I think that's a wonderful attitude to bring towards any team. So what does that look like? Showing gratitude, taking ownership when things go wrong, quick to praise others, that's a really hard thing to do consistently, showing respect to everybody, no matter what defining success collectively, and playing the infinite game. The idea of the infinite game is you take actions to keep the game going not to necessarily win. So the longer you play, the better it is for everyone else. And if we can create situations like that in the business environment, that's great. Where do we fail at this becoming overly competitive, I personally struggle with that one quite a bit, a stealing credit. So I not we, resenting other success, criticizing shooting down ideas, seeking the spotlight over the team. And one that I kind of have to bring up for Pariveda specifically, is mistaking passive for humble, right? Humble does not mean, hey, my good work will speak for itself, or I shouldn't go and try to do a really great job and crush this presentation or nail this deliverable. That's not what we mean here. What we mean here is when we win, when you do a really great job, don't spike the ball, right? These are team collective efforts, team success. And so you can be competent, you can be great at your craft. In fact, we encourage that that's a great way to live a meaningful and productive professional life. Just be a little bit careful in your balance, because based on how you're wired, and everyone here is taken PI, you're probably going to trend either on the overly competitive side, like with me, or the overly passive side, where it's not wanting to go and cause a bit of a stir, right? And so it's really useful to understand what side of the spectrum you fall on and adapt your behaviors accordingly. So next, the hungry team player, what does that mean? Consistent, constant growth and progress forward, tenacious and overcoming obstacles. We're always, especially in consulting, you're thrown into situations that you're just not ready for. And your ability to keep moving forward, keep making progress is really what's going to make the difference for you. Again, willing to shoulder more than their fair share of the load without complaint. I love that so much. It's in here twice. What does that look like? Constantly learning, doing more than is expected of you, passionate about your work, pushing your limits to the next level, self motivated to make progress, needs minimal direction. As a leader at this firm. It's been eight and a half years. I love it when people come to me and say, Hey, I need more. What can I take off of your plate? What else can I do? I think that that's great. Where do we fail at this? Avoiding making commitments, maintaining the status quo, unfocused, sporadic attention, lacking individual commitment, and our output is constantly lagging. So the people smart team player, luckily, it wasn't intellectual, smart people smart is at least learnable behaviors. So people smart team players can get along with other humans. They show self awareness in their interactions engage in healthy conflict that's very important, and can behave effectively in a wide range of scenarios. So what does that look like? You have adequate social skills for your job, you adapt your style to others preferences, you build trust with others, consistently demonstrate empathy, have solid listening skills, and give the benefit of the doubt. I think that's a great one. No matter what you experience at work, I think it's a really helpful idea to assume positive intent. There's very, very rare that I've seen a situation where people have intentionally tried to screw something up. Usually, they mean well, sometimes their incentives or motivations are not aligned with yours. But usually their heart is in the right place, their intentions are in the right place. Where do we fail this kind of, hey, I am who I am, you have to deal with me. That's not effective in a business environment for sure. Inability to adapt to styles being overly competitive, or aggressive, not apologizing when you mess up, constant negativity. We've all seen people like this, right? They're no fun to be around. So if you take this idea of humble, hungry and smart, it turns out, you have to actually be good, everybody on the team has to be good at every one of those things. Or dysfunction creeps in over time. And once dysfunction is in the system, it festers, it grows. And this is how feuds are created that last hundreds of years, right? If you think about, okay, if I'm hungry, and humble, I'm an accidental mess maker. So I'm trying to do the right thing, but I'm not considering the people around me, I'm making a mess. Hungry and smart. You're a bit of a skillful politician, those are a little bit more dangerous. Or humble and smart is just sort of the the lovable slacker. And so I'm going to take a quick step back right now and say you do not have to sacrifice your individuality or what makes you you. In order to be an ideal team player. These are learned Express behaviors, but you bringing your authentic self to work and providing input into whatever situation you're in. And really contributing and leaning in there is the only way that we're going to grow sustainably as a firm. This group is the future leadership cohort of your respective offices and of the firm itself, right. And so really think about this is not to turn you into a robot. This is to build a comprehensive set of skills that allow you to operate effectively within a team and build an exceptional team. So here we go, another poll, which of these three areas would create the most positive impact on your team? humble? hungry? smart. Okay, so from before, lots of communication and lots of people smart, very empathetic group we have on our hands here. Okay, great. Thank you really quick, if we take a step back from this, becoming the ideal team player coach, so everyone by now has seen our expectations framework. Player coach is one of our five personas that we really view as important key areas to grow throughout your career from day one, right out of college all the way through CEO. And regardless of your positional power, you are always playing the dual role of player and leader, or player and coach. So as a team player, your number one goal must be to cultivate humble, hungry and smart behaviors in yourself. As a leader, your number one goal is to cultivate an environment that encourages more ideal team players. So Chris Hadfield, this is very space themed. My daughter wants to be an astronaut. So we're encouraging that as much as we can around the house. Chris Hadfield was, was the commander of the International Space Station. And I love his quote, leadership is about laying the groundwork for other success, and then standing back and letting them shine. So when you find yourself in a leadership position, think that through around coaching and facilitating, giving feedback, encouraging around this idea of creating more ideal team players. So turns out also, lucky for us. Anyone can be an ideal team player with the right mindset, skill set and toolset. So until now, we've talked about mindset, the filter you use to view the world, right how you think and feel about your surroundings. If your focus is to be an ideal team player and to facilitate exceptional teams, then you need some skills and tools to help make that happen. So today, we're going to talk about some tools, some frameworks and models backed up by science that can practically move you forward in your ability to be an ideal team player. So the first is radical candor. Kim Scott coined this term radical candor. Which I absolutely love. And it's this idea of caring personally and challenging directly, usually, and again, we've talked about how we're wired already, you're gonna over index on one of these two things. So me, as you might guess, I'm much more prone to challenge directly. I think that's a great thing, certainly healthy thing. But any superpower is a weakness when it's applied in the wrong situation. And so everyone knows that the issues with challenging directly, like a bull in a china shop, that's not great. So you have to balance that out by caring personally. So if you can signal that you care personally about someone, they will be much more receptive to your direct challenge. I think that's a really important thing to point out too is caring personally is not about how you feel. You could care deeply about someone and they could think you hate them. Caring personally is about how the other person feels about about you. So when you pair those two things together, you have radical candor. And that's a really healthy way to engage in a team environment. The other two if you if you don't demonstrate your caring personally, that's just obnoxious aggression. If you're silent and you really care, that's ruinous empathy. I really liked that one. That's a recipe for dysfunction and disaster for sure. And then if you're silent and you don't care, manipulative insincerity. So, Kim Scott, her books, radical candor, it's a really great read, I definitely recommend it. The next is the trust equation. The idea here is, if you could mathematically quantify a trust value that you have in any group in any situation, one on one, whatever. It's really made up of four variables. The first is credibility. So do people trust what you say, next is reliability. Do people trust that you will come through and your actions? And intimacy. How do people feel when they're around you? All of that is undermined by self orientation. So the interesting thing about trust too, is you could double your reliability and double yourself orientation and the math nerds on the call will understand that your trust goes down a bunch. The best thing you can do to increase trust is really focus on yourself orientation where you focused on the team on yourself on your own success. That's a really good way to quickly increase trust and a really nasty way to undermine trust. Next, Extreme Ownership one of my favorite authors Jocko Willick, talks about checking your ego operating with a high degree of humility and admitting mistakes, taking ownership and developing a plan to overcome challenges. Those are integral to any successful team. Jocko would say, hey, everything is your fault, right? No matter what happens, negative outcome, hey, with hindsight being 2020, if I could go back in time, and if I did these three things, this wouldn't have happened. So guess what, I'm going to keep that from happening in the future. Even if you're not accountable, even if it's not your quote, unquote, fault. taking ownership as part of the solution. Moving forward, is again, a great way to build and maintain exceptional teams. Next influence great ideal team players win Friends and Influence People. It's very, very important that you understand how you're wired. So we use a whole brain here, we use PI, Disc, Myers Briggs, whatever. It's important to understand how you're wired and how then you can start thinking about how other people are wired and how you can adapt most effectively interact with them. So I'll give you one example. I started my career as a software engineer, I was very, very tied up. A lot of my identity was in the idea of building software. I was a software craftsman. And I thought because all developers were introverted and detail oriented, that I was introverted and detail oriented, I did not find out that I was extroverted and not detail oriented at all until about eight and a half years through my career. And so that manifests itself intention that you feel, but you don't have a vocabulary to sort of name that and understand what's going on. It just kind of it's a very bizarre feeling. And so once I kind of figured that out, oh, hey, I'm extroverted. That makes sense. And I don't like details at all. That actually matches what my experience has been to date. Very, very useful. So take some time, study PI. Take a look at the other instruments. They're all kind of based on the same science, but they offer you a little bit of a different lens into your view. This is my whole brain here on the right, you can see I'm off the charts, yellow, synthesizing, analogies, spatial thinking, working on things simultaneously, that kind of stuff. And it's helpful for me to know too, that my read my people orientation decreases when I'm stressed. So I can get a little bit snippy under times of stress. And you probably have been wired this way however, you're wired since you were a kid. I remember doing Legos with my daughter and the way we have it set up is you know, she's the surgeon. She's putting the pieces together, I'm the nurse. I'm looking at the diagrams figuring out what Legos she needs next kind of organizing them so she can take them and put them on the the assembly. And I remember there was, we were having some kind of confusion and I was like, oh, sweetheart, look you, you skipped two pages. And she's like, yeah, sometimes I skip pages because I want to get to the end faster. And I was thinking, Okay, well, that you you're wired like me, there's that impatience. So, there we go. So anyway, that's, uh, she was five, I think five or six when that happened. So one more poll. If you don't mind, what's one thing I will change over the next 30 days to become an ideal team player. You can write whatever you want. Ask for more work. I like it. Build good relationships with my teammates. Yes. Ask for feedback. That's really good. Clarify expectations, practice actively listening, work on myself management and think about what I'm going to say before I say it. That's great. Ask questions when I have them. Yes. I fall into the ruinous empathy category hard, so speak up when I see something. Try to get to know my team. Not throw blame around. This is a smart, smart group. Better self regulate, so I can bring my best self to the team, speak up in meetings. Be better at personal care. So my challenges aren't seen as aggressive. Caring personally. Yep. Demonstrating care. Improve my EQ. Not avoid difficult conversations. Yeah, great. This is good stuff. So hopefully, after seeing these polls, which is what I really love, they're they're a little bit different every time, you can maybe get some ideas. So we talked about tools and frameworks that can help you improve your ability to be an ideal team player. Because it's kind of hard sometimes what is humble mean, right? You have some ideas here that you can take into your first client into your first role. And you will not be starting your very first month on the job in relationship debt, which is so hard to pay down. So this will just hopefully, create a little bit of a boost in your early career. So that's great. Thank you so much for your participation. As you'll find out over the years we spent together it will not be a presentation for me unless we gave you some some books and resources here at the end. So we'll talk a little bit about mindset and toolset the Ideal Team Player, great book, The thing I love about Patrick Lencioni is he has very practical experience advising very large companies. And he distills that wisdom down into leadership fables. So this is a fictional story about business people doing businessy things. But it's a very easy read. Five Dysfunctions of a Team is another really good one, Extreme Ownership by Jakka Willink, right, we talked about that earlier. On the toolset side. So personal styles and effective performance. That is a very, very dry book. But it talks a lot about disk and behavior profiles. The effective manager, one of the best resources I've had in my career is manager tools. They have a free podcast. They also have one called career tools, and how to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie, a classic. So check those out. If you want to learn more, you can definitely reach out to me at any time. So now go and build an exceptional team and change the world. Thank you so much. I'll take some questions. And I think Charles plugged our podcast earlier. It's called Wanna Grab Coffee. We just released an episode today, that talk that gives you three tips for really crushing your virtual onboarding, we recognize is a really difficult thing to do. Graduating, starting a new job, starting your career out is hard enough as it is. And now it's got to be all remote. So check that out. Reach out to me at any time, I'll be happy to meet with you happy to talk about your questions. And hopefully we'll get to know each other over the near term. So thank you so much for your time, really appreciate it. And I'll take your questions. So it was, how can you balance ruinous empathy, so being silent, but you still care and not being a jerk, basically by when you do decide to challenge? Did I get that right? Okay. So there's there's a couple things. One is this advice that I really love, I learned it from manager tools, I still remember it, agree now to disagree later. So if you know that something's coming up, that you're going to disagree with that you don't feel right about, that you feel tension, that feeling that you get internally like in your chest, that's a good trigger that, hey, something's wrong. If you're disagreeing with someone about their approach or whatever, find the commonality in what they're proposing, what the solution is, and really outline where you are aligned and where you agree. Or as you're building up to that find what like when you agree with something that this person says, definitely be vocal about the fact that hey, you said that that aligns with how I view this. I agree. Let's go forward there. And so you have to have a little bit of a runway for that second part. Because sometimes in a meeting, you don't have time to agree ahead of time. And so there's you've heard the term I'm sure emotional bank account, we call them our plus and minus experiences here, but so are for relationships. So the more positive relationship experiences you can create with that person over a period of time, the better off you're going to be when you actually have to challenge directly. This framework, you have to think of it in the moment too. If you're prone to challenge first, before you challenge, do something to signal that you care personally, but also, this applies over time. So you're not on a team just for a day, as the days, as the weeks, as the month, as the quarters go by, you can build up that emotional bank account, those R plus experiences and then ultimately, when it comes time to challenge directly, because you're not doing that every day. There's trust built into the system, and you're much more likely at that point to be given the benefit of the doubt. If you're like me, and you challenge directly too quickly, don't be afraid to go back in and repair the damage the relationship damage that was done. Usually people are pretty receptive of Hey, I was out of line in that meeting. My bad I didn't understand you was having a bad day. I'm sorry. I'll do better next time. Enjoy the rest of your day and have a great weekend. That's it for today. Thanks for listening. And don't forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform and follow us on Twitter at Wanna Grab Coffee. If you have a question or comment and want to reach out directly drop us a line at [email protected]