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Putting the “I” and “U” back into team.

As my husband tells the story, one team member snapped at another saying, “There’s no “I” in team.” To whit the other team member shot back, “Yeah, well there’s no U either.” Sadly, they were both wrong.

I’m sure you have heard the saying “There is no “I” in team” however, I would like to challenge that idea because saying there is no “I” in team is incorrect. There’s both an “I” and a “U”. Allow me to explain.

Each of us must be a team player for the team to function. “I” have both a role on a team and a responsibility to it’s success. It is not the team that owes me, rather “I” owe the team. Remember that famous quote from President Kennedy’s inauguration, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” The same applies with your team.

In order to have a team, you have to be a team player. I challenge “U” to focus on “I”. How are you meeting your obligations to the team? Sometimes it won’t be fair. Sometimes you’ll get more reward than you deserve and sometimes you’ll get less.

I’d challenge you by asking are “U”:

  • “Over” Communicating to your team and other teams what you are doing?
  • Actively seeking feedback on how you can help others better meet the team goal?
  • Asking what information they need from you – BEFORE they have to hunt you down for it?
  • Going the second and third mile to ensure the team is successful?
  • Humble enough to let the team take credit instead of “U”?
  • The team member you want everyone else to be?
  • Actively pursuing understanding to elevate the team to benchmark?

Here’s a simple way to assess the kind of teammate “U” are perceived to be. Ask yourself how often “U” are requested to be on a team? People only want to work with “I”s that make the saying: “There’s no I in team” a reality.

Be intentional

Have you ever been a part of a new product launch?

Get ready, get set, go!

Have you ever been a part of a new product launch? Regardless the industry, a manufacturing new product launch is never straight forward. It seems like it should be but it rarely is.

For one, the timeline tends to be less than planned. Because Manufacturing is last in the pipeline – Design, Engineering, Tooling, and Facilities all seem to “borrow” some piece of Manufacturing’s clock. And new things don’t always perform as the math model promised. On the floor solutions have to be found to address the things that fall short.

Having been involved in multiple launches throughout my career and watching others from the sidelines – I believe all launches have one thing in common; To be successful, the entire integrated team has to be flexible and be able to think on their feet. Teams that have done those two things well seem to have been more successful than teams that could not.

Launches tend to produce what I call, “moments of intense personal fellowship”. See if you can relate to feeling any of these during your last launch:

Busyness     Hectic     Resorted Priorities     Overcome By Events     Frustration     Defeat     Seemingly Hopeless
Tempers     Miscommunication     Walls or Turf Wars     Mistrust     Anger

However, success is dependent on the ability of a diverse group (Design, Engineering, Tooling, Facilities, Manufacturing) coming together for a short time to function in ways we don’t normally have to during normal production.

A strong launch team will drive past the normal in order to find the answers, expose the issues, to create new solution sets and work past exhaustion to reach the finish line. By focusing on the end-game, a strong launch team can change those negative words into…

Busy (Sorry, we’ll still be busy)     Controlled Chaos     Managed Priorities     Adrenalin Rush     Sense of Accomplishment
Hopeful     Tempered Tempers     Reconciliation     Team-cementing     Understanding/trust     SUCCESS

In the end – teams can accomplish anything by working together.

I think the Musketeers said it best, “All for One and One for All.”

Be intentional