I was recently reading about perfumes. Did you know a fragrance has three distinct notes (layers) called highs, mids and bass. Each layer has a distinct role to play in the fragrance’s composition:
- High notes: Are the first ones out of the bottle so to speak, they introduce your nose to the fragrance.
- Mid notes: Are the focal point of the fragrance or what the experts call its “defining structure”.
- Bass notes: Are the foundation which the fragrance stands on. These tend to linger long after a person has left the room.
This got me thinking about teams. Do teams follow a similar pattern? Do teams have their own unique “scent” of sorts? Let’s think about it.
High notes: You know the old saying, “You only have one chance at a first impression.” High notes are those immediate first impressions of how a team works together. The next time you attend a new team meeting take a moment to look around and observe. How is the meeting structured? How does the communication flow? Is it top down or shared? How are the metrics managed? After a few meetings your high notes will fade because you’ll be used to them. Which leads me to the next layer.
Middle notes: These are what I’d like to think are the daily ops. It’s the day to day that really defines the team as a functioning entity. Looking back at the high notes and your first impression now turns into, how the team is governed, how its roles and responsibilities are organized, and how the team’s communication flows. This is the complex place we live in operations. Which leaves us with the final layer.
Bass notes: While you only have one chance at a first impression, what you do with that impression lingers long after you’ve left the room. It’s the evidence of the work that is left behind after “Elvis has left the building”. How do you want your team to be remembered? Projects come, projects go – but their essence inside your plant (or company) lingers.
This week, think about your team’s different notes. Where do you need to spend time? Are you meeting a new team and need to focus on first impressions? Are you more in a place where the mid notes are important to getting the job done. Or maybe you’ve just finished a project – don’t forget to write out your lessons learned so you can be one step ahead the next time.
You’re either coming into a new project, in a project or finishing a project. Take a moment to recognize the “note” that is around you. You’ll be glad you did.