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December 2005
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February 2006

Teams In Trouble # 7: Passing The Buck - - How To Escape The Endless Loop

Endlessloop It's an endless loop.  One team keeps creating problems and handing them off to other teams.  You're the manager  and people want you to put an end to it.

But it’s not that easy.  The “creation” of problems is all part of the process.  Putting your foot down and saying “Stop!” will only stifle everyone’s creativity. 

The Sales & Marketing Team has worked with Client XYZ to identify the specs for a prototype.  Everyone is happy.

The Sales & Marketing Team gives the specs to the Product Development Team to build the prototype.  They do this successfully. 

Here’s where the problems start…

Throughout the development process the Sales & Marketing Team changed the specs 4 times as a result of further client input.

Yesterday the Sales & Marketing team approached the Product Development Team with a request to further tweak the prototype.

This is when it gets ugly…

The project manager for the Product Development Team attacks the Sales & Marketing team member calling her (and her team) “incompetent and useless in client control”. The Sales & Marketing team member returned the attack by calling the Product Development Team manager “arrogant” and “unprofessional”!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

Everyone has forgotten about the client who can’t get a straight answer from anyone on the status of her project.

You are the facilitator and you’ve been called in to help the team.  What do you do? 

On January 25, 2006 I led a teleforum with my colleague Michael Goldman of where we shared strategies for working with this team in trouble.  Michael shared  a proven 5-step model to help teams deal with this type of problem in a conscious way.  I shared one of my favorite teambuilding activities that helps teams EXPERIENCE what it’s like to create a problem and then hand it off to someone else to fix.  The exercise creates the perfect “opening” for a discussion about handing off problems to other teams and how to do it with a positive outcome. 

Icon_audio_14 Listen to the 60 minute teleclass now for free (limited time offer).  Click the link below to download the mp3 file. 
Download teams_in_trouble_7_mp3_sm.mp3

Pdf_icon_7 Download directions to the team building game Tom shared during the teleclass for free (limited time offer).  If you have difficulty downloading or opening this document you will need to get the latest version of Adobe Reader.  Click the link below to get the document: download Teams In Trouble # 7 game

You will find the 5-step process notes for free (limited time offer) at Michael Goldman's website

Tint_cd_sm_7 Buy Teams In Trouble CD Volume 1 which contains  5 hours of audio (recordings of Teams in Trouble live teleforums 1-5). 5 real life stories of teams in trouble. 5 proven facilitation processes.  5 team tested team building exercises.  All on one CD.  Mac and PC compatible.

Developing the Managerial Mind

In response to the Personal Foundation - A Course in Conscious Leadership teleclass that starts next week, Cliff Jackson points us to an article by Paul Glenn (author of Leading Geeks) entitled "Developing the Managerial Mind".

I urge you to read the entire article, and here is the key point:

"If you want to grow new leaders, you need to focus first on developing the managerial mind rather than leadership skills. Good leaders need a combination of managerial maturity, business acumen, wisdom and ethics in order to know what to do with skills. They must be able to look at the world through a number of distinct lenses, synthesize the chaos of reality into a coherent image and then use leadership skills to move people to positive action.

Given a choice, I'd take a less skilled but more thoughtful leader over a highly trained but more limited thinker. A leader with a good mind and heart can usually overcome a deficit of skills, but an immature yet skilled manipulator will eventually self-destruct, taking his organization with him."

Is Your Team Building Event DICEE?

Guy Kawasaki says a great product is "DICEE" which stands for: 

GuykawasakiDeep. A great product is deep.
Indulgent. A great product is a luxury.
Complete. A great product is more than a physical thing.
Elegant. A great product has an elegant user interface.
Emotive. A great product incites you to action.

Is it possible to apply this model to your next training event?  Are the workshops you design "DICEE"?