Monday, 7 December 2015

Take your teams through the scenic path

When you have to go somewhere, you can either take a short cut through allies or you can take a longer path that happen to be also scenic.
We took a friend out to dinner one night. We were tired after a long day at a conference, hungry and low on energy. So I decided to take the shortcut and get from subway station to the restaurant behind some buildings, through some not so well lit allies and get there quickly, maybe 5 minutes earlier than if we had taken the other path. The other path was on the main streets, in front of the buildings and well lit, especially now before Christmas. Our friend was not that impressed with the city when we got at the restaurant. But the restaurant was able to change her view on what the city can offer. So after a nice dinner and some live entertaining, we left the restaurant. This time we took the scenic path. And as we were walking around, I tried to talk about the stories or histories I knew about some areas or some buildings. She liked that a lot!

I think that taught me a lesson. It is not all about reaching the target, it is also about *how*  we reach that target. Although we got at the restaurant 5 minutes earlier, we achieved our goal to sit down and eat after a long day,  she had nothing nice to say about the city at that point. Maybe she wouldn't come to visit this city again.
Very often, coaches and managers working closely with a team, get attached to the pressure the teams have to deliver quickly and just hit those deadlines. When we want to teach our teams a new practice or skill, we do that quickly because *we don't have time for training, we have to deliver, you know!*. Instead of taking our teams through the scenic path and explain things, tell the stories about why certain things are being suggested, show history on how this has been done before from others and what results they had, make the trip meaningful and unforgettable .... we take the allies and the shortcut. Our teams will reach the goal and will deliver, but most likely they will not want to do that again. 
So we lost a big chance to teach our teams something new in a way that they will love to get back and learn more about it, they would be interested to improve it and do it over and over. 

Dear coaches and managers,
Please take your teams through the scenic paths, take the time to stop and talk about the things we see on our journey, explain them and make them attractive so your team will enjoy taking that path again in the future. And please, make small deliverables that do not have such horrific deadlines and don't leave room for learning.


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