Sunday, March 01, 2009

10Cs into Better Teamwork

It's from the book - Teamwork makes the Dream Work - Together we can do the impossible - by John C Maxwell.

One of the books bought recently - it's easy to read as it doesn't come with paragraphs of text... nevertheless, it doesn't mean what's carried in it are superficial... it fact, the few the words, the more to think over the lines... chew and chew... Ha! notice that I've been using this verb quite often recently? Really, it's like chewing gum, one just need to chew over and over again... and it emits a different kind of taste and fragrance... the juices simply change as the piece of gum goes through repeated chews... It's not just chewing gum, but also applies to others - ha! like bakgwa! (indeed, I've not chew any gums since my primary school days!).

Here are the 10Cs cited in page 21 of the book. Of which, for some, could interpret from my observations and experiences... but for some, still quite not able make connections... maybe it's a matter of time... the accumulated experiences and exposures will help, I guess...

1. Commitment that inspires results
As John C Maxwell said, "Ordinary people with commitment can make an extraordinary impact on their world."

  • Yes, one might possess all the talents, skills and knowledge to do a great job, however, if one is not committed - or being half-hearted... not giving his best, it'll just be a mediocre piece of work.
  • According to the book, "The 17 essential qualities of a Teamplayer", Commitment usually is discovered in the midst of adversity (p23). People won't really know they are committed to something until they face adversity. Struggles strength a person's resolve. Adversity forces commitment, and commitment fosters hard work.
  • How do we decide what are the things we are going to be committed to? Well, many a time, it's linked to our value-system, it's also coherent to our beliefs. Then, it's also when we are able to keep to our commitment.
2. Contributions that make a difference

  • I believe this is really referring to embracing the strengths of the team members - each individual comes with his/her own set of experiences and expertise... that's when we leverage on each others' strengths at where it best fits to bring out the best in a piece of work.
  • Big or small, it doesn't matter - one may lead the project, however, one would not be able to complete the entire project without the participation and contribution from the team members. Like it or not, there's no one man show - there might be just one Project Leader, but everyone is a leader in his/her own way.

3. Competency that raises the standard
As Howard W Netwon said, "People forget how fast you did the job - but they remember how well you did it."

  • True... what really leaves an impression or what people really remember is the outcome of the work done. Also, varying importance of the piece of work triggers different kinds of attention. For a job that's so routine - people will only take for granted that "It's a Given", that is, an expected performance which one could not go below. In such an instance, when things don't go well, it becomes very glaring!
  • On the other hand, when it's something new, praise and credit follows when the job is successfully completed. Of course, it also takes into account if one has prior experience to handling similar jobs.
  • Being competent is only one level - that is being equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge, however, executing is when we observe competence! This usually takes in extra effort - and also setting the performance target beyond just the requirement needed by the job. One has to be committed to excellent work! For this to take place, it is necessary to pay attention to small details, however, it does not mean one must work on all small details - but the ability to assess and identify critical ones to work on, being able to see the big picture and look at both macro and micro levels.

4. Communication that increases effectiveness

  • Here's Aesop's fable - The Lion and the Bull: Three bulls lived together... Though they ate and live side by side, they did not speak to one another. One day, the hungry lion came and he knew he would not be able to overcome the bulls becuase they would overpower him. So, the lion approached the bulls one at a time - since the bulls did not speak to one another, they didn't realise the lion was working to separate them. The lion, which was crafty, succeeded in dividing them and attacked them individually - to satisfy his hunger. The moral of the story is "United we stand, divided we fall"... however, what made them fall? Absence of good communication!
  • With pervasive use of technology, we now tend to leverage on technology for communication - from handphone to computers! Yes, email... at a click of the button, the message goes and awaits the receipt. It's almost immediate. Nevertheless, we must acknowledge that, no matter how convenient email is, it still doesn't quite bring out the true expressions of words we want to say. The use of written words informs the reader the sincerity of the message. Nevertheless, when heard, it allows one to differentiate "genuine" sincerity or it's use the use of words. That's why the language people always stress the importance of tone! Indeed, I learnt through the hard way, too... So, when possible, talking is still better than anything.

5. Cooperation that creates harmony
Still trying to figure this out...

6. Chemistry that enhances the team's potential
According to, Chemistry (in this context) refers to:

  • the interaction of one personality with another: The chemistry between him and his boss was all wrong.
  • sympathetic understanding; rapport: the astonishing chemistry between the actors.

It's about the interaction, the degree of bonding the team has. How to cultivate such chemistry among the team members? I think, several elements are necessary - Openness, Trust and Understanding - to create the kind of environment that encourages the desireable team spirit.

7. Creativity that enlarges the team's potential
Still trying to figure this out...

8. Confilict management that reduces tension rapidly
When we face conflict, we will try to avoid the person whom we have problem with. Of course, very often, when conflict arises, we could only see negative motives and actions in others and are blind to our very own actions or responses to the entire situation.

  • Preventation is always better than cure; although another school of thought says, having gone through and resolve the conflict, the team strengthens. Yes - Provided it's resolved, Provided all have an open mind to accept own's responsibility in the entire conflict matter!
  • Open communication and maturity are really the means to prevent conflict. The focus is on the matter, and it should not bring in personal reasons! This is the first step, to deal with it in an objective manner! Rule by the Head, Not by the Heart.
  • Conflict often arises because of mismatch in communication. We take for granted that all in the team interpret the team's objectives in the same manner. Not necessary. We came with different background and experiences - and often, we make inference to our past experiences, which could be very different from one person to another! Sometimes, it's also because we have not explain clearly where we are coming from, hence leading to some decision made in certain manner.

9. Cohesiveness that allows change to be rapid
It's about speaking the same voice is a pre-requisite to this.

  • Before that... shared vision and mission are critical...
  • Having understood how each member in the team carries out their responsibilities - the trust and support for each other
  • Being able to see the big picture and therefore able to act in a manner without jeopardising the good work done by all in the team.

10. Community that makes the journey fun.
Certainly... a community is needed... whether it's fun or not, I think, it's subjective though it reflects the team's cohesiveness and closelessness.

For sure, having someone to talk to and consult makes a difference!

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