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Managing Teams v/s Playing the Game

Around the globe, we continue to try and make management more effective, to make teams more productive, and yet, we can’t seem to crack it. Why?


Notice, most teams comprise of job descriptions, not people with their strengths and weaknesses. Your teams are hired by people in HR who probably understand almost nothing about the ground reality of a job.


Sure, you get their reporting managers, department heads to interview them, but have you ever hired basis recommendations from people who have been there, done it? Or is your talent ‘hired’ and ‘managed’ by the HR, who write a job description, and then outsource the hiring to an agency, who knows almost nothing about the nuances of your company culture, the performance parameters of your organization etc? Even when they are educated, oriented into the culture, do you realize that they have but only a superficial, most-probably non-experiential understanding of it?


Are your people passionate and driven like sports people, ready to sprint, ready to get bruised, maybe injured, ready to break down, ready to let a contender win because they thought it right, and yet ready to try again? Or are they like cogs in the wheel who are driven by salaries, and 10 % increment, and job security, and other stuff like this?


If your people are not about triumph, how do you hope to create winning products, teams, services, business, whatever it is that you want to create?



Team Image Source - Internet


A recent survey, by the Harvard Business Review, studied 900 businesses around the world, and they found alarming statistics. They said that the top management teams of these businesses spend only 21 hours together. Within the time that’s spent together, there’s no agenda or discipline. Only 5 % of those meetings are structured with a focussed agenda. So, 95% of the 21 hours are not even directed towards any outcome.


Of these 21 hours, the amount of time that they spend on winning or creating value for the firm, was only about 20% of the time. 80 % of the time was spent in mundane conflict, handling silly issues that absolutely have no value creation, short term, or long term, for a firm. Last but not the least, 65% of these meetings didn’t even have an expectation that they are going to make a decision.


Compare this with any sports team, champions as well as the non-champions. Sportspeople train together, every single day. Champions are actually playing the game, whenever they are together, whether there is a tournament or not. Their schedule, their discipline, their focus, training, begins in time, ends in time. There’s a regime, there’s a routine.


The singular purpose of that team is to win!


So let’s ask you again. Are your teams really playing the game? Or are you simply lost in the ‘management’ of the team? How much does your team talk and plan during strategy meetings, rather than execute the strategy, and get things done? How concerned is your team about fancy looking board rooms, and nice meetings, and chilling together? Or are they driven by visiting the plants, meeting your customers, proactive customer satisfaction? Do they get their hands dirty? Do they play? Do they practice?


Does your team even have a winning mindset? Clearly not, if your people are busy managing and being managed rather than actually playing the game!

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