How do we encourage a team to make progress?
Imagine heading into the final NCAA championship game after the hype of March Madness. It’s clear that winning in such a high-stakes situation isn’t dependent upon one single player, but rather the full team. How in the world, you ask, does this relate to building a home?
Well, you know me – when it comes to the topic of teamwork, I love throwing it back to basketball! In any situation that calls for a team effort, I like to reference one of the first offensive strategies you learn in middle school - FLEX. The goal is to build the skills of the team by utilizing each individual player, no matter their skill level, by providing discrete cues and roles. It's an approach that stands the test of time for a number of reasons.
A successful flex offense calls on a few things:
The Individual and Teammates Each individual knows their role – they have a task and they know how to perform it. Their teammates also have roles and tasks and, to stay in sync, everyone has to perform their task well. We break down the big task (think building a house or winning the championship game) into smaller, individual tasks (like tiling the kitchen or moving the ball down the court) and execute.
The Leader As a leader, my role is to back away and observe. I’ve laid out the cues and roles for the team and now I must encourage them to take ownership of those tasks by allowing them space. When I observe something a player could improve upon, I share that observation individually. When I observe the team making progress, I share that observation with the entire group. Regularly providing both positive and corrective feedback means your team can safely grow in confidence while also making necessary progress with your support.
So, What’s the End Goal?
Trick question - there isn’t a singular goal! The journey itself is your objective. The beauty lies in the process of learning consistently, slowly, and repetitively that you can and will improve as an individual, as a teammate, and as a leader.
In the end, everything worthwhile in life is done with the support of others and the best kind of excellence is excellence born from collaboration. All you have to do is define your role, know your cue, and act on it every time you’re called to do so.