SUPERHEROES NEED NOT APPLYWritten by Rhoberta Shaler
Are you a work superhero(ine)? Are you one who knows where everything is, what everything costs, what happened to last year's __________ and, who did what to whom when? In addition, are you one who can fix anything, soothe raging client and stay late daily? AND, are you one through whom everything must pass, or only person who can do specific, critical tasks ? Is everyone dependent upon you for something? Watch out! You are not likely to be next in line for a promotion.
Why not? You have made yourself too critical to organization. If you are that indispensable and irreplaceable, how can you ever be promoted?
There is another downside to being a 'superhero(ine)'. You stand squarely in line for blame and criticism. You are a walking target. You are in danger of becoming bottleneck in your organization. It may feel to you like control and power, however, in reality, it is fraught with danger and uncertainty. If others cannot do their work before you complete a task, who will they point to when deadlines loom? On other hand, there is great joy in Mudville, when you step up to bat if you always hit a homer.
Superhero(ine)s can be marvelous, organized founts of knowledge and skill. They can also be perfectionists and control freaks. You likely know one in each category. Sometimes superhero(ine) actually hoards tasks and takes on additional responsibilities in a bid to become indispensable. Sometimes, they simply want to prove what they are capable of producing. We are all superhero(ine)s at times if we want to move up in our organizations. The distinguishing feature is our awareness of our reasons for undertaking tasks and responsibilities.
TEAM MISSION STATEMENTSWritten by Rhoberta Shaler
A team is not a team unless it knows why itís a team. Teams according to Jon Katzenbach* are "small groups of people with complementary skills committed to a common purpose, approach, and performance goals for which they hold themselves mutually accountable". The first thing that small group of people has to do is to establish that common purpose.
A team purpose is usually shaped in response to a request, opportunity or demand from management. If you ARE management, then your purpose as a team may be more urgent, more open-ended, and more difficult to capture. The parameters of a team purpose are usually framed by performance requirement of company. If you are a peanut-dicer maker, your team will likely have a mission statement that will enhance production, market or function of peanut-dicers. Pinpointing mission is essential. Only then can every team member focus clearly.
Clear statement of purpose establishes character, rationale and performance challenges for team, but allows for creativity and 'wiggle room' for team to set specific goals, timing and approach. Most teams do not spend sufficient time defining their purpose. It is somehow assumed that everyone knows it! Take, for example, software development industry. They are known for "Fire, Ready, Aim" approach to creating software. There is even a cartoon that shows a project manager telling his team, "You go upstairs and start writing code. I'll go and find out what they want it to do!" On a more serious note, research shows that much time, energy and money is saved in technology industry by working groups and teams that take time to explore and clarify their requirements. In fact, statistics suggest that spending at least 40% of project time is efficient and effective! Compelling information, isn't it?