As part of my coaching/mentoring, I use many analogies. Analogies help twice. First, it’s a great way to share a vision based on shared knowledge; second, it’s a simple way to make decisions for the coachee.
For example, Disney tells their Disneyland employees that they are like actors on a stage. Decisions on what is right and wrong are now accessible. Smoking in front of the audience is wrong, wearing a costume is good, acting like the costume character is perfect.
So what is the correct analogy for a successful team?
It’s an orchestra
In an orchestra, everyone is a specialist
Each participant knows how to play multiple instruments, but they are expert in only one. Likewise, in great teams, especially in agile development, each team member should have various competencies but be THE expert on one only.
Everyone participates in the final result
Everyone has a place and knows when to participate
Clear standards and documentation allow each individual to be part of the overall result, without jealousy. You know when you should start and when you are done. The empty moments should be used to learn from the others, and when possible, help.
Everyone wants the performance to be a success
The impact of each individual should be recognized, each member of a team is essential, and each will get recognition for the job done.
It’s hard work to become a specialist and even harder to stay so
Staying on top is hard, and this is not only true for fast-paced specialities. Being excellent is hard work and always is.
The applause is for everyone
Recognition is shared by all and is for all; no one is missed everyone wins if the team wins.
Everyone wants to be part of a winning team
Be consistent in your results, share the recognition and let the team be visible. The result: people will want to be part of the team. They will work hard to integrate the team to be at the right level. Find a good starting team, lead it well, and you will not have to search for talents anytime soon.
Everyone is better than the leader in his or her speciality. Still, he/she hires them
The director is a leader. He/she is not the best on any instrument, but he’s the one with the vision of what the final result will be. Being a leader doesn’t mean being able to do all the job alone. It means helping people better than you express themselves at the right time
The vision of success is shared
What the different level of success looks like is shared and known by each team member. A standing ovation is a goal; a 10 minutes applause is next, and so on. You can measure and compare each performance, allowing for continuous improvement.
The way to reach the goal is known to all
Play well at the right time. Use the plan but stay aligned with the leader.
The music is bright and shared by everyone
The music, like the work of a team, should be shared. The full composition is shared with the audience. Likewise, share your work with as many persons as possible.
The conductor leads without playing any instrument
The leader’s job is to see everything and guide, not to do. Too many leaders stop leading at the first problem to solve. Trust the team to solve the problem and work together to deliver a good result.
The result is melodious and can change people
The final result will be appreciated differently by each spectator. You should focus on the people you have the power to change for the best and focus on the outcome they care about.
Do you have an analogy Which analogy has to be most useful in your life?