A little girl went to school excited to show off her new glasses.
“You look stupid!” another child told her.
I heard this story from my daughter this week, and many emotions got triggered in me.
I also realized that this is one of the key reasons why teamwork is hard. Because teams at work are likely to trigger our childhood traumas.
Our parenthood wounds (relationship with authority) and our sibling wounds (relationship with peers).
All the times we felt excluded, marginalized, teased, or even bullied at school will flash back when we are triggered in a team environment.
When we feel afraid to share our idea. When someone interrupts us in a meeting. When our misaligned expectations lead to people disappointing us or us disappointing them.
I felt excluded in high school. I also felt excluded a couple of times in my career. And it hurts! This is one of the motivations behind why I started coaching teams.
I know how important it is for us to feel a sense of belonging to our team.
Creating a psychologically safe, purposeful, and creative environment for teams to thrive is some of the most fulfilling work I do.
We know that an extraordinary collective intelligence is only unlocked when we work together with other people.
We know that in a great team, the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts.
But it is not easy. Management guru Peter Drucker said:
“Only three things happen naturally in organizations: friction, confusion, and underperformance.
Everything else requires leadership.”
The fact that teams trigger us on a deep emotional level is not the only reason it is so hard. People have different personalities and working styles. They have conflicting interests. The communication breaks down, and there are a lot of misunderstandings.
Almost all the teams I have coached so far called me back to coach them some more.
Because teamwork is not easy. And because it is worth it.
I believe putting together a high-performing team is the most challenging thing we’ll ever have to do in business. More than product-market fit or delighting our clients.
Bringing me in to coach your team is a 5-figure investment, and I am usually booked up months in advance.
I wished to create a course that captures many of the techniques I use during my team coaching. A course for leaders who want practical strategies and tools they can use with their teams to increase their value creation. And have more fun along the way.
I partnered with a world-class instructional designer, Janie Vu, who has created courses for Harvard, and we created Team Genius.
The course covers how to define the problem your team needs to solve, how to develop ideas, how to make decisions, and how to execute.
It also includes interviews with world-class thinkers on team purpose and on having difficult conversations with your team.
And I keep adding bonus sessions. Last week we added a session on How to Unleash Your Team’s Creativity with Google’s head of capability development Kirk Vallis.
Next week, I am adding a session about hiring your first ten people, while in July, I am adding a session about Making Decisions When Your Team Has Competing Demands.
I believe that you need two things to be successful.
Do you agree that building and leading a great team is the most challenging thing in business?