Over the past few years, I have made a purposeful effort to work with (launch projects, manage, follow, etc.) different types of people. I have now worked with people across a wide diversity of ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities. I have worked with people a lot younger than me, decades older than me…I have worked with people in-person and some half way across the world.
Why do I do this?
I do this because I, like many, believe in the power of teams. I believe in We. I believe that together we can accomplish a lot more than any individual’s contributions. But I do not take this for granted. I know that working in teams is not strictly easy or better all the time.
The biggest reason why “working in teams” can actually be a real challenge – especially when you are working remotely or with people you do not really know – is that you have to keep everyone on the same page.
I have written several times about the importance of momentum and teams. Lack of momentum kills projects. And lack of momentum, in my opinion, often stems from internal misalignment. This is nuanced…but getting everyone on the same page is a massively important skill.
Thinking as a team, versus as individuals, is like a muscle. The faster and harder you can flex that muscle, the more you can move (or get done). Every hesitation takes away from the common goal of the team…and really the only way to practice flexing that muscle is through experience…trying lots of things, arguing, and making mistakes with your teammates.
I think, to really get the most out of a team, you have to irrationally care. You have to care about everyone – their feelings, their preferences, their biases – and everything.
That takes dedication and transparency.
Being direct is a great way to prevent future arguments and keep your team aligned.
Also published on Medium.