Building Your Team

Workplace, Team, Business Meeting

First question: Have you ever played poker? (“Real” money, of course, being a relative term-primarily relative to your present net worth.)

Second question: Have you ever been losing at poker, with real money at stake?

You play differently when you are losing than when you’re winning, don’t you? That is because there’s more pressure when you’re losing.
And when the pressure’s on-when the stakes are the highest-we tend to play more conservatively. In other words, we don’t to lose, rather than play to win.

It is human nature. After the pressure is the highest, we focus on what we might lose, rather than what we might gain.

The very same dynamics that affect us at the poker table affect your team in the workplace. Professor Heidi Gardner, of the Organization Behavior Unit at Harvard University, found that in high-pressure scenarios, teams receive a sort of tunnel vision, focusing more and more on the dangers of failure than rewards of success. As a result of this, they fall back on safe, conservative approaches rather than coming up with original solutions.

This is an issue because the safest course isn’t necessarily the best course.

Now, let us be clear here. There might be occasions when the safe course is the best course. But how can you know that if you can’t compare it with other choices?

When your staff freezes-when they default to safety and stop coming up with these options-then you are all essentially saying,”The status quo is our best-and in actuality, only-bet.” And at this time, you’ve psychologically negated any possibility of a breakthrough solution, a solution that could move the situation forward rather than keep it suspended where it is.

So how do you fix this? Lets askĀ Bexar County Wildlife Removal

1. Let them know that choices are valued
Create a culture of”two or more options for each challenge.” Be clear with your staff that only one option is not an option. Make multiple options a core team value, and be consistent with it. When your staff realizes that there’s an expectation of”two or more choices,” they will begin to generate those choices.

2. Listen to everyone
Gardner also discovered that in high-pressure situations, teams tend to defer to the highest-ranking members. But the reality is that good ideas can come from anyone. So rather than just asking the senior members what they think, ask everybody. Sometimes the most junior member of the group will see something-a item of information, a relationship, a resource-that everyone else has missed.

I’ve written about this before. For example, ask your team questions like:

Imagine if we had unlimited time to solve this problem?
What if we had to solve this problem with just $100?
What if our competition were confronting this issue and solved it? How would they have done it?

It’s no fun losing at poker. I know. I have been there. But-in that and other high-pressure situations- there’s a world of difference between freezing and feeling helpless… and having options that could result in a breakthrough solution.

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