Fairness. Justice. Equality…

Yesterday during practice 51 we talked about fairness, justice, and equality. These are topics most teams talk very little about but ruminate on like forever. We all have a justice thread, remember, and it’s overly tuned to ourselves. Without proper training, we’re all gonna default to giving ourselves more benefit of the doubt and giving others less. Leaders, it’s your job to build a culture that rewards performance, establishes accountability, and ensure that teams have as little “white space” between them as humanly possible.

You see, every team is really a team of teams. Producers are a team. Engineering is a team. Operations is a team. We have executive teams and administrative teams too. We have corporate teams and teams we simply call the field. We have construction teams and maintenance teams too. We have, in essence, a team of teams. Imagine you line up your teams in a large Kansas field. You put them next to each other in terms of work flow. The gaps between each of them we’ll simply call “white space.” As they work hand in hand and transfer work from one team to the next, the white space is critical ‘cause this is where stuff tends to get dropped, slip through the cracks, and rework runs rampant.

Yesterday, a couple teams talked truth about the lack of consistency in the way they hand work to each other. Seems there are a few high performers who get away with incomplete orders and, when the handoff is made, it creates extra care and handling by the unlucky teammate there to receive it. The leaders of these teams talked about why this happens and it was bullshit I’ve heard this so many times I could have finished most sentences. Here’s the learning for you, leader. The white space between teams is where bad things surface, most often because of a lack of discipline by the team making the handoff. Ever heard the term “garbage in/garbage out?” Of course you have.

Do not let your team send garbage to another team.

You can choose to let some of your high performers get away with cutting corners and creating rework. No problem at all – just clean it up inside your silo before handing it to another. Make sure you, leader, bear the burden for ensuring the handoff to another team is gift wrapped. Period. No exceptions. Leaders understand that certain teammates have earned the right for some kinda exceptions. So go ahead and give your top peformers a personal assistant if you want to. Pay them more than you pay yourself, if you want. But when it comes time for their work to leave your team and get handed to another, hold to the standard. Make it right. You see, hand offs must be discplined and up to standard if we’re going to ever sniff teamwork and feel like a team of teams moving toward becoming a team of all one. Are you getting this message, friend?

Yesterday the tension was moved to the proper leader to clean up his own bullshit instead of passing it along. Justice. Your system is a team of teams, leader. Handoffs are an opportunity for freakin’ magic and opportunities to drop the freakin’ ball. Do not let certain teams dump on other teams. I mean come on man, that’s just not fair, is it? We do not need to treat every individual equally, don’t get me wrong. Some high performers will get preferential treatment and that’s alright, just don’t make other teammates pay for it. Clean the work up before you allow the handoff to another team. Make it right. This is your job, leader.

Fairness. Justice. Equality. FIO if you want of team of teams becoming a team moving toward all one. Good…

4 thoughts on “Fairness. Justice. Equality…

  1. Good stuff Chet. Thank you.

    Anthony V. Palumbo Executive Vice President Lockton Midwest O – (314) 812-3151 C – (314) 540-2567

  2. Amen AND I am LOL because in our old CompuServe days, my job leading the Network Services team was to process Chet’s sales team’s orders as seamlessly as possible for the client — before Chet matured into the BTL leader he is today! Chet didn’t like rules, didn’t follow rules and made his own rules – which is why I earned a promotion to take over what was known as the “sales prevention team.”

    Want a higher bar? Make it your team’s role to make it as easy as possible for the sales team to sell and not fuss with getting all the paperwork right. Make it your team’s role to serve the team upstream and downstream – not keeping score but serving more. Compete to out serve each other.

    And wish less want more – instead of wishing the other team would just get it, tell them what you want and ask them what they want.

    Together we transform, always together.

  3. Too funny, Gu. Great “and” on the higher bar. Can you imagine how much more one all of us would be if we over served those handing us work and under-scorecarded what mistakes they made? Btw, I don’t think our sales teams ever sent you anything that wasn’t rock solid, did we 🙂

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