We’re All Alone in this Together


Have you discovered yet that no matter how big the button is that says “TEAM” you’re wearing at the conference, nobody’s on yours?! That in order to get done what you have to get done, there aren’t a lot of people at your beck and call, making sure your specific actions and projects happen? Ever have the feeling that you’ve got to hold on for dear life to your own projects and outcomes, against the hurricane of events and other people trying to get their world defined and done?

It seems to be the nature of most knowledge work that things come into our ten acres still somewhat undefined—what the outcome is, who owns it, and what the actions are to make it happen. This is what I refer to often as “stuff”—things about which we know we ought/would/could/should do something, we’re just not sure yet exactly what it is or what to do to start on it. We walk away from meetings, we finish reading e-mails, and we end conversations, with still this gnawing sense that I’ve now got stuff that I need to do about some or all of this,

Problem is most of us never had training or experience in dealing with that syndrome efficiently and effectively. We grew up in a world where you just went to work, and the work to be done was visible and obvious. When you got married, the roles were clear. The business and social order remained stable long enough to actually leverage our familiarity with what we were doing and who we were doing it with. We had the luxury of not having to constantly (and by ourselves!) be making things up and deciding what to do.

We now have to step up to the plate of consistently redefining what needs to happen, what we need to be doing to make it happen. And we have to ultimately do that by ourselves. Almost daily I observe the stress created by the expectations that people have of others or the “situation” to make it clear for them what to do. But even as elegantly as those “others” might communicate their own versions of what’s going on…God bless the child who’s got his own!

The best teams and relationships, from my experience, are the ones in which the players all acknowledge they’re each alone in the endeavor together.

That’s when we can really experience team, and function as one.

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