2 reasons great teams do great things
This time exactly a year ago, I was plotting out my Thanksgiving menu, so it was roughly two weeks before the big day and I was psyched. It was our third time hosting, and by then had I had worked out a bunch of rookie mistakes.
In my notes, I had a checklist for each day of the week preceding Thanksgiving, including what needed to be prepped and what I could do in the days leading up (chop onions, carrots, celery, parsley; make room in the fridge to brine the turkey; set up the guest rooms; pull out all serving platters and make a couple of prepare-ahead sides.)
It was the recipe for a dream. In it, I calmly look at each day’s list, complete the tasks, and continue about our life.
And then I found myself the night before Thanksgiving on the floor. Organizing my linen closet. With only half of the items on my checklists completed.
Because I was distracted by its clutter when making up the beds for the guest rooms (thinking “Who might open that door?”), it led me down a path that was all-encompassing and steered me away from my main goal that day. Which was to chop eight cups of onions and four cups of celery!
The big day all worked out fine, largely due to my amazing family who — as always — step in to help when they see a need. But it got me thinking:
Why, after all of the planning, and experience, did this happen?
This wasn’t our first time, after all. We cook all the time and had learned to keep things fairly simple for this crowd. And my logical self said that likely no one would even open that closet door. And if they did? Well, largely, they’d see our towels are not always folded uniformly.
So why did I spend 10 hours the two days before Thanksgiving organizing three closets in my house?
The answer? I got distracted from the main goal and did not recognize I had a team of people behind me who wanted to help. It was my job at Hyland, creator of OnBase, that helped me see this.
So this year, I am not going to make the same mistake.
It comes down to two logical things to keep in mind (and this works whether planning a holiday event or a business project with many components or any project in between).
1. Trust your team. Recognizing where you may need help is a strength, not a weakness. In my experience, it seems that helping people is what motivates most of us, whether we are co-workers, friends, family or partners. At Thanksgiving, it meant my sister-in-law stepped in to chop a mound of vegetables and was happy to do it. Here at Hyland, we find that every day people work together for the greater goal, but there’s always a lending hand when something unexpected happens.
So every day, people are stepping in to help with a mission critical project that just hit a bottleneck. Rolling up their sleeves and pulling together for the good of all. Taking time to listen to the problem and helping get the job done. To do otherwise, just doesn’t make sense.
I’ve seen C–level executives deliver lunch in our diner when an extra set of hands was needed.
2. Be aware and minimize the clutter before it holds you back from the main thing. This is a little trickier, but if you keep your main goal top of mind (or if you’ve let a distraction derail an effort, like I did with Closet-gate) you’ll see it early on in a project.
Sometimes it’s the simplest fix that makes an enormous impact to the effort.
For example, we’ve been helping organizations improve their business processes and the lives of those they serve for more than 20 years with our award-winning, industry leading enterprise content management software solutions. But we know that getting paper documents into OnBase is the first step to happiness. If we simply help customers scan their initial backlog of documents they can focus on what’s really important to them. So in the past several years we’ve made this a standard, efficient, cost-effective offering that takes very little time, discovery or effort on our customers’ part to make magic happen.
It’s simple. Trust in your team and don’t let the unimportant things hold you back.
That’s how great things happen.