No Looking

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Al Pittampalli of The Modern Meeting Standard.

Track relay teams live and die by the baton handoff. They know not to look.

Look for even a moment and you’ll end up running almost backward to receive the hand-off. At best you’ll lose a significant amount of momentum, at worst you’ll be run over by the person handing off to you.

Looking can slow teams down, and in a world where speed matters more than ever, how can your team run faster instead?

Whether it be a team of painters, marketers, navy seals, the answer will almost certainly involve spreading out. More distance, more responsibility, more individual leadership, more autonomy and empowerment, and most importantly: more trust.

Here’s the simple promise of team: A group of committed people working together can achieve more than the sum of what they could do individually. But how do we know how much our team can truly achieve unless we test the limits?

I’m not advocating an end to collaboration. I’m talking about seeing how fast your team can go when you practice getting out of each other’s way. After all, the only way to know how fast someone can run is to set them free, and see what happens.

No looking.

Al Pittampalli is the author of Read This Before Our Next Meeting. He’s on a mission to change the way organizations hold meetings, make decisions, and coordinate action. Al can be found online at The Modern Meeting Standard.

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