Are You Running in the Same Direction?

This story
hit the news this morning (be sure to click through to the video). I’m sure we all got a chuckle out of these two escaped inmates, handcuffed together and running for their freedom, stopped rather abruptly when they ran on opposite sides of a light pole.

The misadventure of these inmates is an excellent example of the need for teamwork under duress. In many companies, the psychological effects of this recession are causing the employees - out of fear, uncertainty and anger - to pull one way, while company leaders are trying to pull them in another towards ultimate company success. When all members of the team are not united in achieving the same goals, the results are similar - crashing failure.

Two simple lessons we can learn and apply in our business from this clip:

1) Slow down enough to communicate clearly – Everyone is frantically seeking the best way to deal with the recession and then implementing those plans. Unfortunately, in the rush to “just do something,” communication of goals and means to achieve them can be easily lost. If the two inmates had slowed down just enough to say, “Go LEFT!,” the outcome may have been different.

2) Proceed on the same path together – Once a direction is chosen, are you running at the same pace? To work effectively as team, all members need to be working as hard on a shared goal. Any laggards drag the rest of the team down with them. Be sure to encourage all team members, recognizing them for their efforts and contributions to ensure the success of the team – and the project – as a whole.

As you work your way through this recession, are you communicating clearly up and down the line? Are you clarifying with senior leadership precisely with is expected of you and your team? Are you then communicating that to your team in a way that helps adjust their goals and daily routines to achieve those ends? Tell us about it in comments.

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