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Who’s On Your Team?

September 6, 2013

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Mark, I need a favor.

Okay. . .

I need you to set aside a terabyte of storage space for me.

You know that the policy is to not allocate space until we’ve had a formal request that’s been approved by the portfolio director.

Yeah, I know. I don’t have time for that. I need the space right now. I can get you the approval next week.

What would you do? The odds are that your answer would depend on who was asking. The safe course would be to say no. No one is going to get you in trouble for following company policy. And that policy is there for a reason. Organizations, despite what Dilbert thinks, do not enjoy creating red tape. You might have the occasional Pointy Haired Boss who thinks that “winning” means making things hard for people, but most companies really would like their processes to run smoothly and efficiently.

But, there are probably people that you would make an exception for. Not because either one of you wants to break rules, but you treat team members differently than non-team members.

You “team” are those people who help you get your job done. In this case, I’m ignoring the team that your organization defined for you. In fact, there may be times where the people your organization assigned you are actually hurting your productivity.

Every successful person I’ve ever met has built a personal team who is committed to their success. To avoid confusion, let’s call this “Team Rodney.” Wow, Rodney, kind of arrogant to think it’s always going to be all about you!

Excellent point! It’s not all about me. Just because I build a Team Rodney, doesn’t mean that there’s not a Team Howard or a Team Dave or a Team Sandra. I’m on many of those teams. I’ll get to that in a minute.

So, who should be on my Team Rodney? That really depends on what I want to accomplish. In my last position, I worked for a large non-profit. We had 30,000 employees. We were a classic “big corporation.” Here are some of the people I recruited for Team Rodney.

– Mark, an engineer in the Storage Team
– Jeff, a graphic artist
– Sara, the Administrative Assistant for our division
– Carl, a Program Manager, who managed my projects
– Roger, a director over another portfolio who helped fly high cover
– A bunch of engineers who were already on my data center team.

There were others, but this group of people were the ones I worked with most often. What does it mean to be part of Team Rodney? Remember I said that people on my team were committed to my success. So, everyone on this list was willing to go out of their way to help me be successful. For some of them it was easy. Because my projects lined up with their projects. But, some of them were not very closely connected to my projects at all or I’m “one of many” that they deal with.

Carl, the program manager is an excellent example. Carl was concerned with the success of my maintenance projects. I was one of several project owners that he managed. But, in addition he would buy the food for our data center maintenance. He didn’t have to, but he believed in what we were trying to accomplish and most important, he trusted me and he realized that he could do the food better than I could. For one thing, I didn’t have to give him receipts.

You may be wondering why anyone would be on Team Rodney if they didn’t have to? Another excellent question. (It’s almost like I’m thinking them up myself.) They were on my team because they knew that I was on their team. In other words, Carl knew he could come to me with a issue and I’d do what I could to help him even if it wasn’t exactly my team’s responsibility or policy.

Being on someone’s personal team is more than simply helping them when asked. If you are on someone’s personal team, you care about their career. You look out for them and you also help them.

But, what if you don’t work in an office. Suppose you’re in a small business, or you’re self employed? Do you still need a team? I think you need one even more. In my current consulting role, here are some of the people on Team Rodney.

– Dave Brady (he of Heart, Mind, Code)
– Howard Tayler (he of Schlock Mercenary)
– John, a CPA who happens to be my brother and is willing to help me with more than taxes
– Richard Bliss (he of Game Whisperer) He’s a brilliant marketer

There are more people on Team Rodney, but like my example above in a large corporation, the principle is exactly the same. These people are all willing to help me if I need it. But, they also look out for me.

Yesterday, I talked about Why I Love Conventions, and mentioned that I’m helping out in the Schlock Mercenary booth at Salt Lake City Comic Con. I’m doing this, because I have the time to help right now, but also because I’m on Team Howard. (Actually, it’s Team Sandra Tayler.)

But, the point is that they need the help and I can provide it. There have been times where I’ve written code for Howard, or provided dress and grooming advice for Dave Brady. Not because I had to, but because I’m also on Team Dave. They have also at times been huge supporters of Team Rodney.

What this means to you is that you cannot be a loner. You need the help of others to be successful. Whether you are in a large corporation or you are a small business owner, you need peers who are committed to your success. You need a Team You.

Okay, I don’t have to reconcile my space requests until the end of next week. I need the approval by then, or I’m going to be in trouble. I’ll have your space allocated by this afternoon.

Thanks, Mark. I’ll get the approval process started. We just got hit with a last minute vendor requirement for more space that put the entire project in jeopardy. This should get us back on track.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, blogger and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
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or contact him at (rbliss at msn dot com)

And this week, find him at the Schlock Mercenary booth at Comic Con Salt Lake City

From → Team Building

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