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  • Mike Orsini

Success Requires Adaptation and Teamwork


Business requires adapting to circumstances, people, markets, etc. Our personal lives require the exact same from us. We will continually have to adapt to changes in our lives. If we become fixated on absolutely anything we risk being unready or unable to adapt to changes as they arise.

Let's take a large organization to set the stage for this example. Now imagine (to keep things simple) there are only 4 roles; let's call them A, B, C, and D. Now let's say that due to restructuring in the organization to adapt to the changing needs (of the market, clients, competitors or whatever reason you want to imagine!) they cut role D. So now there's only roles A, B, and C. What happens to the functions that role D performed? Who's job does it become to do those tasks? Certainly this removing of role D doesn't mean that the functions they performed (at least not all of them) have become obsolete. Therefore, some or all remaining roles will absorb the tasks 'lost' from the removable of role D. In the fast paced business world, and in life in general, how much time should be devoted to explaining to roles A, B, and C how their roles are going to change. Are these changes going to be explicit, implicit, or a bit of both.

Let's put this example on the side for a moment while I explain an analogy. Now, having grown up playing hockey I'm going to take one from this sport. Let's imagine it's a playoff game in the NHL and Team A is losing to Team B and the score is 4-3. There's 2 minutes left in game 7 so the Coach of Team A decides to pull the goalie. Now, depending on the situation there may or may not be an opportunity for the Coach of Team A to call a timeout. Regardless, how much time do the players on Team A need to take (or have to take) to figure out how to adapt to the change of skaters on the ice (now there's no goalie and 6 skaters). Who's responsibility is it to adapt to the change; meaning who's responsibility is it to be the 'last man back' if Team A loses control of the puck? The fact of the matter is, is that it is NOT the responsibility of one player to play the role of 'goalie' if need be. ALL SKATERS ON THE ICE UNDERSTAND THAT IT HAS BECOME THEIR RESPONSIBILITY, JOINTLY, TO TAKE ON THE ADDED ROLE OF ACTING AS 'GOALIE' IF THE SITUATION ARISES. They understand this because they are a TEAM and they share the responsibility and goals of the team. If the puck is headed back toward Team A's net and 2 Team A players and 1 Team B player is skating back for it, the Team A players aren't going to assume the other will get the puck and give up on the play, BOTH Team A players will be skating as hard as they can to ensure they regain control of the puck. The Team A players will have to take charge individually to ensure the success of the team as a whole.

In both examples, organization with roles being reduced or the hockey team pulling their goalie, there are absolutely essential aspects that each have in common. Both employees and teammates have to:

1. Act as a team.

2. Be responsible and fulfill their duties

3. AND take on the responsibilities and duties of the TEAM. (Just because the Hockey Team A pulled their goalie does not mean the position, and roles/functions of it, has become obsolete).

4. Be accountable to your position, each other, AND the TEAM!

5. Be unselfish. There's no time to complain and assume that someone else will do the job whether in business or in the dying seconds of a close hockey playoff game.

Last note, the experience and cohesiveness of the team will determine how well they adapt to changes in roles and whatever else arises. The key here would be how agile and able the team is to adapt.

As always, Strive to Optimize!

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