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Keeping the engine running

Keeping the engine running

Why is change so difficult? The answer: Because all permanent change requires a change of values. One of the big changes in thinking when becoming a leader is valuing things that you did not value before. Why is this important? Because you only consistently do what you value.

Peter Drucker said that: “Most of what you hear about entrepreneurship is wrong. It’s not magical, it’s not mysterious and it has nothing to do with genetics. It is a subject and like all other subjects it can be learned.”

The same applies to building and leading a team. It is a skill that can be learned, and once it is learned, it can be improved and fine-tuned. However, if you do not change your values you will not change your behaviour.

Tuning the engine

A motor car is like to a team because it is the sum of the parts working together that makes it effective and enables it to do what it is designed for. Take out a small part, like a sparkplug, and it cannot function. Take out a large part, like a wheel, and the result is the same. Of course, we all know that it is the nut behind the steering wheel that causes the most problems!

I find it interesting that we can be so logical about things in some areas and struggle to apply that same logic into other areas. No-one questions the need to service a car. We look after our cars because they are expensive and because we would be lost without them. We house them in garages, wash them regularly, fill them up with fuel, check the oil and tyres, have them serviced like clockwork. We know that if we do not look after them we will pay the price.

What about your team?

Your team is similar to a car. It is the sum of the parts working together that makes them effective. A group of people in an office does not make a team. If one part is not functioning optimally the whole team becomes unproductive.

Changing values

Values are the primary driver of our behaviour. We do what is important to us, or what we value. Values govern our decisions, guide our choices, direct or behaviour, and can save our lives (or kill us)! Values will also determine whether you make a good leader, and whether your team will be successful, or not.

If you do not value maintenance for your team you will not do it.

So, the million-dollar question is: Do you value “fixing”, or do you value “maintaining”. 

There is a difference between seeing the value IN something, and actually valuing it. You can see the value in exercise, but if you don’t exercise then you don’t actually value exercise, you just see the value in it. You can see the value in eating healthily, but if you don’t eat healthily then you don’t actually value eating healthy, you just see the value in it. 

You can see the value IN maintaining your team, but unless you actually value it, then it will not happen.

When a team does not function properly the members of the team become less productive. The temptation when productivity begins to drop, but the job still needs to be done, is to add more people. This just exacerbates the problem.

Unlike most modern cars, there are no maintenance reminders for your team. This means that you will need to schedule the maintenance. If a year’s calendar is too much of a stretch for you, then look at the next 3 months and ask yourself: “What maintenance do I need to do?”

Upskilling of the team, getting them together to give information, creating a sense of belonging, social interaction, awards events, etc. Leading a team requires a lot of extra work! 

The tragedy is, in most areas of our lives, that the cost of fixing things once they are broken is usually way more than maintenance.

If you do not value maintenance, you will not maintain.

Fix or maintain? – that is the question. It’s a question of thinking like a leader, and it’s a question of values.

Isn’t it time you paid more attention to your team than your car?

Written by Doug Johnson

Published on 23rd Oct 2020

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