The Teamwork Challenge
People say things to us all the time that don’t seem to make sense.
The easy thing, the automatic response, for so many people is to respond with:
- That makes no sense.
- You make no sense.
- What are you talking about?
- You have no idea what you’re talking about.
- That’s a terrible idea.
The Teamwork Cost and Alternative
These are destructive responses. They tear down the team.
One of the principles of Adeptability we stress in our training program is: It’s never about the Thing. It’s always about the Relationship. I’ve said it before. When we focus on how the idea is flawed, we degrade the relationship.
Contrary to what some people like to say, we’re not surrounded by idiots. And each of us is sometimes inarticulate. Each of us sometimes misses an obvious and important factor.
When others face that difficulty, we can shut them down, or we can help them find the gold in their inspiration.
That’s another Adeptability teamwork principle: Make sense of the nonsense.
When we look for what makes sense in what someone else is saying… When we help them find the inspired core of their thinking… We’re playing an invaluable role as a team mate. That’s extraordinary teamwork.
The Teamwork Tool
One of the best ways you can help someone make sense of the nonsense is a simple tool you don’t even have to make room for in your pocket. It’s a sentence.
Tell me more about that.
Performance expert, Michael Bungay Stanier, says, “Stay curious longer.” Tell me more about that. That’s an expression of curiosity. It prompts your team mate to think further, deeper, longer about what they’re saying.
Here’s the thing. Using this tool takes discipline. Even when you’re sure your team mate is out to lunch, disciplining yourself to a steady practice of, “Tell me more about that,” can be very illuminating.