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|Bonus Focus - Tug of War Lessons for Leading|
By Eric Kaufmann
Every leader should be asking themselves, “What am I creating?”
Answering this question clarifies your personal choices and actions, and it also provides directional orientation for your team members’ choices – it creates alignment.
Organizations exist for a singular reason: to harness the collective power of the group.
WE can accomplish more than I, and our collective efforts are most effective when WE move in the same direction together.
If you’re looking for a multiplier effect from your teams, then look no further than creating alignment.
Tug-O'-War... A Lesson in Leadership & Teamwork
Teams generate power when everyone is focused on the same horizon.
I grew up playing this game a lot, as it cost nothing, was easy to set up and was intensely competitive. With a heeled shoe, we’d scratch a line in the dirt, then we’d split our group in two. Each group took hold of opposing ends of a strong rope, and on command we’d begin to pull. I remember the effort that we expended as we pulled the rope in order to draw the opposing team toward us and over the midway line.
Applying the Tug-O'-War Concept within Your Team
Organizations, too, are pulling against competition in an ongoing contest for market share, resources and talent. This constant tension is a tug-of-war with consumers and competitors.
Each organizational function is a hand on the collective rope. Aligning the functions is not a mere philosophical abstraction; it is a dictate of mechanics and physics. Team members pull the rope at the operational level. When R&D, for example, pulls the rope North and production pulls the rope West, the organization falters.
Eric Kaufmann is the founder and president of Sagatica, Inc. and the author of the forthcoming book, The Four Virtues of a Leader: Navigating the Hero’s Journey Through Risk to Results and the facilitator of the LTEN Transformative Leadership course. Email Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org.