Got Your Back

by Jo Anne Nelson on January 18, 2013

As many of us know, life is uncertain. Things change, often without our input or ability to impact them. Which is why we don’t like the term ‘change management’. While we can manage and effect some change, most we can’t—it’s going to happen. What we can do is manage ourselves in the face of change.

Sometimes, life happens and team members have to step out of the game for some period of time. High performance teams manage themselves in the face of that change. They don’t fail because a key member is missing—even when it’s the leader. Do any interim CEOs or backup quarterbacks that have had success come to mind? Perhaps one that now leads the most valuable technology and consumer products company, and one that has won multiple Super Bowls?

Cross-functional by design, non-hierarchical, and free of the constraints imposed by silos, high performance teams slow down to speed up. They take the time to connect with What Matters, how they can innovate to take action, and continue to drive the business forward. The team does not cease to perform when one member is sidelined.

Sometimes, team members are too close to the situation to make a good call. Because of their deep commitment and passion for the mission, they continue to fight through any illness, injury or other issues when rest—not valiance—is what is best for the individual and the team.

In these situations, the team has to make the hard call. This can be a difficult conversation, to be sure. A good way to start this conversation might be:

“We value your contribution, and we’re concerned that you are sub-optimizing your performance. We want your full creativity and engagement. Let’s discuss what steps we can take that will allow you to do what you need to do…”

Until then, we’ve got your back.

What about you? How do you manage these types of situations?


Jo Anne Nelson

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: