Do you remember? Do you remember the time when you could get things done by sending out a memorandum on official looking stationery and people would just do what it said? Do you miss the memo? Do you find it a drag to have to talk to people, listen to their perspectives, and actually take them into account in your plan? Time for a mindset shift: The memo is extinct. Adapt before you are too.
It’s not just memos. Speeches, newsletters, and other versions of the monologue are no longer enough in organizations. You can’t just stand up, proselytize, and expect people to fall in line. It’s the era of teamwork. It’s a two-way world. Until you embrace that and start enjoying what can come from opening yourself to the ideas and insights of others, you’re going to look as out-of-date as that guy in your office who still wears the calculator watch with his KangaROOS running shoes.
A new mantra
Here are a few things you can add to your daily mantra to reset your mindset about teamwork.
Finished is just the start. When I am done a draft piece of work, I am at the start of the process of making it great with the contributions of others.
I can’t see the back of my head (in other words, I have only my own perspective). The more different someone is from me, the more valuable they will be to my cause. I will seek out people who can see things from a different perspective.
Input improves output. If I do the work of incorporating people’s feedback, I increase the likelihood that they will execute the plan. I’m doing the hard work now to make life easier in the future.
The questions are part of the presentation. If someone has questions after a presentation, it’s a good sign that I’ve engaged them and a good opportunity to improve our communication.
(Aside: I just finished listening to a great podcast by my coach and friend Dr. Nick Morgan. If you give lots of presentations, check out his interview with Ben Decker about how to handle Q&A.)
Life in the era of the memo was simpler and in many ways easier, but it wasn’t better. Teamwork is making so many things possible that wouldn’t otherwise be. It’s your choice whether you embrace it or whether you sit alone in your office sending memos that no one follows.