Doers Focus On Task, Not Personality: Part I

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Doers understand and accept that forming productive relationships by removing the impediments that separate them from the quirky personalities of their teammates is not likely to happen naturally. The tenets of teamwork described below and in the blog that follows provide guidelines for building task-based relationships, so that when Doers encounter whiners, slackers, misfits, or loners the focus is on their task and not on their personalities.

Collaborative Spirit: You can accomplish more by working together than you can by working alone.

Before you decide to join forces with another person, you have to ask yourself the question: How do I benefit from this relationship? At first glance, there may appear to be very little benefit other than making the other party happy. You may have to dig a little deeper before you discover that you really need what the other person brings to the table. It helps sometimes to list the skill sets you have and compare them to what you know about the other person.

Even if you believe the other person to be incompetent, you will never know for certain until you work along side him or her long enough to confirm your suspicions. Think of it this way: a coworker brings to the job a unique set of abilities, which when matched with yours has the potential for improving the odds that you will both succeed.

Something heartwarming and emotionally uplifting happens when two individuals complete a difficult task that neither could have accomplished without the other. A collaborative spirit emerges that was not there before. Your desire to continue the relationship increases and you all feel motivated to aim higher on the next project.

Common Purpose: Work on the same things at the same time.

Problem solving and decision-making are two separate functions. Working simultaneously on both will create confusion and divert team energy. Solving a problem calls for people who are comfortable recalling intricate details, and remembering forgotten bits and pieces that may help to solve the mystery. It makes sense to begin the search for a solution by sharing your collective memories of what could have caused the deviation from expectations.

Making decisions is more about setting a new course to change in the future. This requires people who are good at thinking forward. In order to develop a common purpose from which to make their decision, teammates must agree to refocus their attention to what lies ahead.

The priority in working with others is to establish a common purpose and focus before you pool your knowledge and begin your work. Without first determining a common purpose, much time and energy will be wasted arguing over who is right and who is wrong. It also increases the chances of missing the point or doing something stupid.

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