It’s not uncommon for companies to require different skill sets for different positions. That’s very true for our company. What makes a great copywriter is different from what makes a great video producer. They will tackle problems differently, visualize differently, and maybe even communicate differently. Sure, they can get along, but how do you turn them into a team?
If you visit our office, you will see posters on the wall of each of our favorite movies. Seeing Pretty Woman next to Star Wars by itself is a reminder that we have some very different personalities here. My poster features “The Sandlot”, a movie where a ragtag group of grade schoolers come together one summer to play baseball. So let’s use that as a starting point.
I found out that they never kept score, they never choose sides, they never even really stopped playing the game.
The Sandlot isn’t a movie about winning, it’s a movie about comradery. The kids in the movie can work together because at a fundamental level they share the same desires and speak the same language. Even in an office, you already should have a common goal, but it’s important to have a common language. That’s where Kolbe comes in.
We partnered with Performance Strategies Group to implement the Kolbe Index last year. Basically, the index measures each person’s strengths, stressors, and approach to problem solving, showing us the best way to communicate with each other. When we know how everyone in the office prefers to operate, we can set ourselves up to collaborate effectively.
This is our common language. If we notice tension in our workflow, the first step is to go back to our Kolbe results. We may find out that a simple adjustment can resolve an issue, or perhaps we can rethink our strategy. What’s important is we have a springboard to move forward and can avoid frustration. We are not blaming each other for having needs different than our own because we have a framework to identify them.
There was only eight of them, so they didn’t have a whole team. So even though I didn’t know how to play, I figured I could be the ninth man.
We can’t all be shortstops. We need outfielders, pinch hitters, and catchers. The goal of Kolbe isn’t to find people who are all the same as you. That would result in a whole team of pitchers. To make a team, you need a whole crew of people with skills different than your own. Since you can’t control who they are, supplying a common language is your best bet.
You’ll see our results at the bottom of our emails. Mine is 7-Blue, 6- Red, 5-Green, 2-Yellow. That’s how I approach a problem. No one in our office has the same results, and no result is better than another. In fact, our results vary widely, and that’s why we make such a great team. Because while some of us get down to the nitty-gritty details, some of us start with a new fresh idea, some of us make sure the processes are inline and some of us get busy making it happen. Through understanding that we have different approaches we’re able to come together, just like they did in Sandlot, around common goals and common language.
The Greatest Team Returns
If you haven’t heard yet, they are bringing back The Sandlot’s old cast together for a TV series. It can be tough to take what made something great and try to recreate it, but I wish them luck. But for me? I just hope that it is half as good as the original. We may need another poster.
Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.