Timely solutions

When something seems like a real problem, we have no sense of timing. We think we don't need to be timely about anything. There is an urgent need to fix things, find a solution and set things straight. Timing is off the table and out of consideration. Anyone saying there's a need for timing must be out of their mind.

When we have a sense of timing, we are no longer faced with a real problem. We've replaced the problem with doing everything in a timely manner. What became a problem was something done at the wrong time or with no sense of timing. We were misreading the cues about how times had changed and it being time for the other thing.

Businesses will get into situations where they know they have a real problem with a lack of teamwork. It's obvious there is not any or enough coordination among each other, cooperation on collaborative efforts, communication between distant units and commitment to shared objectives. Consultants get called into to brief everyone one the importance of teamwork, the procedures to make the transition and the guidelines for doing the teamwork thing correctly.

There usually is a honeymoon for awhile. The problems with a lack of teamwork get placed by signs of teamwork occurring. All's rosy and everyone is pleased. Then the honeymoon is over and a new set of problems crop up. Teams show a lack of attention to detail and an over-reliance on their team to cover up mistakes, stick up for each other and avoid scrutiny. Team members pass the buck, rely on each other and take no initiative. The intimacy breeds contempt as their working closely together exposes each other's shortcomings, bad habits, predictable reactions and petty grievances.

Once teamwork looks like a real problem, different consultants get called in. They help to instill personal accountability and generate more individual initiative. Performance reviews, goal setting, incentives, contests, suggestion boxes, and recognition programs come into play. A honeymoon soon follows and then fizzles out. Everyone is now too individualistic, self absorbed, greedy and competitive. No one is looking out for each other, taking time to keep each other informed or making the effort to work with each other.

Businesses with a sense of timing avoid this flip/flop pattern. They reject the notion that it's "always the right time for teamwork". Sometimes it's time to back off and restore the balance with individual efforts. It's easy to go overboard with individuality, so the warning signs are monitored for the time to bring teamwork back into the mix.

Most consultants don't recommend this well-timed balancing act because it's devastating to their income stream. They have no sense of timing either. They sell their services as if it's always time for to hire them, constantly the right thing to do, and the "next new thing" to solve chronic business problems forever. It takes wisdom gleaned from experiences with many honeymoons to make timing more important than quick fixes.

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