Getting started on team work

I’m starting to work heading up a big project that involves dozens of people in a mix of locations. This weekend, I felt immobilized by the volume of work and information I need to understand, and by the number of people I need to connect and work with.

It’s one thing to get yourself organized. It’s quite another to lead a large, highly efficient team – especially when you’re joining a team that’s used to working in a certain way and you’re the newest member.

So what do you do? I start by brainstorming a list of everything that’s knocking around in my head that needs to get done.

  • This gives me a feeling of taking action when I’m not sure exactly what action to take.
  • It gives me a visual peek at what needs to be done so I know how much time to allocate to this work.
  • I now have a list to prioritize –  looking at due dates, and potential financial impacts of doing some work before other work.
  • The list gives me ideas about extra stuff that needs to happen.
  • And most importantly, the list helps me figure out what I know and don’t know.

As I put together my list this weekend, one thing that popped out at me was that I don’t know the team well enough to know who likes to work on what and to figure out who can answer my questions.

Tomorrow, I need to:

  • Set up one-on-one meetings with each team member.
  • Ask the group how they like to communicate, and how often they’d like me to be in touch.
  • Ask the team what their best time is to be contacted, and times to be avoided when I’m asking questions.
  • Ask the group how they usually make decisions – as a group, or do they want me to just jump in.

Getting the fundamentals in place with any team – whether your team is at work, play, or at home – can help avoid issues and misunderstandings down the road. And it adds a layer of organizational thinking to help bring group-thinking to ever greater heights.

Wish me luck. And some extra time. Please! And good luck with your next teamwork. There’s nothing quite as fun as being part of a successful, high-functioning team.

It’s daisy-time in Maine. Oh, joy 🙂

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I welcome your thoughts and suggestions for future posts!


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