05 Dec Folded and Tucked Away
For Thanksgiving, I borrowed an 8-foot folding table from work because we had a large crowd coming for the holiday meal. After a satisfying Thanksgiving celebration, it was time to tidy up and remove that table from the middle of our living room! I collapsed the table and tucked it behind the coatrack, by the wall near our door to the garage. I figured that on Monday morning I would see the table on the way out the door to work – brilliant! I went about the rest of the weekend stringing up lights for Christmas and enjoying some time off.
It is amazing how familiar the table became in its new niche. I noticed it the first couple of times that I walked out into the garage, but then my mind became accustomed to seeing it there. By Saturday afternoon, I think the table had faded into the background. All-of-a-sudden, on Monday night, I realized that I had completely forgotten the table that morning. I had walked right past it, into the garage and into the workweek, without it standing out like I thought it would.
This can happen within a team, too. Maybe a team struggles with communication between departments, or between leadership and middle management. This problem probably stands out at first – like a big, empty table in the middle of a living room. There may be good intentions about addressing it; however, it may also require an awkward conversation or a time commitment to find a solution. So, rather than addressing the problem, it gets quietly folded up and put aside. Slid away into a convenient, “deal-with-it-later” spot. With time, and the bustle of the next thing on the list, the problem fades into the background. Then one day something big is miscommunicated or a major problem arises. Suddenly the table is back in the middle of the living room again, and everyone’s bumping into it.
Take time today to analyze your team. Are there issues that have faded to the background? Has the team become comfortable with a problem rather than dealing with it? Make the effort to have that needed conversation. Call a strategic meeting to come up with solutions. Schedule a team development experience that will provide a fun environment to address the issue. It might be tough or require resources, but it will pay off in the long run as your team is able to accomplish more!