I live in a family of nerds! I’m surrounded by technical geniuses who are constantly inventing, building and tinkering with electronics of all kinds. One day, my boys were stumped and when I kindly offered to help, they assured me that only a “technical” solution would be their answer. After a bit of my prodding, they explained their problem and I quickly saw a plan for an intermediate step that allowed them to overcome their obstacle. Am I a technical genius? No, I used other strengths that they didn’t have, and was able to look at the situation from another perspective. They were stuck down in the weeds, but my simple comment pulled them out and they were successful. The problem was solved as a result of our diverse, yet balanced strengths.

Too often in business, we structure our company in silos. Engineering does their thing, Marketing does their thing, and we dismiss the power of a true leadership TEAM that helps one another overcome obstacles. Here are some questions to ponder to determine if your leadership team is working as a team or in silos.

  1. Is Marketing using a message that Sales can’t or won’t use?
  2. Is Sales making promises that Operations can’t keep?
  3. Is Finance creating policies that create bottlenecks?
  4. Are your Leadership Team meetings boring and unproductive? Does your team find ways to avoid the meetings?
  5. When there is an issue in one department, does the rest of the leadership team “check out”? Do you hear you hear phrases like “that’s not my job”?

Answering yes to the above questions indicates that you may have great producers in your company, but you do not have an effective team. If you are still getting fair or even good results from this type of environment, imagine what results you could get from a group of leaders that truly formed a team: a team that uses everyone’s diverse strengths to solve issues!

The next time you are stuck on an issue, try asking someone without experience or expertise for advice. They just might have the answer you couldn’t see. For more insight into this topic, read “Rookie Smarts” by Liz Wiseman, a book that is currently on my “favorites” list!