My wife and I are in the middle of a renovation project. Not large but it still requires framing, drywall, plumbing, electrical, tile work, finish carpentry and painting. At one point or another, we’ve had the heat, gas, and electrical all shut-off.
I overheard my wife talking to a friend who had asked her how the project was going. “Hard, messy and very disruptive” was the response given. But then she said, “But we know it will turn out nice, so we can put up with the disruption for a while.
While it didn’t make things less hard, messy or disruptive, knowing that the end product was going to be pleasing and meet our needs helped.
That made me think about Team Renovation Projects. I’ve seldom worked with a stable team for a great length of time. There have been a couple and I can tell you that it’s been very helpful in building team strength and cohesion. But most teams are going through nearly constant renovation. Teams are under constant change. The company is growing or shrinking which changes team size. People are coming and going to and from new jobs. Corporate restructuring is happening on a regular basis. Teams are under constant renovation.
But, team renovations are not as clear and obvious as room renovations. Instead of knowing that things will turn out nice, we wonder:
- What else will happen along the way to change things again?
- What will happen when we lose the experience and history of one of the members leaving?
- Will the new person fit in?
- Will the leadership development provided to one or more members bear fruit?
Not knowing the answer to these and other questions and doubts lowers our ability to deal with the disruption. Or in some cases, I’ve had leaders who don’t believe there should be any disruptions and therefore have little tolerance for it.
Team renovations are disruptive. But, just like the home project, if we’ve designed well, selected the right people that fit well, and have a clear picture of how things will look and work with this new team, our ability to cope with the disruptions increases. Our ability to be patient through the disruption increases the odds of a successful renovation.