Who exactly is “the team”?

Throughout my career, I have mostly worked as a part of a team. Even when I thought I worked independently, I was always part of a team.

Customer’s Voice – The most essential part of a team

I once decided to quit my day job and drive as a Taxi Driver for Uber. It was only for about 3 weeks, but it taught me a lot. I met so many different types of people captured within different types of moods.

The first task at hand was to understand my customer. This was done by a brief conversation, and offering them the ample supply of water, fruits, nibbles, and mints I had with me. Although not sustainable, this was my favourite part.

More often than not, I had young drunk passengers who lit up when they saw the chocolates and chips!

Sometimes, on the way to a club, young girls decided to have a fruit, while the boys stuffed their faces with chocolates. It was adorable to watch!

During this initial customer study, which had to be done within a matter of minutes, I asked the customer a few questions, and offered them controls of the car radio, and temperature to adjust to suit to their needs. They would more often than not, advice me their comfort levels, and some young passengers were never hesitant to plug in their phone to listen to their music to keep them going in the mood they were in in.

Team work is also between a customer and vendor. They need to understand each other, and serve each other.

Now, imagine, if either the customer or the vendor (Taxi Driver in this instance), did not co-operate in achieving each other’s personal goals, as well as team goals. What would be the outcome?

Dissatisfied Customer!
Dissatisfied Driver!

Poor Customer Ratings!
Poor Driver Ratings!

Damage to Brand or Brand Loyalty!

Therefore, I believe a vendor has to constantly consider customer or customer representative, as a team member, and vice versa.

And it must be said, it would be best if the customer also recognised this cooperative approach as the best possible path. But, most of the time we feel that this is beyond us.

But one thing is good to remember, customer behaviour can be influenced.

Value Each Team Member – Looking Beyond a Job Description

As organisations or teams grow, it is much easier to forget each individual team member’s contributions or the value they bring.

There have been moments when my 5 year old nephew had reminded me that I should wear the seatbelt, when I turn on the engine to drive.

I took this example to show that;

Even the most loving and caring driver, caring for his only nephew, can forget or not recognise what is obvious.

Listening to a junior (in this instance age and life experience), potentially saved me from getting a ticket or even my life.

So within a flat hierarchy or a corporate and rigid hierarchy, I feel this needs to be recognised.

I believe Seniority is when one is mature enough to know, that they are human and remembering;

Humans may forget something.
Humans can’t know everything.
Humans never survived by doing things alone!

A leader can only successfully lead if they listen to or tap into the team’s pain points, goals, strengths, weaknesses, and especially “what makes them happy”.

A team can only successfully deliver, if they respected each other, and acknowledge;

Everyone is trying their best.
Everyone is different.
Everyone’s knowledge is unique.
Everyone is responsible for their contribution.
Anyone can make mistakes.
Everyone can help when one makes a mistake.

So, Who exactly is “the team”?

  • Customers
  • Partners
  • Competitors
  • Suppliers or Vendors
  • All Staff
  • Other impacted parties.
  • Etc.

I feel it is less about catering to everyone, but more about knowing that the team is bigger than an organisational unit. So that, we naturally remember to consider these distant team members in our everyday decisions.

Whose Idea is the Best Solution?

Yesterday, I did a Service Design Bootcamp at General Assembly Melbourne, run by Jonathan Yeates, where a group of us were coming up with ideas to design a service with a human centred approach.

What was obvious was that no single idea was the best solution. The best solution was in fact when we combined and complimented. So the competitive mindset when seperated forced us to tap into our imagination better, but merging the ideas as a group was the best part.

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t get any thoughts such as “their ideas are better than mine”, or “I wish I thought of that”, which are attributable to the more socially established version of “competition”.

Fortunately, it occured to me that “my not so great ideas”, when mixed with other’s “great ideas”, in fact gave the best solution for the worst problems of the humans we are designing for..

– Nim –

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