Too much dip! Where’s the casserole?Reading Time: 3 minutes
What do you do when a collaboration or team effort is imbalanced?
This is the last installment of my July “food for thought” series and I’ve been thinking about the parallels between business interactions and potluck meals. (Yes…I am running out of clever analogies, so I have to begin a new theme.)
“Bring whatever you want!” is a concept that doesn’t work particularly well in either life or business. Sprinkling a bag of onion soup mix into a bowl of sour cream requires almost no labor or imagination. It’s an easy assignment for a time-pressed or recipe-challenged guest. However, if all 20 of your party guests brought dip, you’d all wind up starving, cranky, and probably really thirsty. (Plus, no one brought the chips, so you’d have to eat it with a spoon…ewww!)
A smart and facile host or business leader figures out needs, talents, and assignments in advance and makes sure the meal is balanced and filling (or the project gets done well). Teams, if left to their own decision-making, will often choose what’s easiest for the individual or what task fits well into his/her comfort zone.
I’ve sometimes seen work teams on “Top Chef” get sent to the chopping block because the contestant who plaintively cries, “I don’t know how to make pastry!” gets assigned to dessert duty. No one jumps in to help, the dessert sucks, and the team is toast.
Identifying talent gaps and coming up with the solutions is the responsibility of the head chef. The role is tough and unpleasant at times, especially when projects are time-sensitive.
As we think about what’s on our business plates in the months ahead, we need to make sure that we don’t end up with a dip-fest. Be clear with assignments and get to know each person’s talents. Leave enough time for training if possible. You’ll end up with a better (and more strategic) potluck.
|How to delegate in business. And here’s what new team leaders should do, according to the Harvard Business Review.
|There’s an app for that! (Team collaboration that is.) Here are a few of them.
|Is all of this getting to heavy for you? Here’s more about pot lucks, literallly.
|And, just in case you’re still thinking about dip, here are 22 recipes.