I know a Turtle who is a new hire at his office. He is an engineer and seems like a really good guy. VERY YOUNG. (If you are not familiar with Turtles, Lions, Monkeys and Camels and how they affect you and your staff, see the great book “Make a Difference” by Dr. Larry Little)
One of the things about turtles I have noticed is, they are great thinkers. They go off and think about a problem, and come up with the most elegant and full-fledged solutions you have ever seen!
The hard part of a turtle is, they do not seek other’s inputs, and as such, often have critical flaws in their understanding of the world. At times, they reach really flawed conclusions.
To help my new Engineer with this issue, I want him to reach out to the rest of the staff before thinking, to add data to the pot, and then use his gifts for thinking. Given enough data, Turtles really are special in their thinking ability.
I instructed him that it is his responsibility to gather around him, a team, for every project or assignment or task. He is to do this both at work and in his life in general.
Each team should have a Vision component, a Financial component, a Relational component, and an Operational Component.
At the corporate level, these would be a CEO, CFO, VP Sales, and a COO. In a smaller team, they might be a Supervisor, a purchasing guy, a Salesperson (or an HR person or an Internal Communications officer) and engineering or technical people who have done this type of project before.
The important idea here is, it is his job to pull these together. Some team members will come only for a moment. (here is your assignment and what it should look like when you are finished). Some will move in and out of the project (mentors, engineers who have done it before), some will add pieces to the project (let’s have a kick-off meeting with key stakeholders), some will help the project expand by using the available funds better (if I purchase this used, we will have enough money to add that software you wanted).
But lacking the team, the Turtle will accept the assignment, imagine in his mind what it should be, and then complete the project, and then come back and find out that, though it is successfully pulled together, it is completely wrong for the situation, or cost, or even the operation it was needed for.
While I was instructing him, I realized that I need to do this at every level in my own life, as well. Draw together teams to successfully pull off projects.
Need to make financial changes at home? What will my team be? Me, my spouse, a financial planner, a friend or counselor to help with external impact.
Need to put in a new set of servers at the office? Who will be my team? The visionary (me) the financial (purchaser or accounting) the social (marketing could help me advertise this within the company) operations (a second engineer who has put this type server in before, or this type hardware, or even a Service Manager who can help me gage business impact of the migration.
In every scenario, I need to be looking around for those 4 components to make problems into team solutions. In truth, every one of the personality types needs the team for different reasons.
- The Monkey needs the focus of the team.
- The Lion needs the bandwidth of the team.
- The Camel needs the vision of the team.
- The Turtle needs additional data from the team.
Sometimes the team members will be only involved for a few seconds.
Other times they will be needed the entire project.
But in each, we connect with our other teammates, and in each case, we make ourselves stronger, the project better, and our resulting execution shines.