There is a difference between teaming and teamwork.

Q:  I have my clients and the folks I work with have their IMG_2661-2clients.  I get paid for what I do and the same is true for them.  So, why does our boss expect us to work as a team?

A.  That’s a very reasonable and practical question that I don’t think that I would have been able to address so clearly if I hadn’t seen three bartenders working seamlessly at the Jet Rock Café at Reagan National Airport. Bartenders? Yes, the criteria you listed is similar to the traditional role of the three barkeeps I observed:  Each has an area to tend, they have individual clients to cultivate and based on their individual efforts they earn a tip. However, what surprised me was the following:

  • They moved like the corps de ballet.  In the limited space behind the bar, their actions seemed to be orchestrated as they moved around each other with ease.
  • The hand-offs between the three women was seamless:  I was greeted by one bar keep who took my order, a different woman quickly brought my drink.  I took notice when—something different is going on here—a third woman delivered my food order.

Now that the three women had my attention I had to strike up a conversation by acknowledging how they were working together.  I asked:  How do you explain the fact that you work together so well?  The first answered:  I have worked here for 6 years and I really enjoy my job and the people who work here.  Another woman answered:  This is my second week on the job and Ann is doing a great job training me.  I am having fun.

My take away:  the three women were focused on teaming to deliver excellent and quick service. Makes sense given that they work at the “Jet Rock Café” and customers like me Jet rock bar_Reagan Natinalwant our food and drink delivered quickly so that we don’t have to gorge and gulp.

Questions to consider:

  • Does your organizations rate 100% in customer service?  Is there is a gap?
  • How will your clients/customers benefit if you shift from your individual results and deliver organizational excellence?
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