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BUILDING TEAMS with Allen Fahden (Part 2 of 2) – A Balanced Team

Can you have the greatest group put together, and still not perform?  Karla and Allen discuss having a well-balanced team, and how disastrous that can be!

Listen to the podcast here:

BUILDING TEAMS – A Balanced Team with Allen Fahden

Karla Nelson:  And welcome to the People Catalysts Podcast, Allen.

Allen Fahden:  Good afternoon, or morning, or evening. Your choice.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah. Depending where you’re at. Right? Well, hey. You know what? The podcast has now been downloaded in, I mean, I don’t even know how many countries, but that whole map is lit up when we go back in and take a look at it, so thanks to all our listeners.

Allen Fahden:  It’s 5:00 somewhere.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah. There you go. So, this is part two of a two-part series that we’re … In the first podcast, in part one, we talked about building your team. Right? The solution is to have a balanced team when you’re building it. Everybody knows that, although we challenge some of the ways and the challenge of actually figuring out who do you need on your team to go to. Again, that was part one. Then in this series we are gonna talk about all the fun challenges that come when you have a balanced team, because it’s kind of a paradox. Right?

Allen Fahden:  It sure is.

Karla Nelson:  You want a balanced team, and you want all four core natures of work to show up, but then as soon as you have it, now you’ve got all these individuals who are completely different, so it’s really imperative that you use a method and keep everybody in their lanes, in as much as possible, because, by the way I’m a mover. Every once in a while, I have to do maker work, or I have to go find … I mean, there’s times you’re going to do things you don’t like. However, you never get anything done if you don’t have a process to implement after you’ve built your team. Right? I just love that, the paradox. So, you can also increase the potential for the … I’m even gonna say I’m gonna guarantee you’re gonna increase the potential for conflict. Don’t you think, Allen?

Allen Fahden:  Oh. Absolutely.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah. The focus is role management versus function management. Because the team is balanced, it will … You can share the story, in regard to a relay team here, but if you have a balanced team and you have a process, you are hands down going to kill the competition.

Allen Fahden:  Absolutely. Now, it’s really important to make sure that everybody is in the right position. For example, let’s just take this little metaphor of a track team. You know, there’s the 400-meter dash, which is one of those oval tracks. It’s one time around. Karla, do you have an idea what the world record is for the 400 meters?

Karla Nelson:  I know you’ve probably told me at least 150 times.

Allen Fahden:  A thousand times.

Karla Nelson:  But you know me. Numbers and I don’t …

Allen Fahden:  Yeah. Zoom.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah. Bye bye.

Allen Fahden:  So, it’s 43.19 seconds. Now, this is a tough race because you can’t sprint it. You don’t have enough I think it’s called ATP, you know, that initial spurt of energy. That’s usually only good for about 100 meters. So, now you’ve got 400 meters. How are you gonna do it? You can’t run full speed, and then if you just sort of slack off somebody’s gonna pass you up who wants it more, so a very difficult race. So, 43.19 seconds that’s the world record. Now, a mediocre high school relay team, notice the word relay team, will run that same distance, and it’s called in the Olympics a four by 100-meter relay, but it’s the exact same distance. They will run that same distance, four of them, in, oh, maybe two or three seconds faster. A mediocre high school team, two or three seconds faster than the world record for the individual.

Why is that…How could that be? One of the reasons that people always come up with is, well, you’re only running 100 meters. Well, that’s right. You can run full speed at 100 meters. Then you just hand the baton off to the next person, but there’s more to it than that. If, for example, I was a track coach and I was to say, “Okay. Anchor person …” That’s the person who runs the last leg of the relay race, the last 100 meters. They just grab that baton and sprint. So, if I were to say, “Okay. Anchor person, last person, change places with the starter person.” The first person, who hears the gun and takes off, what will happen to the time of the team?

Karla Nelson:  It’ll suffer, because there’s a reason you put them in that order, a very specific reason of what they’re best at.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah. Completely different set of strengths, completely different coordination. That person who’s starting the race has great reflexes. They can listen for a gun. They won’t scratch. They won’t start too slowly and put you behind to begin with, and they have to, after they hear the gun, they have to burst out of the blocks, straightening up on a curved piece of track, because that’s where the relay team starts, so very different from the last person. All they have to do is get a handoff of the baton and run.

Karla Nelson:  And run your booty off.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah. Exactly.

Karla Nelson:  Well, the other part of that, Allen, though is we’re talking mediocre high school team versus the best athletes-

Allen Fahden:  World class.

Karla Nelson:  … in the world. I mean, just that piece is incredible to me. By the way, 400 meters is not that far. Right? I mean, that is what makes it more challenging, but high school versus Olympics. I mean, it’s incredible. Actually, for any of the listeners, you can go to ThePeopleCatalysts.com. Then there is a white paper that you can download that breaks down the speed relay and how we utilize the WHO-DO. It’s a little bit more about just this individual’s strengths. Today, what we’re gonna talk about is then the challenge when you have all those strengths or all those core natures of work. I would say strength for athletes probably more than core nature of work, but when we’re talking about business, this is the part of the work…because remember the object, or the exercise is to get something done. All this conflict happens when…we have all sorts of wonderful buzz words for this conflict management and culture, employee engagement. And at the end of the day, its people are gridlocked, and they’re not having very much fun because they’re not getting the object of the exercise done.

Everybody wants to be a part of a winning team. Who the heck has ever said, “Nah… that’s not important. I don’t like being the winner”?

Allen Fahden:  I wanna be with the losers over on this side.

Karla Nelson:  And when you’re trying to get something done, the biggest divide in this process is…and we talked about this in so many ways. Typically, you hear it via how it affects the client. But, it’s early adopters and late adopters. So, for the ideation stage, every time the movers and shakers try to innovate. The provers and makers, they’re pushing back because again you’ve got early adopters, later adopters.

Then, when you move into implementation, the early adopters become the challenge because they don’t like to dive into the details. They like to stay…they like to go adopt something else or go do something else. Those two pull each other back and forth, and they have very unique core natures of work and that’s not even getting into the doing and the thinking.

Allen Fahden:  That’s right, so, this is a really important point. And that is that in each…and you can divide this up. We talked about it last podcast. That any project is ideation at the beginning and its implementation at the end. And each process requires a different strength to be the point guard, so to speak. And one of the reasons is that person is the one that moderates the two enemies. I’ll give you an example. In ideation…you have a shaker and a prover. The shaker says, “Hey, I’ve got an idea.”

And the prover says, “That won’t work.”

“Well, how ’bout this idea?”

“No, we’ve tried that before.”

And boom…launch, shoot down, launch, shoot down, launch, shoot down. So, you put a mover in between those. Now, two great things. One, is the mover has a great relationship with the shaker. They both want to do new things, they’re both early adopters. And the mover has an okay relationship with the prover. It’s sorta like, I understand you, you understand me. We both do different things. Let’s cooperate.

You’ve got that point guard. That mover in between the prover and the shaker. And that way using the WHO-DO Method, you can get to a well thought out, bullet-proofed, big idea in a very short period of time.

Now, the whole thing flip flops, and you go into implementation. Now, it’s all about getting the details right and getting a replicable thing that can make you money again and again and again, that you can depend on, requires a lot of detail. Then, you have the prover become the leader, the point guard of that team. Then you’ve got the prover moderating the antagonistic relationship between the mover and the maker. The mover says, “Let’s get this done. Come on, come on, come on.”

And the maker is saying, “Wait a minute, wait a minute. That’s not on my checklist. We’ve never done this before.”

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, and the opposite way, Allen. When there is a challenge that the prover, as they’re building it for the maker, share a little bit about how it goes the other way too. Where that mover still being the buffer between the two, but then the prover is still the point guard. Right? Because they’re the one that can get into the details.

Allen Fahden:  That’s right. Actually, the mover and the prover working together are the open gateway between early adopters and later adopters. Let’s say you’re in the middle of implementation and then something isn’t quite right. What happens is the maker goes to the prover, who the maker trusts and says, “Hey, this doesn’t quite fit, and I’m not getting the results we talked about.”

So, a.) the prover can solve it. But, if the prover can’t then the prover goes to the mover and says, “Hey, we’ve got a little hitch in this thing. Can you help?” And then maybe the mover can solve it. “Oh yeah, we just need to change that around. We didn’t quite get the concept right and so it’s more like this.”

Or if the mover can’t solve it, then it kicks all the way back to the shaker. “Give me some ideas to solve this problem. Give me some ideas to overcome this obstacle.” You’re always keeping people in the lane doing the parts they work and connecting them with the people whom they trust to do what is necessary in this next step.

Karla Nelson:  Absolutely.

Allen Fahden:  Who needs to be in the room? Well, it’s interesting. Not everybody. And that gives you a lot of latitude for a team.

There is a whole other thing about it…going back to the relay team for a second. Want a really slow time? Tie everybody’s legs together and have them all hold onto the same baton, fire the gun, and have them run the whole race.

Karla Nelson:  They have races like that. It’s called the…

Allen Fahden:  Three-legged race.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, the three-legged race.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, those are world class speed records, aren’t they? That’s what we do. We do three-legged races every day because everybody thinks just because I’m on the team, I have to take one for the team and be at every meeting all the time. Couldn’t be further from the truth.

Makers do not want to be in the ideation meetings because they instinctively see the ideas as a threat to the status quo. And conversely, when you’re in implementation. The shaker doesn’t want to be in the meeting because “Oh my god, is this boring? I’m just sitting here looking for something to do. Maybe I’ll just come up with six more ideas just to derail this whole project.”

Karla Nelson:  Yes, and the mover doesn’t really want to be in the room and honestly, the mover doesn’t have to the entire time, depending on what the object of the exercise is here. I’m saying, we’re starting to get into the details and we’re executing.

I use the example that the maker came back to the prover saying, “Hey, we’ve got this issue.” And then you still need the mover to be a part of the initial part of the meeting to keep them on track for strategy. They’re so focused on tactics and just execution that you have to remember, “What was the object of the exercise? What did we choose? What was the ultimate goal that we all had?” In a big picture standpoint. Because they get into the details, and if they have a secondary shaker core nature of work, guess what they’ll do? They’ll change it.

They’re not there to make sure that they are the balance between the strategy and the tactics. Then a lot of times, it gets derailed. Even though the mover is not…their highest and best use is not sitting there listening to details and they can’t stand it either. They just know that if it gets derailed, the re-work that has to be done is painful, so they’re willing to go through the pain.

What we do is we train internally with our team…we put it in writing. There’s a reason why people put their mission statement…not that I’m a big fan of mission statements…on the wall in writing…cause it’s in writing. And so now, they have that to go back to. To ensure as they’re tactically getting things accomplished, that they can look back and say, “Okay, it’s still in alignment with the big picture.” Because they get so, so focused on the details.

Allen Fahden:  And that’s enormously important because if somebody goes off and starts executing tactics that weren’t on the agreed upon strategy…and I’ve heard every possible reason. “Well, I know I agreed on this, but when I started designing it, it didn’t uphold the integrity of the triangle. So, I changed the concept to a pulpit integrity of the triangle.” No, go back and do what you agreed to do. And there is no part of any project management that I’ve ever seen that has a little button that says, “throw everything away and eat the cost of it because you just completely gone off track.”

Karla Nelson:  I like what you said. Understanding the gateway between the mover and the prover, both in ideation and implementation is critical. Because, remember, the movers and the shakers…here’s your natural starters. They like new things. They’re comfortable with it.

And then provers and makers are natural finishers. So, that is your critical handoff there. From one to the other, obviously. But, it’s also a misunderstood…if you don’t have the process and your team is balanced, that is a huge issue.

Just recently, we were working with a client. They wanted a whole bunch of information…well, they wanted a new technology to be rolled out amongst their entire team, and this is a huge team. What happened, the ideation, the shaker and the mover, went off and planned the whole thing out. It was beautiful, right? It actually, strategically, was awesome, but a year later, out of thousands and thousands of employees, a hundred of them started using it. And they weren’t even using it well. They thought they were.

That just goes to show you that it cost them millions of dollars, and it was simply because an ideation…you didn’t have that chasm of the prover. And guess how we solved it? We went back in, helped them create a strategic plan. And who was it that was the point guard the entire time? The technology person. But, guess what? That technology person…that implementation…kept on forgetting the strategy, the object of the exercise that when you’re creating this adoption, that it has to be simple. You can’t do clickity, click, click, click a million ways and have ninety percent of your team be movers and shakers, and all you did was talk about the benefits or the features…click, click, click…and five minutes in they’re kind of excited. Twenty-five minutes in of click, click, click, click, click…these people are sweating to death. And you wonder why they weren’t using it when the benefits are obvious. That was easy to see. Does anybody want to be twenty-five percent faster at what they do? Of course, they do!

The early adopters know that they need it and then they go and buy it and then the later adopters then get frustrated because they don’t mind the clickity click, but then again that is a big crux that you have to look at. And it’s difficult even knowing the WHO-DO Method. It’s nearly impossible when you’re running at it blind.

Allen Fahden:  This is all predictable. There is a hundred-and-ten years’ worth of research on diffusion of innovation, which shows there’s a predictable adoption pattern between early…and there is a great chasm…a great distance between early adopters and later adopters. All we’re doing is sophisticating something that happened a hundred years ago. If you want something that is just a simple way to view this. Think about this. The movers and shakers want the new idea because it gives a company competitive advantage. Both movers and shakers are all about that. That’s a big mission and it lets them do what they want to do, which is innovate, ideate. But, in contrast, the provers and makers, are not comfortable with the degree of change that is needed to implement an innovative idea. Think about that in terms of adopting new software and things like that. You’ll find that everybody has different strengths, but they are often in conflict with each other. Later adopters always say, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” The early adopters say, “Break it, then fix it our way.”

Karla Nelson:  Another part of looking at this is, when you look at function, which I talked about earlier. Function management versus real management, on a team that is balanced, but somebody has more power than the other one. That’s one of the things about the WHO-DO Method is nobody has more power, you use the process. What ends up happening is you have a CEO that is a shaker, that’s always willing to say “break it and then fix it our way.” Come up with a new idea. Again, their running home to mommy…is coming up with a new idea. Well, if you don’t hand off that power…in leadership because we’re all leaders…we need to do a podcast on that actually, Allen now that I think of it. We just lead at different times.

You have to be willing to give up the control at the time that the person that has that core-nature work is in their best. If a maker says, “Hey, the checklist doesn’t work.” But then the CEO happens to be a shaker, doesn’t have the time, energy, or whatever…doesn’t give them the time to go, “Look, I can’t do this because of X, Y, and Z.” Now, that maker is going back to a shaker, which is exactly what you don’t want to have happen. You want the maker to go to the prover and the prover to go back to the mover and then the mover goes to the shaker if necessary. Hopefully you can fix it and you don’t have to utilize everybody.

What happens is…that scenario…what does the CEO do? Has a meeting. Maker doesn’t want to even be in the meeting. Is just trying to point out this one thing that needs to get done because they want to go eat their checklist for breakfast. And this is what we call the sink or swim method.

That’s just rampant. Not so much in specific types or corporate…companies. Because it is so necessary that they have their checklist completely thought out. However, that’s not the case in most companies. What I’m trying to say is, without the method and a balanced team…. I like what you said earlier. The three-legged race. That just gives a great visual. Right? I mean, that’s what you do at harvest festivals and stuff like that. Where the one next to it is when you put the egg on it and run…the egg on the spoon.

Allen Fahden:  Right…blinding speed. You’re waddling. Slogging through the mud. That’s what we do when we’re working on our weakness, we’re slogging through the mud. Everybody’s gotta drag us along. Worse yet, if you’re not doing well, what do you do? You get stuck to your ideas because you’re not…everybody knows that you’re not contributing and so more conflict comes out of that. “I insist on this idea. It’s a great idea, no matter what you say.”

Karla Nelson:  That’s pretty critical there too. A challenge when you don’t use the method, and you have a balanced team…. that remember…only fifteen percent, even on that balanced team, is gonna say yes to an idea. Fifteen percent of the population. Obviously, if you’ve got four people there it’s twenty five percent. If you have a balanced team, if you have a mover.

Remember, you have to know who to go to just to even get the pump primed to start. Then, after that, you have to know who to go to to implement it so that you can take something from beginning to end. The client I was just talking about a moment ago, they couldn’t get this done in a year. Actually, I think it was longer than that, it might have been a year and a half. With people that don’t know their industry, that never looked at any of the software. Our team got it done in 9 hours of training. We did it for one of them to use as an example. That’s just the power…and it’s not because, “well, everybody is so great.” It’s because there is a method, there’s a process. I love it when people go, “Oh wow! You are so talented…How’d you get to do things in business”…whatever their level is…CEO or public speaking or whatever. You hear it everywhere. I’m sure you’ve said it to several people. There’s this one little word that people forget. Training. They stick us in school for eighteen years. Then, it’s like they never even train…give you a method that’s simple. “Get something done!” It’s just amazing.

There’re some models out there, but for the most part, it’s about education and not training. Training is more critical than education will ever be.

Allen Fahden:  Absolutely, and Deming the quality guy who is the guy that got Japan out of the ashes after World War 2 and launched the whole quality movement worldwide. He said that ninety-four percent of failure is not people failure, it’s process failure. And that’s the whole problem with teams.

You struggle to get all these people together, but you don’t have a process for doing that, so you get the wrong people together. Then you struggle to make the thing work, and everybody argues and fights and shoots each other’s ideas down. That’s process failure ’cause that’s a process failure when there is no process.

Karla Nelson:  That’s why seventy percent of people hate their jobs. And worldwide, it’s eighty-nine percent of people go to work every day loathing. This is not dislike. This is hate. If you actually include the dislikes, it’s a lot higher. How sad is that? That’s obviously why we use the WHO-DO Method and we really want to bring it to the masses and help them get both sides moving ahead and aligned around a new idea. Get your entire team working together.

Without it, you get stuck, and there’s amazing projects that have never gotten done, never seen the light of day…think about it even if it’s utilized for something amazing like curing cancer or…that’s better than one of the clients that is finding oil, even though you can get rich. There’re so many ways that you can utilize the WHO-DO Method. I’d love to say that it’s easy, it’s not complicated, but at the same time, it takes…we are who we are, and we’ve been like that our whole life with our core-nature works. Sometimes it can be like turning the tide if you don’t have the training involved, so you can see what’s happening, know who’s on your team, and when you have a balanced team allow each of the core-natures of work to own their space.

Cause what has happened…I believe in most of corporate America, Allen you can chime in here if you want to…is that everybody gets brow beaten for what they aren’t, and then…honestly, that’s why we call them the movers and shakers of the world. They get the easier part of the pie. The later adopters get seen as nay-sayers, never have anything unique to bring to the table, or the meeting or never say anything in a meeting. That’s quite unfair because we need you all. We just need everybody at different times.

Allen Fahden:  It’s one of my favorite cartoons, shows a fish struggling to climb a tree. And it says, “Why do you criticize a fish for its inability to climb a tree?”

Karla Nelson:  Yep, and Einstein has a great quote on that too. It’s awesome. If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will go on its entire life thinking it’s stupid.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, there you go.

Karla Nelson:  So, to learn a little bit more in depth on the WHO-DO Method, we have recorded a podcast series…imagine us, record a series, Allen…and it’s episodes 30 to 38 and it’s called, “Me, We, Us, All.” It talks about the dynamics of two of these core-natures of strength and a group and then a larger group and then a team. Like if you are at a larger corporation. It will get you some really good specific ideas in regard to each core-nature of work so you can also be three to eight times faster.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, that is if…sometimes it is hard to say three to eight times faster because we’d say, “Well, how long did it take you before?” And then they would say, “I don’t know, we’ve never gotten this far before.”

Karla Nelson:  That has actually happened many times. We start at a baseline from that obviously, but if you look at us face-to-face…idea…it never ever gets done. “What’s that number?”

Allen Fahden:  What’s three times faster than never?

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, exactly. And I think zero times whatever is zero, so I don’t know how you do that math. That’s for another episode I’m sure.

Well, thank you again Allen, for taking the time. And we’re wrapping up this two-part series of how to design the right team.