My sister-in-law is the hostess with the most-est when it comes to our annual Thanksgiving dinners. Actually, I really need to give my brother-in-law credit, as he's often the grocery shopper and chef. She is the mistress of the decor, so the two of them make a perfect pair. But that's for a different post. They are so good, in fact, that we are often left wondering how we can contribute. Since the rest of the us don't want to feel like ungracious guests, we usually offer to bring token foods such as an appetizer or dessert. However, the past two years have taught us there is just as much value in coordination and communication as there is in giving.
Two years ago, everyone decided to bring dessert...without sharing this decision with everyone else. Hey, I'm not one to complain when a meal's desserts outnumber the mains, but the visual of five (yes, FIVE) pumpkin pies on the table highlighted the absurdity of the situation. You would think we would have learned by the time Thanksgiving rolled around last year. We learned. We just learned the wrong lesson. The lesson we took away--don't bring pumpkin pie because everyone else is going to bring pumpkin pie. That was the lesson we took away, anyway. Well, that was also the lesson everyone else took away. So you can probably guess what happened. Last year's Thanksgiving featured a delicious meal, but left everyone with only memories of the pile of pies and our sweet teeth unfulfilled.
So how does this relate to business? Think about the last time your team made a mistake or something didn't go well. Did you talk about it? Did you diagnose what happened? Did you discuss what needs to happen the next time you encounter the same situation (In our case, coordinating and communicating who will be bringing what the next time)? Or did you just take it for granted that everyone recognized the mistake and knows what to do next time? If your team continues to have too many pies or none at all, perhaps it's time to discuss, come to a consensus, and coordinate.
Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian readers! May you get just enough pie.