I am passable at multi-tasking. Not bad, but definitely not as good as I would like to think. I can email and listen to teleconferences…but I can’t always answer questions when asked. I can talk and drive. But I can’t work and drive. I have become quite good at talking and driving as I spend a lot of time in cars. I even know how to program my cell phone so that I can call anyone at the push of a button.
I call people when I drive. I talk. Hands-free. Bluetooth with a headset that controls background noise and speaker volume. Impressive. I like my car but my phone doesn’t ‘connect’ to it. That would be better. But expensive.
If I need to work when I am driving I always stop. If I have to read slides. Or make a presentation. Or talk to someone I don’t know. I plan my drive to be stationary for that time. It works well. Although I always end up sitting in my car for privacy or for quiet.
I was driving on Friday after a full week in the UK. It was pouring with rain but I made it half way before my meeting started. I had to be stationary for the first half, but driving would be OK for the second. I even had time to get a coffee and stretch my legs – literally and metaphorically – before the meeting started.
It was an important meeting – an important team of which I am a member and for which I feel responsibility as well accountability. The first half was good. Several great discussions on which I could only agree with excellent comments made. Some intriguing data and some excellent discussions. I didn’t have to present but at least I felt present. I set off driving as we hit the scheduled break.
My plan was to listen to the second half. Some interesting topics were listed but I would be OK. The first was a review of a key project. I thought it would be interesting but I wouldn’t need to read the slides. How wrong I was. It was amazing. Spellbinding. So exciting to hear and so engaging to think about. I had to pull off at the next junction and stop to open the slides and participate.
The project had delivered in one year what most projects can only dream about delivering in two. That wasn’t quite the opening line in the presentation but wow! The opening lines were actually an interchange between the joint project leads. I knew instinctively we were about to hear something special. There was such as sense of partnership, of trust, respect, of enjoyment…a genuine sense of team.
The team referenced impact of technology, software and investment on the success of their project, but when I asked what they believed really made a difference the two leads were again as one. The team.
The key to their success was the team’s investment in each other. Not in ‘raft building team building’ exercises, but in working together to identify and collectively resolve their issues and opportunities. They had done more joint workshops in their first six months than most teams would do in six years. They had worked together through highest level project goals and philosophy right down to how they were going to succeed – together – at the level of the smallest detail.
It was an amazing story of an amazing team making amazing impact on a crucial project. I was, and am, in awe.
I needed to compose myself and re-focus after their session finished before I could start driving again…