Team Leadership — Maximizing Potential

PODCAST | With Guest Andy Kaufman | 2 May 2018

Transcript

Narrator

The future of project management is changing fast. On Projectified with PMI, we'll help you stay ahead of the trends as we talk about what that means for the industry. And for everyone involved.

Stephen W. Maye

I'm Stephen W. Maye, for Projectified With PMI. For an easy way to stay up to date on Projectified with PMI, go to iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, and PMI.org/podcast. In this episode, we discuss team leadership with speaker, author and executive coach, Andy Kaufman. Andy outlines what makes a team. He defines the mission of team leadership and argues a compelling case for the surprising role of challenge and risk in bringing out the best in the teams you lead. Andy I have been looking forward to having this conversation with you uh, I've had the opportunity to talk with you a little bit outside of uh today's podcast, but having you here, and having you face to face, is a uh special treat. So thanks for being a part of it.

Andy Kaufman

Well thanks Stephen, I'm really looking forward to the discussion.

Stephen W. Maye

You have a special emphasis in your work. On teams, on team effectiveness, on leadership.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah.

Stephen W. Maye

And we'll get into a little more about uh, what you mean by that.

Andy Kaufman

Uh huh.

Stephen W. Maye

And I don't know if there's a topic that is more valuable and more appropriate to people who make their livings and make their lives, around leading and participating in, uh major projects.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah.

Stephen W. Maye

When I think about the role that projects play, in modern business, it is in many ways the life plug of those businesses.

Andy Kaufman

Right.

Stephen W. Maye

You know you think about the fact that people are constantly saying, you know, the world is changing, business is constantly changing, well those changes all happen somehow in the context of projects.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah.

Stephen W. Maye

Overstating it?

Andy Kaufman

No, no, no, no.

Stephen W. Maye

Okay.

Andy Kaufman

No and uh, and so associate that with, is with teams.

Stephen W. Maye

Right.

Andy Kaufman

But I, I can't tell you a number of times, I'll [LAUGHS] be working on something and say, now you need to pass that by your team.

Stephen W. Maye

Right.

Andy Kaufman

And the person's like what the hell are you talking about. I'm the team. [LAUGHS]

Stephen W. Maye

Right.

Andy Kaufman

You know, you know like [LAUGHS].

Stephen W. Maye

They're looking, they're kinda looking behind them like who is it you think is back here?

Andy Kaufman

But, but the truth is, it is a collection of [UNSURE OF WORD] it is effectively.

Stephen W. Maye

Right.

Andy Kaufman

We have to get work done, projects we get work done through people. So.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah, well, well I think in the same way that sometimes people don't think of themselves as by career as a project manager but you look at what they're doing and you say, I don't care what you call yourself, you are managing projects. Or you are managing a project. I think in the same way, whether or not there's a charter that has a list of names on page two, under the heading team.

Andy Kaufman

Right [LAUGHS].

Stephen W. Maye

You know, you look around and you say, these are the people you're doing this with.

Andy Kaufman

Uh huh.

Stephen W. Maye

They may or may not be committed to it but that's the team that you're working with. So.

Andy Kaufman

Absolutely.

Stephen W. Maye

So I think that fits in your.

Andy Kaufman

Uh huh totally. Absolutely.

Stephen W. Maye

Broad, broad definition. Okay.

Andy Kaufman

Absolutely.

Stephen W. Maye

Alright. So first let's jump right in when, when you talk about leadership.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah.

Stephen W. Maye

And a special emphasis for you, what, what, what's in there? How big is that basket, what do you mean by leadership?

Andy Kaufman

Right yeah, it's a great question. So I've had the opportunity to interview a number of different people like John Connor from Harvard and uh I've may not get it word perfect but his definition is, they're, uh when we're doing leadership if we articulate, the vision, so we define that, we align people with it, we inspire them, despite obstacles. So that's a, that's a pretty standard, there's a place we need to go, and we need to get aligned you know people aligned there. Uh I've had uh Jim [Couses] on our podcast twice, he and his writing partner have sold millions of copies of the leadership challenge. And he says it is slightly different, it's, he goes leadership is a relationship between those who aspire to lead and those who choose to follow. Which I think is really good definition. In that, some people say, well I want that role Stephen, because I'll get a raise. [LAUGHS].

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah. Right.

Andy Kaufman

It's, it's, they, they aspire for a title, or they aspire for a salary increase, but they don't aspire to lead.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah, right.

Andy Kaufman

And, and, and then that second part of it, they choose to follow, which is important part. Because sometimes people think well I got the title, I don't care if it's project manager, I don't care what it is, if I've got the title, I'm the boss, but people, you could argue in, in many respects, everyone, everyone is leading a team, they're leading a team of volunteer employees. I mean they're volunteering their effort, they're volunteering, so when I'm talking about leadership I, I'm, it's, it's the broadest sense of on a personal basis, what, uh, where do I aspire and how, who are, who are my, been asked to, to, to take this team and will, do they want to follow, will they choose to follow me? And not because necessarily I'm even the boss, maybe it's I'm trying to influence a stakeholder. Uh, uh but I want them to follow with the idea.

Stephen W. Maye

Right.

Andy Kaufman

And a, you can be on those definitions, uh there's this guy named Justin Menkes wrote a book uh, Better Under Pressure. It's, it's actually my favourite definition of leadership, it is, maximising potential.

Stephen W. Maye

Hmm.

Andy Kaufman

And he goes, it's maximising potential, in ourselves, and in the people that we lead. And what I love about that one is, it, it, I think too often what we think is, Stephen when you run your projects, when I'm running my projects, whoever's listening to us, they're running their projects, we think our job is to hit a date, to deliver, but if we also load in the fact that it's to deliver results but it's to maximise their potential. And though it's not politically correct to say this, and please understand what I'm saying, not everyone has the same potential, they do as a human for sure, but some people don't, they want to stay technical. They don't wanna go into management, they don't wanna be in, you know, their, their potential, so it's, for every person around us, what can we do to maximise their potential? As we go about delivering and, that, that definition has served me well and am I maximising my potential?

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah, yeah.

Andy Kaufman

And then, the people around.

Stephen W. Maye

Now I love that, I think, I think it places a very high bar.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah, right.

Stephen W. Maye

I mean I love, I love the idea of it but, but when you think about, the idea that I'm not just leading to achieve a particular defined objective.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah.

Stephen W. Maye

But to, to increase and maximise the potential of the people around me, that's a, that's a different task.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah, right.

Stephen W. Maye

You know, maybe it's, it contains the first task, but there's another really big one added to it. That responsibility to, sort of own the development and the uh, effectiveness of those around us.

Andy Kaufman

It's powerful. And you can maybe even, if it maybe stretch it a little bit further that, much of what agile is, is maximising the potential of the value we can deliver? So this, it's, it's maybe somewhat related, how do we maximise the value of what we can get out of this project? How do we maximise the value out of the people around us, how do we, how do we maximise the value that we could provide. If we said you know what? Uh I wanted to go to that conference that Stephen's at right now, but I just didn't take the time. They're not maximising their potential potentially. You know, it's like investing in their PMI chapter.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah, yeah.

Andy Kaufman

And going to those meetings and.

Stephen W. Maye

Right.

Andy Kaufman

Working but so, it's, I, I found it to be a good guiding principle. Are you and I, are we maximising the potential of the people around us?

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah.

Andy Kaufman

Ourselves?

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah, that's powerful. I want to get back to something you said a couple of minutes ago, you were talking about this, this difference between those who uh aspire to lead.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah.

Stephen W. Maye

And those who really are aspiring to what they believe are the fruits of having been in leadership.

Andy Kaufman

Right [LAUGHS]. Right.

Stephen W. Maye

And so let me ask you, if, if the motivation is different, so there are those that truly aspire to lead, and those who uh decide to follow, and then you've got those who are really motivated to what they perceive as leadership roles, because they believe they have the fruits of that on the other side.

Andy Kaufman

Uh huh.

Stephen W. Maye

Does it matter? Does it matter? What's the difference?

Andy Kaufman

Yeah. So I, I've had over 250 coaching clients, and this has only happened once. But this person I was working with said, my boss, they, they sit at their cubicle, they sit on their desk, they don't, they, they don't make decisions. They, they'll, they just you know when we need something done, they'll, they'll be like oh well what do you guys think? And they, they don't, they don't lead. They, and, and uh, at one point this person said I asked my boss like, don't you think you ought to make this call? And he goes, I don't wanna make this sort of call. You know, I don't want, I don't want to do this, and so, there's a, does it matter? Yeah he would say, it, it just, it it slowed everything down, things didn't get decided, people were unmotivated, another client he worked at, a place where the, VP was like six months from retirement?

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah.

Andy Kaufman

Didn't wanna make any, any decisions, because, I don't want to screw it up. And yeah too often people think, well it's, it's just a small circle that's gonna be impacted by this lack of leadership, but really you look at those two examples, there's this ripple effect, of impact. From apathy, to entropy, you know it just slows things down, thinks break down, we don't innovate because of it so, I, I you know, I don't want to overstate it, but I, I think there's a way you could say that everything that we're working on, rises and falls on leadership.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah.

Andy Kaufman

And it does mean just on one person, but even a shared leadership, that we're all willing to say hey I'm willing to maximise my potential, I'm willing to, to grow and to learn from this, it, it, where are we going, what are roles of responsibility [LAUGHS] that's just like basic, blocking and tackling from project major.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah, yeah. So I want to come back of course to the leadership topic but before we do, I want to connect it over to the teams, topic.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah, right.

Stephen W. Maye

The team's concept.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah.

Stephen W. Maye

So you do a lot of work around team effectiveness, is, so define it. Define what you mean by teams.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah, right.

Stephen W. Maye

And then tell me is that changing?

Andy Kaufman

Right.

Stephen W. Maye

Is what, what we thought of as a team, yesterday is that different from what it is tomorrow, uh or are the teams the same as you know, building the pyramids, or you know, going, going to Mars in a few years?

Andy Kaufman

So uh I've had the opportunity to speak on every continent except Antarctica, I haven't worked on any uh clients there yet, but I was over in Kenya and I asked somebody about, tell me about your soccer team. And they're like, a lot of townspeople, they can't win a game. And it, it, that's a picture for the fact that a team is not just a collection of individuals, because you might even have strong individuals, but there's something about, it's more than just a group of individuals, even if there's talent there, there's something about that team, on mission together. Okay. And so I, I'm sure they're quite uh, more brilliant academic definitions of it but the thing I'm looking for is we're a team, who, who even if we're not on, in the [UNSURE OF WORD] a team, if we are the collection of individuals but we are on mission. And we are working together towards that same goal.

Stephen W. Maye

How do you identify it? So you show up at a place, you're gonna have the opportunity to do some work, with leaders or a key leader. With his or her team, what is the ear mark you look for to tell you whether or not that team is on mission?

Andy Kaufman

Yeah, so uh, Patrick [Lencioni] he's got a really good model, I mean there's plenty of models so it's, it's as good as any, and at the base of his team model, is trust. [LAUGHS] Okay so. I'm not gonna say this happens on a regular basis but just often enough. Where I'll tell you Stephen, you walk in, and it's like a fog. It, it, it's, it's uh, people, you can just tell that there's a finger pointing culture, and people are all looking around, their shoulder and it seems like they're always covering their back side and so, so trust at the basis of, does it peak uh [Lencioni] says, our people willing to be vulnerable with each other?

Stephen W. Maye

Right.

Andy Kaufman

And so you can tell that in a meeting. Uh is everything like agreeing, agreeing, agreeing, yeah, everything's fine. On schedule.

Stephen W. Maye

Right.

Andy Kaufman

Or is there somebody, can somebody uh say you know what? Like in a daily stand up can they go, you know, I'm struggling with this. And I'm struggling with that yesterday, I need some help. That's a pretty good sign for a team.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah.

Andy Kaufman

You know uh, he puts conflict right on top of that, is, is there artificial harmony? So, uh, uh a way that I measure that one is, when a subject comes up, does everyone look at the boss first to see, how to answer? Uh does, if the boss says something are people willing to be a bit of Devil's advocate so to speak, would they go well, Stephen I, I don't know if I agree with you on that. You know like, or, or, or what about this, as the academics call it, cognitive conflict versus affective. Cognitive is, it's, it's conflict. But it's, about, it's trying to move the subject forward, it's trying to get to a better solution and, and one of the things I work with teams on, [UNSURE OF WORD] Stephen is if they don't have cognitive conflict, that's not a good sign [LAUGHS].

Stephen W. Maye

Right.

Andy Kaufman

It's not a good sign.

Stephen W. Maye

Right, right.

Andy Kaufman

People are, maybe it's a sign they don't care. So that's one of the little things I'm taking a pulse on the team of, can, is it safe, to bring up conjuring opinions or do you kind of get looked at like dude, you're not really a team player here you know.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah.

Andy Kaufman

That happens with risk sometimes.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah.

Andy Kaufman

So there's conflict, there's uh commitment, feign, [feigned beign], so I'll look for that, do people just go, yeah I can hit that on Friday Stephen. But it's like, everyone knows, that they're not going to hit it. By Friday. So those are just be, a couple of examples of, uh and that's directly from [Lencioni's] uh model there, the, the kind of the bottom levels. He is more on top of that but, accountability, and results and things like that but usually, usually. Well first of all, usually I don't get called if everything's going perfect anyways [LAUGHS]. It does make my job a little easier.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah. Right exactly.

Andy Kaufman

But uh, I'll, I'll look for that trust thing and, and uh, you know it's a Stephen [Covey] line, I think is one of the best. That you develop trust by being trustworthy.

Stephen W. Maye

Let me pause on that for a second.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah.

Stephen W. Maye

Because again, this is something that I've been paying a lot of attention to. And, and talking with clients about working with clients on, where's this coming from? Where is this trust, this trust issue coming from, because I think it really is. I don't think.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah, yeah.

Stephen W. Maye

It's just because you and I go to places where disruptive things are happening.

Andy Kaufman

Uh huh.

Stephen W. Maye

I think there's an issue.

Andy Kaufman

Oh sure.

Stephen W. Maye

So where is it coming from?

Andy Kaufman

Yeah, so, uh, we just give it to you in a story. There's a guy named Keith Murnigham who wrote a book called uh, Do Nothing. Is the title of it. And his point is not that you do nothing.

Stephen W. Maye

Are they taking applications?

Andy Kaufman

Right, exactly [LAUGHS] right exactly. That's the joke right? But he, but he goes, the higher you get up in an organisation, it should be perceived you're doing nothing. Now once again people go oh I know exactly it's like that, because, it's not that they're doing nothing, they're doing nothing in the day to day of today. They're looking further down the road, it's the premise of his book. Leaders need to look further down the road. One of the messages in the book, is you and I need to trust people more than they've earned.

Stephen W. Maye

Hmm.

Andy Kaufman

And so I'll bring that up in like a keener version and I'll say alright, anybody have trust issues here? Anybody struggle with the fact, that he says we're supposed to trust people more than they've earned and everyone's like, yeah! I'll say why? And the pattern, is that people say this, they go, oh my name's of it Stephen. And if they drop the ball and my name's on it I get burned and you don't have to work too long before that's gonna happen and so as soon as you get, as soon as someone drops the ball, and my name is on it, and I look bad, and I take the hit for it, and so I think there are a lot of people, most organisations are pretty lean and I'm not talking philosophy I'm just talking just like staffing.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah so the skeleton crew staff.

Andy Kaufman

Right exactly, yeah and so it's the, listen, if I trust people more than they've earned, uh in fact his, his [murnion's] point I think would be, you have to because we're so, skeleton. You have to trust people more than they've earned, or you won't ever go home at night or you'll just be stressed out and so, you have, and to be fair to, uh [murnion] if someone's earned a two, they don't say, give the person a ten. But if they are two, give them a four. And so that's some, sometimes the way we'll try to talk about it of, can you trust them a little bit more but I think a lot of times people feel like, you know, there are too many bulls eyes to go around and I don't want that bulls eye on me.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah.

Andy Kaufman

And if I trust somebody else, I'm gonna look bad and I'll take the hit. And I am not willing to do it.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah. I uh, I served a client a large, old, company about 100 years old.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah, yeah.

Stephen W. Maye

Large, wealthy company.

Andy Kaufman

A lot of history.

Stephen W. Maye

And yeah a lot of history and you, you started realising fairly soon, that that there were so many signs, of that lack of trust. That it could kind of go down the checklist that you offered earlier and it was interesting, one of the things, one of the, the earmarks that began to emerge, is that if you provided any kind of message that was tough to hear, tough for a senior, a senior person senior executive here, the tendency was to respond with a kind of offence. Like you have, you have offended me. They may not use those terms, but it was that you have offended me. And I thought that's an interesting kind of coping mechanism where.

Andy Kaufman

Wow. That's a great sign.

Stephen W. Maye

It wasn't just someone was, an external consultant, but they couldn't say tough things to each other either.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah. That's an artificial harmony.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah, yeah.

Andy Kaufman

Because the, yeah, uh [LAUGHS] somebody told me in his company, it's one of those companies and this might have been the true of your place that you're talking about, uh he, they have generally speaking a no lay off policy.

Stephen W. Maye

Hmm.

Andy Kaufman

And so once you're there, you're kind of there for life.

Stephen W. Maye

Uh huh.

Andy Kaufman

Which you'd think would be a really good thing, but one of the interesting dysfunctions he said, is that if you tick somebody off in year one, you're with them for the next three decades [LAUGHS]. So, so it turns into this, you got to play nice nice.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah.

Andy Kaufman

And, and I think although.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah we're sort of all on the same life raft here.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah and I don't think he said it this way but I think that offence of like how dare you? I mean you're, you're just trying to throw me under the bus here you know?

Stephen W. Maye

Right. Right. Interesting.

Andy Kaufman

Interesting.

Stephen W. Maye

Interesting. So again, going back to the teams concept.

Andy Kaufman

Uh huh.

Stephen W. Maye

You've done uh a lot of work around and you've, you've talked a lot about and helped a lot of organisations, around team alignment.

Andy Kaufman

Hmm.

Stephen W. Maye

What have you learned about team alignment? If you're gonna give me the, if you're gonna give me the two minutes, you know Stephen here's how to get smart on team alignment, where do I star? What's most important?

Andy Kaufman

Yeah, the, I guess, the only thing is as I get older I have less satisfaction for simple answers to complex problems. [LAUGHS] So but but you know what I'm saying?

Stephen W. Maye

Well that's you know, that's a reflection of my incredible youth.

Andy Kaufman

Or, well, no, but no, for example, so uh, the simple answer is, we have to have a firm understanding of what we as project managers would say the charter sort of stuff.

Stephen W. Maye

Uh huh.

Andy Kaufman

What's the business case for you know, it's, it's the, equivalent of we're taking that hill and the why, if people don't know the why, had the opportunity to uh Robert [UNSURE OF NAME] the foremost researcher in writer on influence, and he's like, the word because, is the most influential word in the English language. If people don't know the because, if they don't know the why are why are we doing this, it's, it's difficult to kind of get alignment and uh, and so at, at the high level I can't get anywhere with alignment if, if we don't know that. But the, the more complex answer is, how culture just factors I know the work you've done, you could do the whole episode on just how culture affects things like this, but to get a team to be aligned without understanding the culture, had the opportunity to interview uh Ed Shine, the MIT fellow who coined the term corporate culture, and after I interview him, I uh within less than a month, I [LAUGHS] was at a client and uh COO goes, Andy I want you help us uh, change the culture here [LAUGHS] and so, I call Ed. I'm like, so Ed, a company wants me to help change the culture what do I do? And Ed must be in his 90s now, it was like talking to Yoda, I mean it was unbelievable.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah, right.

Andy Kaufman

And uh, Ed goes, run [LAUGHS]. He goes, you can't do it. And so, his, his point is, without, you can't do it from the outside. Anyway, his, his point was and there may even be exceptions to what he's saying but his point is, if they're not willing to do it, internally, uh you've, you've made a wonderful living doing that. Helping people, kind of think through and how do you change and do that. But his point is, that, uh alignment without understanding the culture of the organisation, and the history and the backstory, and the attitudes and behaviours that it's, it's much more difficult so, I like to say that I never knew more about having kids than before, I never more about child raising than before I had kids. Right.

Stephen W. Maye

Right [LAUGHS].

Andy Kaufman

I was an expert, until I had the kids, and so.

Stephen W. Maye

Right.

Andy Kaufman

As much as I love working with teams and as much as uh they're really good established models, it's always this trying to fight against my hesitant, trying to fight against my jumping to conclusions about what it takes for this team, to get alignment, that I really have to understand the culture around it.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah.

Andy Kaufman

I don't need to understand the back story or the history or the sponsorship, the competing priorities and all the other stuff so.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah. So let's apply all of this thinking to something that we know is a huge topic in project management and, and not only for project management professionals, but for people that recognise projects are an integral part of moving their businesses forward.

Andy Kaufman

Uh huh.

Stephen W. Maye

Which is the application of, of agile approaches.

Andy Kaufman

Uh huh.

Stephen W. Maye

Agile methods, agile techniques, agile mindsets.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah.

Stephen W. Maye

One of the things that we hear about are self directed, self led, self organising, teams.

Andy Kaufman

Uh huh.

Stephen W. Maye

Where does leadership fit into this emerging model?

Andy Kaufman

So one of the many thing I love about the agile movement, is uh a, an aversion to dogma. So uh I would say that it's gonna depend on the culture of that organisation so the more bureaucratic organisations I work with? To say that it's a self organising team, or a self management or self led team, they, they would just be like [LAUGHS] that makes for great copies, sell lots of books, but there's no way that's gonna work here. It just, culturally, it's just there's no way. Uh something I learned from that discussion from Ed Shine was uh a formula for culture A plus B equals C. Attitudes, plus behaviour, equals culture. A plus B equals C. And so if take that, what are the attitudes about leadership? Too many people think leadership is a role or a title so then we have to kind of say alright well, let's not call it self led teams or you know self organising or helping people see, their role. But their attitudes and their behaviours too many of the bigger organisations their attitudes and behaviours about this is it's all title, it's all heirarchy, it's all where you are in the work chart. So it, I, I, think this is a uh, it's aspirational and it's good. And if you can get a team and I've, I, I, I've had a couple over the years that I would say truly were self led, where even though I was in a position as a supervisory sort of role, I didn't have to say, you need to work late tonight Stephen I didn't have to say you know get this, you know hit this date they were just so bought in. And I'm telling you [LAUGHS] to be on a team like that is a whole different way of working. I mean it, it so much more can be done. But that's not how most organisations uh have hired, it's not how they've uh, it's not how HR groups think, you know, they, they, they think of career ladders and uh, it's, it's, it's gonna, take a while to make that shift. So uh aspiration which doesn't mean it's impossible because it is happening. It's just not as much as I think we'd like to think, but to move that direction, I think it's a good idea. And the thing about you know when it comes to motivation, motivation theory, research on this is pretty clear, you can't motivate someone into being, you, you can't force someone into being motivated. Right? You can't say we are now self organising and we will all be motivated and we will all you know, you know you can't force it, you have to set the conditions under which people are willing to do it. And so, regardless of what our role is, what can I do to set the conditions in which people will be motivated. And often I find that's some version of clarity. Why are we doing this, where are we going, why are you on the team, uh what are, what's our version of these processes? And, and so, I would say there is so much good in the agile movement, that people shouldn't have to feel like our teams have to be perfect there right away. But if we can move towards, maximising their potential. Of saying listen, you know I know you're, you're think yourself of a QA person, but the truth is, because if you tested so many bad user interfaces [LAUGHS] you could help us with the user interface design. You know you don't have to sit and just this straightjacket of a particular role and move them towards kind of a broader uh, uh ability to deliver value. Quite frankly I mean like I work with organisations as big as the UN, as small as, you know small manufacturing firms, and if, if I went to [LAUGHS] the team at the UN and said you need to be a self organising team, you know they'd be like that's not in our employee manual. And it's not, that is not part of our attitude or behaviour.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah.

Andy Kaufman

That's just not it.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah, yeah. So what's the theory? If we say it's aspirational, so we don't have a lot of really strong functioning models to look at.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah.

Stephen W. Maye

Is the theory that the, that someone leadership is no longer needed or is the theory that leadership is a function, gets dispersed across, it doesn't different people or.

Andy Kaufman

Right.

Stephen W. Maye

What happens to the.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah, right.

Stephen W. Maye

Leadership in the, in the aspirational model.

Andy Kaufman

Absolutely. So uh, I know some of our agile listeners are just itching right now, they're like, we do have a self organising team, we have it. So I want to clear, it does happen. It does happen. But uh, I will say, because it's just the organisations I intersect with across continents, that's not the model yet, but it's moving that way. But there is a book called uh, extraordinary groups I think is the name of it? And this is what they said. Extraordinary groups, one of their things [NOISE] they had a bunch of different aspects of it, extraordinary groups, but one of them, this is how they said it Stephen they said, shared leadership.

Stephen W. Maye

Hmm.

Andy Kaufman

So, it wasn't necessarily what we were saying, project management is, strong sponsorship, it wasn't that. Because that kind fo implies hierarchy. But it was shared leadership and I think Justin Menkes uh maximising potential model could be there. You know of as a team, our, our we as a team, maximising our potential? Like is uh, could, could our velocity be increased? You know? That might be an example, we, we can maximise that, and, and are we, uh carrying the load appropriately and you, you have to be willing to have a team of people that are willing to look at it and go you know what? I think we can do better. I, I don't remember who it was Stephen but, it was a very depressing, I think it was, actually it was a weird title, the book was something like, Why Contented Cows Give Better Milk or something like that. It was about, it was about employee engagement, that guy's from Wisconsin, you know so. But, but he, he talked about employee engagement and it was, the number of people he had and I don't remember the number someone said, that we're doing just enough work in organisations to not get fired. Was scary high. And so, that's not gonna cut it. For these self organising teams. And so this has implications on who we hire, expectations set when we on board people, how we model it, uh how we reward people, so it's it's when I say aspirational, I don't mean impossible. What I'm saying is, it's aspirational in that let's set the bar there, and but let's not assume it's just gonna happen. You know what can we do to set the conditions in which, and probably the single biggest thing I've seen in the uh, research on this, is, some tide and meaning. There's some, there's some tide of people see, that there, it's, it's bigger than just you know like uh when financial services company guy said, meaning in my job? All we do is make rich people richer. [LAUGHS] He goes I don't see any meaning in that. But we talked about well you make other people in your company's job easier. And how do you do that?

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah, yeah.

Andy Kaufman

And so, so, you know something about this is the why and uh, Adam Grant I've had him twice in the podcast and he said, he said, if you can get somebody from benefits from the team's work, but they don't typically get a line of sight to that person? So whoever, whoever benefits from your work, get that person in front of your team, and get them to say, you know Stephen, I've listened to your podcast now I've listened to a bunch of episodes, you have helped me Stephen, become a better project manager. What, what's that gonna do to you?

Stephen W. Maye

Right.

Andy Kaufman

So, so it's much more [UNSURE OF WORD]. So if we can get somebody in front of our team, you know that, that could may be be something where people say wow, what we're doing here really makes a difference.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah. You mentioned Patrick Lencioni earlier, and, and what you just described there reminded me of something he covered in his book, Three Signs of a Miserable Job. And of course.

Andy Kaufman

I don't know that book.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah, I thought it was quite good, but he uh, number of views together to write it but he, you know what he's really describing there when he talks about the three signs of a miserable job, you can kind of turn the whole thing around and look at, three things that have to be true for a job to be sticky and satisfying and so forth. And one of those things and I'm sure I won't say it exactly as he did, but. One of those things is that, you must know every day, to whom your job makes a difference or whose life you make work.

Andy Kaufman

That's good.

Stephen W. Maye

Through the work that you do.

Andy Kaufman

Yeah.

Stephen W. Maye

So whether you're an, an executive assistant that makes that CEO's life work.

Andy Kaufman

Right.

Stephen W. Maye

Or whether yours happens to be an end customer, consumer, whose life you make work.

Andy Kaufman

Right.

Stephen W. Maye

That's part of what you have to understand.

Andy Kaufman

That's good.

Stephen W. Maye

And I hear that reflected in that.

Andy Kaufman

Absolutely.

Stephen W. Maye

In what you're describing.

Andy Kaufman

It's even more powerful than just saying know who your customer is. The way you said it was so much even more practical.

Stephen W. Maye

Well, there you go. Patrick Lencioni. 

Andy Kaufman

There you go [LAUGHS]. He's worried now man.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah [LAUGHS]. Listen I know we're going to, we're gonna run out of time, you're gonna dash out of here in a few minutes, but another thing I wanted to visit, is you have talked about, I know you've given a lot of thought to, how effective teams are constructed. You know there's a selection component, there's a development conto, component, there's an alignment component, there are skills and mind sets, team members need there are skills and mindsets that leaders need, where does the hiring process come into this?

Andy Kaufman

Yeah.

Stephen W. Maye

When we have the opportunity and maybe sometimes we do but we don't. Recognise. How important is hiring for team effectiveness?

Andy Kaufman

Well you know that's a, that's a great question there Stephen because uh, there's uh some interesting research by Bob Sutton that talks about the impact of one bad apple. Okay. So if someone googled Wall Street Journal, uh Bob Sutton, one bad apple they'd get the article. And one of the things he talks about, he, he actually breaks bad apple into like a good academic will be to what does it mean to be, he calls them jerks, and slackers. And he has a, definition behind what those are. But just one, and I, I believe the number just one on a team, drops the team performance I think it was, 40%.

Stephen W. Maye

Hmm.

Andy Kaufman

One, it was like 35, 40% something like that. Just one person on the team, and a slacker was a withholder of effort, and a jerk was something like violators of social norms or something like that.

Stephen W. Maye

Right.

Andy Kaufman

Just one person, like that. Dropped the, dropped the performance of the team. It, think about that, you're losing two days a week. Out of the team performance, because that one person, so you bring up a great point of the how we hire, and really thinking through, I mean the, the research on hiring effects in this, like, as far interviewing questions, we stink at.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah.

Andy Kaufman

Just generally speaking and we just, all kinds of bias, there's all kinds of crazy stuff in there, but so, so organisations are trying to mitigate that in interesting different ways, but. Hiring and then, one of the things he says in that article, is, the importance of the second decision. Which is, if for some reason best of intentions, we hired somebody that's just not working out, or they're that problem person on the team, the second decision what do we do there? And I, I've been significantly impacted by uh, Dr Henry Cloud, he's got this statement, he says, you get what you tolerate. And there's a lot of teams that are tolerating, that person, that is not following what we're trying to do with this transformation or they're not you know, sure, we're supposed to go up to this scrum board and figure out, what in the back log, which would be the best for me to do, or whatever and this person always the easiest one, or milks it you know and it's, so they're not really stepping up to the challenge, you get what you tolerate. I, I was heavily impacted by a guy uh, David [McClone] Harvard researcher. No longer alive, but he goes, uh, we're most motivated if we only have a 50 to 70% likelihood of success.

Stephen W. Maye

Wow.

Andy Kaufman

Think about that. Because most of us, right, we [UNSURE OF WORD] 100% success before we take any job, new role, or whatever, he goes we're most motivated if we're only 50, 70% likelihood of success. So the way I've, how that's helped me there Stephen, is we tolerate those people, on a team, that aren't carrying their own. But too often we don't challenge them. They're, they're. They're not challenged. And so, you know, if, if, if the person, if you've got a person whoever's listening, if you've got a person on your team, that's not carrying their weight, guess why they're not carrying their weight? You're tolerating it. And so what do you need to do to challenge them, give them more than what we've been giving them. Because what we do is we end up taking advantage of the people that are like, the nice people, because they'll just take it and they'll get overwhelmed so, I don't know. There's, there's uh, there's a lot to chew on with that 50 to 70% likelihood of success thing.

Stephen W. Maye

Yeah, yeah.

Andy Kaufman

Because that goes for us, not just other people. And my standing around in the margins, because I don't have 100% likelihood of success, it might have been holding back on going off and getting a PMI-ACP, because well what if I don't pass it? The PMP was hard enough, or whatever. And am I holding back because I want plausible deniability, if that project goes south I had nothing to do with it. [LAUGHS]. You know.

Stephen W. Maye

Right.

Andy Kaufman

Go all in. Yeah. 50 to 70% likelihood of success, gets more motivating.

Stephen W. Maye

Andy it has been a pleasure. I could do this for hours.

Andy Kaufman

Oh man. Thank you Stephen, it's a real honor to be on your podcast, thank you.

Stephen W. Maye

Well, look forward to doing it again. For an easy way to stay up to date on Projectified with PMI, go to iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music and PMI.org/podcast.

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