Friday, March 20, 2009

Working at Teamwork

On a fine Friday in Toronto, I wanted to discuss teamwork. Last night; my team The Steel Blades, won its first playoff game. The score was 2-1 but it was a game that exhibited a great need for teamwork to ultimately win. It is interesting for me to think that at the one moment of the game where we stopped playing like a team the other team was able to score on a breakaway, our teamwork had broken down. We were able to re-group and focus on the greater goal of the win rather than personal ambitions.
I work in teams all the time and I find it my most rewarding work and personal experiences. I think that being part of teams is critical for our success. I think of all the great teams I get to work with and each has its own dynamic and provide different value to me.

The IOUG is one of those great teams. We work with a great group of staff and volunteers. Each contributes a different component to the success of the user community. The volunteer Board provide strategic direction, as Mark Thorsby who advises the IOUG says, we are the front wheel of the bicycle and must steer the bike, the back wheel provides the power. This power for the IOUG comes from Carol McGury who provides great support and is a great advocate of the community. Carol along with the staff provides the IOUG with a great and powerful back wheel and are part of the greater IOUG team.

My company Thoughtcorp is another example of team work. We are a consulting company, but we work in a very cooperative way. We support each other and provide expertise in situations that complement each other’s skills. We work together on projects as well as on the growth of the company. They say there is no “I” in team, but I say that a team is a bunch of “I” each with their own skill which must be leveraged.

And finally how the IOUG and Oracle work together is another team example. We provide each other support to help each achieve our goals. I know that my discussions with Mark Townsend and Willie Hardie, who both a very senior and very smart people at Oracle in server technology, have worked with the IOUG to help to get out the word on COLLABORATE09 and the user community, to the greater customer base. So the next time you call support and they mention that a user group may provide you some benefits to learn more about Oracle, you will know that the IOUG and the Oracle teams worked together to evangelise the user community.

A team break down can happen quickly so you always need to be on your toes. You need to encourage communication and dialogue within the team. When people stop talking they tend to stop working as part of the team. Being part of a team is hard work, but is also the best way to ensure your success.

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