Shake It Up, Baby

Ah, the comfort of hanging out with people who think the way you do. There’s nothing like it, is there? Especially those people who can read your mind, finishing your sentences for you. Those are the ones you want on your team.

Or do you?

Travis and Terry Hanson are a father-son rally team. And they’re good.  They currently lead the Rally-America Super Production Class.  Last weekend, son and driver Travis read his co-driver dad’s mind. The result wasn’t what anyone expected, and it teaches us something important we can put to use when building teams in our businesses.

Travis and Terry Hanson's Car

Travis and Terry Hanson's Car

Flying down the road at 80 miles per hour, Travis did not interpret his dad’s call of a tightening road around a blind corner. Suddenly, the pair ran out of road and crashed off the side ending their rally.

Travis’s Knower/Judger knew what Terry wanted to tell him without Terry having to say it. Unfortunately, the Knower/Judger was wrong.

Opposites Communicate

Like everyone else, drivers prefer co-drivers they know well. They’re comfortable together and trust each other.

But while trust is a huge asset in a car going 105 mph through the national forests of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the data tells us it’s not as important as having accurate communications. If the driver and I are peas from the same pod and the driver can finish my sentences, what if he finishes that sentence with something I wasn’t going to say? Maybe he’ll think that the road is going to open up around that blind corner, and he’ll mash the throttle only to discover that the road actually tightened.

One of the most successful co-drivers in the US today is Christine “Chrissie” Beavis. In most instances, the car with Chrissie aboard will finish on the podium. Why? Because she’s a talented co-driver who does not assume clear communication. She works hard at being clear. She co-drives for multiple talented drivers who are forced to listen and hear what she says as they don’t know what she’s going to say next.

Mix Up Your Teams

If the people in your company have been there for a long time or tend to be alike, they may know all there is to know about each other and about how you do business. But like Terry and Travis, they don’t really know, do they? They’re operating out of their Knower/Judgers, probably not communicating accurately, and missing countless opportunities because of their tainted knowledge.

Bringing in an outside consultant can mix up your team and help them move into Learner/Researcher mode once again. Suddenly, everyone begins stating what’s on their minds rather than assuming the rest of the team is clairvoyant. They start seeing new ways of doing things and ideas flow much more freely.

Who can you introduce to your decision-making team that you’ve avoided because they “don’t fit”? How can you inject a fresh perspective? Actively create diversity in your company, community, or activities and enjoy the results.

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