Learn how to time your contributions to a team, by knowing your strengths at each step in the process. It could be you excel at generating ideas, communicating with others, or getting things done.
- You might have certain abilities or skills that aren't needed all the time. For example, creative people are great at the start of a project, but the last thing you want is someone having more ideas just when you've nearly finished. Or even half-way through, when the plan is in full-swing. So ideally, that creative person would switch off their creativity once the plan has been agreed, and then use a different part of their skill set, maybe helping with the work of implementation or going into quality control mode.
So the idea is to know what your strengths are at all phases of a project. The main phases are as follows. The Direction-setting phase, when the best contributions are to suggest big, long-term goals, to set up processes and assign roles to people. Who's going to do what? How much planning time should we have? That kind of thing. Then there's the Planning phase, where the main tasks to be done are generating ideas, followed by assessing, and getting the ideas boiled down to one plan.
How can you contribute to this? Are you best at generating ideas, or best at evaluating them for how feasible they are? Then comes the Briefing Others phase, because not everyone was in on the planning. So everyone needs to know what the plan is. This might involve presenting, explaining one to one, checking that people are okay, and delegating out parts of the task. Then we come to the Action phase, where you carry out the plan. All the idea generation, et cetera is now behind us, and the roles in the team now are doing your share of the work, helping others, solving problems as you go along, making sure that quality is maintained, attention to detail, being a stayer when the work gets tough, and maybe providing some humor.
And then finally, we come to the Finishing of the project. This involves getting all the details finished off, making sure that every "i" is dotted, every "t" crossed, and then maybe organizing a review, where we learn from what happened, and document it for next time. So I want you to think. Which of the stages are you less naturally good at? And for these ones, could you maybe work out a role for yourself and therefore enable yourself to contribute better during that phase?
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- Getting the job done
- Dividing up the work
- Cultivating communication
- Handling conflict
- Delivering reliably
- Playing more than one role
- Using your strengths and dealing with your weaknesses