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Hot potato

The last 7 weeks have been a trip into client experience and culture.

One of the biggest levers I’ve been working on are the dynamics of a team.

I’m looking at dynamics through the lens that everyone enjoys their job, so that’s the pretext to making this work. So maybe I’m fast forwarding to the team, and I think it’s important to envision the team before we have one.

The best of teams are able to create an ecosystem of improvement and healthy competitive nature. Thinking of group dynamics a few characteristics are needed to be adaptable and thrive.

Team’s instill resilience, responsibility, belonging, improvement, and camaraderie. It’s no surprise when people team up they accomplish more than those alone.

Because there are many studies on how being on a sports team can improve one’s sense of self, let’s assume that’s the baseline and what happens when everyone is on the roster is on the same page.

It’s easy to use a sports team as a reference point. We can envision using a C-Suite team or associates on a sales floor. No matter where the team is oriented, it’s a group of people accomplishing a big goal where each person’s part makes up pieces of the puzzle.

What are the dynamics to expect from a team?

I’ve spoken about the importance of play before, and I think on any team in any industry leverages play as a way to:

  1. Enjoy the work

  2. Measure performance

  3. Improve performance

  4. Make adjustments

  5. Seek goals

  6. Find who plays which position best

This leads me to tag.

I loved playing tag. Even as a youngster, I remember the only dispute of the game was whether we were safe or not. This is important to note the game is easy to play. It’s iterative. The rules are simple.

Another note is that tag is primarily a solo game, everyone has “their game.” However if we work as a team, then the load of getting caught is shared by everyone.

The simpler the game, the better everyone becomes because everyone gets to understand their strengths and weaknesses in the game.

In tag, any combination of these will lead you to be a decent participant:

  1. Speed

  2. Jukes

  3. Vocal players looking out for each other

  4. Tag Teaming to disorient the people who are “it”

  5. Spreading out over the field of play

It’s been a while since I played, if you have additional tag moves, drop them in the comments below.

Tag is a solo game as much as it is a team game.

Whereas if you play hot potato, the objective is to throw the potato away. The goal is not to have ownership, the objective is to survive. This behavior is not uncommon in my agency/design world.

Hot potato originated from the 1800s in England where the potatoes came out of the oven and were too hot to handle, though, as a species, we love to play with fire.

The origin is simple enough, innocent enough — except when it isn’t in context of a hot lava shaped potato coming out of the oven.

My suggestion is, when you’re playing with your team — DO NOT drop it like it’s hot.

DO tag because “you’re it.”

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