SEAMWORK: Way Beyond Teamwork

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to develop more cohesiveness in your organization. Reading time: 4:22

             Your team is successful. You’re not. You’ve NOT been promoted. Now what?  Maybe you’ve been too busy patching a quilt rather than weaving a tapestry.

            weavePatterns1Leaders are weavers, focusing as much on the warp as the weft in their organizations, managing both vertically (warp) and horizontally (weft).

           They readily weave together a tapestry of relationships with other leaders –above, below and to the side — of them throughout the organization. Even those with no direct reporting relationship.

 Warp & Weft

            Yet too many would be leaders, focus primarily on their patch in the quilt of their organizations. They fail to manage vertically with as much expertise and comprehensive business acumen as they bring to their leading horizontally across their own patch.

          And the fallout is inevitable — an unraveling of their personal leadership.

         Veteran weavers will tell you that the vertical warp in the weaving process is hidden beneath the weft. However it is the vertical warp that provides the inner strength to the fabric and quite literally keeps the threads of the organization aligned.

        That’s why balancing both the warp/weft –managing up and down and sidewise in the organization –is the primary responsibility of the leader.

                 Leader Weavers realize that the fabric of any organization is most vulnerable on the seams– between their individual departments horizontally and vertically  in the organization.

       seams2 Their departments are interdependent just like the seams on a shirt. To work properly the collar  team and the shoulder team and the sleeve team all have to collaborate together. Especially at the seams.

      That’s why these Leaders Weavers take teamwork to the next level. They conduct Seamwork. They assure there are no dangling threads at the seams that can easily be pulled to destroy the organization or cause a major wrinkle.

       To reinforce Seamwork throughout the organization,  Leaders Weavers invite other team leaders to their staff meetings. They ask their advice and seek their help.

      Here are three other ideas to engage other leaders throughout the company vertically and horizontally.

 1. Relocate the proverbial water cooler.

      The internal grapevine has been fertilized for years near the water cooler that flows with the latest gossip. Consider converting your main reception desk into a free snack bar For customers. For employees. For management. To interact.

Create a Corporate Campfire

2. Create a Corporate Campfire.

      Place a coffee urn in the middle of your most populated work area (attracting workers from next floor up or down ) for a specific period each day and the coffee won’t be the only thing brewing. Workers in sight often give managers an insight. They offer employees projects that neither they nor their management had been considering them for. Out of sight, out of mind.


 3.  Sponsor a Soapbox.

    Many leading corporations sponsor Toastmasters Clubs.

    Participants learn much more than speaking skills. They learn about each other personally and professionally.

      Employees come from a variety of departments, cut across the seams of their own individual teams to come together every week to participate in a proven, worldwide program of systematic learning in organized thinking, active listening and confident speaking.

       They encourage each other to more fully, more openly express themselves. They help each other to uncover hidden talents and aspirations that could be turned into greater bottom line benefit to the company.

       Together these different employees from different departments become much like the different grapes –from different vineyards in a Dom Perignon bottle of champagne.

          They interact together in a second fermenting process. They mesh with each other in an engaging sense of energy. They catalyze each other with enriching sense of synergy.

        And they bring out the best in each other like the warp and weft of a well-woven tapestry.

     Today’s ImproveMINT

Focus on the seams to keep the fabric of your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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