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Wholesome Organisations Remove Work Ego

This blog was inspired by a conversation with Danielle Garratt.

We explored how we can work more closely with cross-functional teams who may or may not be sharing collective goals. This is a key starting point. Organisations who fail to share collective goals and a vision of working together are always going to have a steep hill to climb when it comes to sharing what’s important and the key day to day priorities.

So often I have seen significant improvements in cross team working when there is an agreement by all parties to work towards a common objective. Once that is set as a desired outcome then everyone has a consistent point to aim for and in many ways this sets an appropriate context into which day to day priorities can be set.

Without this, what’s the alternative? Typically what happens is that everyone reverts to their comfort zone. They know what they enjoy working on and what they are good at and so more often than not, will start to prioritise those things ahead of what’s most important. This is because it feels good, comfortable and more achievable.

With a common objective we are often forced out of our comfort zone because many of the tasks and interactions required to complete the common goal are beyond what would normally be expected of us. But this can be a good thing; a very good thing.

It requires us to consider our work ego. You know what I mean. Work ego is that perspective we take that we kid ourselves that we are different in work to how we are outside of work. We create a false persona and use this to control, influence and communicate in ways that are less than natural to us and in fact this whole approach can be counter-productive.

Far better, surely, to know that we have a work ego and then share with colleagues and those in the ‘other’ teams, how this makes us behave and feel. Openness and honesty will immediately begin to break down those barriers, more often than not, created by our work egos in the first place.

As we demonstrate authenticity, honesty and truth, we begin to invite the same back to us from others. You know the saying, “treat others how you would like to be treated yourself”? This is why.

As soon as we begin to do this the barriers come down and the opportunity for closer working presents itself. Imagine if you could share what you believe to be the strengths you bring to the cross function working relationship as well as the things you most enjoy? Then ask the other parties to share their strengths and what they most enjoy? Do you see complimentary skills and do you begin to fill the gaps in understanding from both perspectives? You probably will. After all, the reason you are already operating in different functions or specialisms, is because you are all subtly different anyway.

So what better than working to collective strengths, with openness and a shared goal. That has to feel good? For everyone’s benefit.

Try it, and do let me know how it goes.

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