Agility is Team Sport

What counts is the per­for­mance of the team. How can indi­vid­ual per­for­mance be assessed then? And should one do so at all?

Dr. Marcus Raitner

--

Those who mea­sure indi­vid­ual per­for­mance con­tri­bu­tions and dis­trib­ute vary­ing rewards depend­ing on them, not only receive demon­stra­bly poor­er results for any non-triv­ial task, but also dis­rupt the team struc­ture in par­tic­u­lar. Each team mem­ber is then pri­mar­i­ly con­cerned with his or her own area of respon­si­bil­i­ty. This loose group of mediocre soloists does how­ev­er not make a good orchestra.

Yes, but …

What about “low per­form­ers”? And what about key play­ers? How can the for­mer be pun­ished and the lat­ter reward­ed? The only cor­rect answer to this ques­tion was giv­en a long time ago by Dou­glas McGre­gor: Not at all or at least not for the pur­pose of motivation.

The answer to the ques­tion man­agers so often ask of behav­ioral sci­en­tists „How do you moti­vate peo­ple?” is, „You don’t.”

Dou­glas McGre­gor, 1966. Lead­er­ship and moti­va­tion: essays

Of course there will be dif­fer­ences in the team. Alone the skills and incli­na­tions of the mem­bers will dif­fer in an agile team. This inter­dis­ci­pli­nar­i­ty is an essen­tial prin­ci­ple of agili­ty. In a good team, every­one is impor­tant and every­one makes an impor­tant con­tri­bu­tion, but it can­not be com­pared to the con­tri­bu­tions of the others.

Yes, but what if the team does­n’t work so well? Sure: Not all mem­bers will always be able to deliv­er their best per­for­mance. We are all just human beings and have life cir­cum­stances that could inspire or bur­den us. Our day-to-day per­for­mance varies. How­ev­er, if it becomes appar­ent over a longer peri­od of time that peo­ple do not feel com­fort­able in a team and are unable to devel­op their poten­tial, the first thing to do is to find out why. Sim­ply diag­nos­ing and pun­ish­ing “under­per­for­mance” is about as use­ful as shout­ing at the stunt­ed toma­to in the gar­den and cut­ting back on the fertilizer.

--

--

Dr. Marcus Raitner

Agile by nature | Rebel without a pause | Working out loud