Get Your Team Pregnant: A Sideways Look At Success

RahulRahul Sethi is currently an associate with Training Sideways. In his 37 years on this planet he has donned many caps depending on the weather, fashion trends and his mood in general.

At times, he has chosen to not wear a cap and let the wind play with his hair.

So you’re the bright young thing that’s full of ideas. Confident that you’ll reach the corner office at mach speed, riding on their success. Hang on to your rockets, sonny boy! Ideas are just like sperm – millions of them bursting out in a creative orgasm; but most of them die within minutes! The success of an idea, the baby, is delivered when the sperm successfully impregnates the egg and the embryo is nurtured over time within the mother’s body – i.e., your team.

Naturally, the first thing to do then is to ensure that your team has the right capabilities, synergies and the attitude. In other words, a healthy body that can successfully bear your child. In the corporate world that would translate to ‘Team Building’ and ‘Capability Development’.

And of course, just as it’s absolutely immoral and in fact illegal to sexually force yourself upon someone, it is highly inappropriate to force yourself and your ideas upon your team. Instead, just as you would get to know your partner and hope to discover love, you must get your team to know you and each other and foster an environment of mutual trust, respect and liking. Doesn’t ‘Team Bonding’ ring a bell here?

For successful impregnation, you must ensure that the would-be-mother’s body overcomes its natural defence mechanism to accept an alien organism (the sperm) and adopt it as its own (the embryo). Much like the requirement of ‘Visioning and Alignment’ to help team-members understand and take ownership of the vision, mission and plan for your idea, project or organisation.

As the embryo grows, its survival depends on the various organs and systems in the body working in perfect harmony under the able supervision of the brain. In corporate spiel that would be ‘People Management & Leadership Development’.

Whether it’s just Morning Sickness or even sometimes a serious disorder, in every pregnancy, as in every project or organization, there will be times when the body experiences difficulties from internal complications or due to external influences. The gynecologist or doctor’s treatment in a pregnancy would find a parallel in the concepts of‘Conflict Management & Change Management’ in the corporate sphere.

In India especially, the support of the family (the larger organization) is a critical support-system to help the pregnant couple all along the way. That’s because the coming baby is as much a part of the family as each one of them. Your baby might turn out to be Einstein, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the family is dim-witted. Just as you wouldn’t alienate your larger family, don’t lose out on the support of the entire organization for your idea or project. Encourage ‘Collaboration and Breaking of Silos’ in the workplace.

The process of reproduction was designed by the biggest and best management institute of them all – Nature. Only natural then, is the application of these analogies to the art of management in the corporate sphere. So go ahead, get your team pregnant. And to ensure that you succeed, just look Sideways…