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Playing nice together.


“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime.”

- Babe Ruth


That is a wonderful quote from the Big Bambino. It holds true for all types of teams. Whether it’s a sports team, corporate teams or a medical team. How we work together matters in so many ways, some you may not realize until you find yourself scrambling to get things done alone.


I remember, and you may too, hearing my elementary school teachers shouting out across the playground “You kids play nice together!” Sometimes there was an “or else” attached to the end. Little did I know then that those five words would be so powerful and establish a foundation for what we crazy adults call collaboration.


We are meant to work together in some sort of choregraphed process. None of us are in it alone, life that is, which includes our work life too. Ask any successful person and they’ll tell you they didn’t achieve what they did alone. It took a team. One person may have had that million-dollar idea, but from there it took collaboration and for us to play nice together. That doesn’t mean there weren’t disagreements and temporary silent treatments. To have achieved that success, participating parties eventually had to come together, talk it out and respect one another’s opinion, then agree upon next steps to move forward.


Teamstage.com shared some great stats on this topic (Teamwork Statistics: Importance of Collaboration in 2023). One of them is that “99.1% of employees want to be part of an organization that nourishes honest communication.” Meanwhile, “only 5.9% of organizations are in the habit of communicating their goals on a daily basis.” A little bit of a disconnect there. Collaborative communication must feed from the top down and back up seamlessly.


As a professional After-Action Review Administrator, I have the honor of working with many people from different backgrounds, with different specialties and yes, different perspectives. Which I do enjoy. I feel I am always learning something new. With this comes the need to sometimes ask the questions no one wants to ask, the hard questions and “the why” to clarify mistakes or even poor planning. It’s not about finger pointing or putting anyone on the spot. I have an obligation to uncover “the why” for certain actions or the lack there of. That can make people uncomfortable, no matter how hard I try to make the AAR space one of respect, openness and safety.


99% of the time people are very open to sharing and happy to have me assist them in discovering the lessons learned. The other 1%, are often stuck in their ways, don’t see or understand the big picture and strategy to move forward. Sometimes this is due to the lack of communication within an organization. I have discovered that the 1% can be hesitant to be vulnerable, occasionally ego has put up a road block or fear of the unknown.


The old saying “you are only as strong as your weakest link.” Is legitimately true. Not saying that the 1% mentioned are our weak links, but their actions, lack of action and ego can be a weakness in our chain. For the organization to achieve real success each significant link has to be operating at full capacity and working together. I like helping to bridge that gap between the 99% and 1% or any parties that have different perspectives. It is a passion of mine.


“Employees who worked collaboratively were 64% more likely to stick to their assigned task than their solitary peers. In addition, people who engaged in collaboration at work also reported higher levels of engagement, higher success rates, and decreased fatigue levels.” Per an article on Zippia.com by E. Boskamp (2/2023). When we respectfully collaborate with one another in the work place we eliminate pointless gossip, complaints about who did or didn’t do what and most importantly we free our minds of diving into a rabbit hole of annoyance and anger.


This is why I love the AAR, it allows for all participants to have a voice and share their perspective, if they wish to do so, I never force anyone to talk. For all of us to play nice together we must understand one another’s perspective, understand each other’s why. We can all still have our own unique views and ides. However, we have reached, or better yet, we have achieved an open and respectful platform in which to build and grow upon. As adults, we have learned to play nice together. That is when the team comes into its own and begins to feed off one another and excel. We all know our roles and responsibilities and take ownership, pride in what we do and how it connects with our fellow team members down the hall, in the next building and around the world. Enjoy and be well.

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