I want to use the extraordinary victory of the Toronto Raptors this past summer as a cautionary tale to managers — and employees, for that matter. Every workplace, for a time, may seem stable. Teams are in place, the players are known and everyone has their assigned tasks. When those teams gel it can create amazing results, as it did against the Golden State Warriors.
Sometimes, after those tasks are done, players disperse and we are forced to play with new teammates. It’s not easy, and it starts processes from scratch, but it can be done. Our job and your job, is to embrace change. Change is the only constant, said the Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus.
Leaders need to learn not only the business but also the strengths, weaknesses and expectations of employees and colleagues. You will be grappling with a new situation and trying to understand the tasks and problems while assessing the organization and its requirements. Because you are learning, you may find yourself making decisions slowly and laboriously, focusing on short-range issues. When unmanaged, these transitions can result in role ambiguity, reduced communication and jockeying for position. Failure to recognize and deal with the complexities of a transition can lead to lower performance for an entire work group.
With fall in our sights it’s time to re-evaluate, shake up the teams a little, and embrace the change and challenges of the new cycle. Whether it is a situation that needs immediate attention or one that can allow for some time, put your employees first, and remember it’s better to over-communicate than under-communicate. It won’t be easy, and you may even get push-back, but who knows, that new team may just eke out another victory.