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Performance; what's important...yours or your team's?


What percentage of your workplace performance is based on YOUR technical ability, versus the output of your TEAM as a whole? Think about it...and put a number on it.


Teams are everywhere. Gone are the factory floors with a bunch of individuals doing manual labour; now, we need our teams to think, create, plan and innovate. And there aren't many vocations where you will spend your career working alone.


As a fighter pilot, there are very few single aircraft missions. Sometimes in training we will practice dogfighting alone, and at other times will fly as a single aircraft to practice some very simple air to ground attacks, but the real work of fighters is done in teams.


Fighter missions are incredibly complex. A typical mission is 'Offensive Counter Air' (OCA), where we will be tasked with flying an attack mission onto an enemy target. If the target is well defended with 'Surface to Air Missiles' (SAMs) and enemy fighters, this mission may involve 20 or 30 aircraft. The planning and coordination required is huge, and often very time compressed. There will be one fighter pilot designated as 'Mission Commander', and the successful outcome will largely be a result of his leadership, not his tactical proficiency in the jet.


Your workplace is also very complex...whether you are managing an engineering project, leading a startup or opening a restaurant. And, just like the Mission Commander, it is largely your ability to get 'the most' out of your team which will determine how successful 'you' are.


My current job as an airline pilot is the same. Ask 10 people on the street what a pilot does, and 10 of them will reply "A pilot flies an aeroplane." But, in reality, this is a TINY proportion of what creates a successful flight. As the captain, my job is to lead the team; 'to build and sustain an exceptional operating environment.'. I must own EVERYTHING in the operating environment for which I'm responsible...communications, fragile egos (including my own), technical standards, group behaviour, cultural frictions, goal setting, coaching, mentoring...etc, etc, etc. I spend far more time and energy managing these than manipulating the controls of the jet.


Often, we naturally think of our job in terms of technical work. Just look at LinkedIn job advertisements, or read the average CV. Technical skill, education and specific industry related experience still seem to be the focus. But I just don't think this is justified. It is teams which matter, not individuals, and therefore our focus should be on recruiting people with the ability to find synergy within teams.


Let's recognise where our workplace success comes from...teams, not individuals.







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