A80pxtreebunch of us play the ukulele together occasionally (badly), and when I last had the wee instrument with me in the café a little boy called it a ‘nukulele’.

This is obviously a much better name, and it has stuck.

So I pass on some top team management tips from observing several (a dozen or so) nukists of different standards and temperaments ‘playing’ together this week…

  • Tempo: this is hard to see in action in a team meeting, but quickly obvious when trying to play the same song together. The group accelerates. Soon, everyone is trying to ‘keep up’ rather than ‘get it right’.
    Sound familiar?  We had to build a couple of pause points in to check we were still in time.
    It happens in meetings too. Build in review pauses.
  • Listening: a pure listening mode at work is hard. (As an American friend jokes – isn’t the opposite of talking, waiting?)
    When tackling a new piece of music, we felt our way through the different parts. So we had to listen to different sections, without playing, in order to understand what we was going on and how we all fitted in.
    It needs doing in meetings too. Listen – especially to different team sections with different situations and pressures. The opposite of talking is not waiting. Listen before assessing.
  • Bonding: keen to ‘get on’ we launched in. Know what happened? At the first error – induced pause, all that chattering catch –up that usually happens at the beginning broke out. And there were more boys than girls in the group, so we can’t look to a chattering gene. I’d love to do some proper research on this, but it seems as if this is a sort if ritual that can’t, and probably shouldn’t, be bypassed. There seems to be a necessary decompression – or recompression phase before some proper work and concentration can begin.  Start your team meeting with a check in.
  • Experimenting with roles: well, almost. All we did was move sections around a bit, trying to find where things worked best. I realized how completely that has fallen out of fashion in the office. In team meetings, change seats – it changes your view – between topics.
  • Share: I noticed that even though everyone had brought their music, it was an instinctive response to reach out and take the copies offered. Wasted paper you say? Possibly. But at an instinctive animal level, isn’t it another sharing and community –making impulse?

So although everyone is looking at their ‘phone or ipad at work, create some sort of sharing gesture or ritual – biscuits if that’s what’s available. I don’t know why it works, but it does.

We stumbled to the end of a couple of pieces with an enormous sense of achievement. Nuke fusion? A shared objective. Which is the biggest tip of all at work I guess.

A harmonious team….

Image of ukeleles on Penny |Hunt's management change blog

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