Building positive relationships between teams and individuals is an important part of building a world-class IT organization. You need to have a positive work environment. One where you are surrounded by other team members who share in a common goal of excellence and the greater good of the department and the company.
There are three rules I ask all of my team members to follow. They address the heart of many problems I see in cross-departmental and cross-team relationships. During each new hire orientation I explain these three rules and why I think they are important.
Never Say “It’s Not My Problem”
When someone approaches you with an issue that needs to be resolved, never say “It’s not my problem”. Even if the issue is not related to your work or your team, try to help out. Embrace the concept of “One Company, One Team”. Their problem is our problem and together we can solve it.
Some IT teams and departments wall themselves up in their own little worlds. If something is not part of their work, then want nothing to do with it. They are to concerned with their own career and image so they avoid lending a hand when issues arise outside of their own little world. They are short-sighted, self-serving and hopefully purged from the company before they cause damage.
If you can not help with the problem then try to find someone who can. If it means taking time away from your present task, go to your team leader or manager and explain the need for help. Cooperation between IT teams is essential in building a world-class IT organization. A problem for one, is a problem for all.
Never Say “It Can’t Be Done”
When someone approaches you with a task that sounds impossible, never say “It can’t be done”. Impossible tasks are done every day by people willing to find alternative methods of dealing with them. Team brainstorming is a good way to tackle a problem like this when no answer seems workable.
Problem-solving skills are among the most valued in IT. Seemingly insurmountable problems can be solved by looking at them from different angles. Difficult problems are often not solved by the first or second solutions. Two heads are better than one, and in some cases twenty are needed.
Team oriented approaches are the best approach to large problems. Break the problem up in to smaller tasks with one or two leaders overseeing the work. Crisis teams or A-Teams are useful in circumstances such as these. A dedicated group of your best talent, well skilled in many areas. Such teams can make miracles happen when others say it can not be done.
Never Say “I Don’t Care”
Those three little words speak volumes on the character of the person that says it. This person is interested solely in themselves and if an issue does not touch them, they could care less. Put the shoe on the other foot and this person will be running up and down the halls screaming for help.
The concept of One Company, One Team means we are all members of the same team. Every team member should care about a problem or issue. Our success is tied to the success of others. When one person or one team succeeds, we all do.
If you don’t care you should. Your deeds and your actions are what people will remember. If your answer is “I do not care”, they will never forget it. You will stamp yourself as a negative, self-serving individual and before long nobody will want to work with you.
A Positive Outlook Builds Strong Teams
These three rules all have the common theme of a positive outlook. When you or your team tackle and solve impossible tasks you build morale, you build a stronger team, you prepare them for even more challenging tasks that will come in the future.
You only need to look at history to find many examples of how a dedicated team of individuals banded together and overcame insurmountable odds. Great companies are built by great teams. Great teams are built by inspirational leadership.