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Issue #48 - Vroom, Vroom Teaming: What is Your Cannonball Run?

Elizabeth M. Lembke - Chief Talent Navigator (HR Consultant)
Elizabeth M. Lembke - Chief Talent Navigator (HR Consultant)
When asked what, for me, great teaming looks like, my go-to answer is Cannonball Run. Yes, one of 1981’s most successful movies (with all of the unfortunate aspects that have not aged particularly well), with Burt Reynolds, Jackie Chan about an actual cross-country outlaw road race from Conneticut to California.
No, it is not due to Burt’s grinny swagger but rather based in the fact that the best teams function like they are on an exciting scavenger hunt.
Meaning: there is a clear goal of where they want to go - but the actual how they get there taps into ingenuity, connected thinking, and expertise of the group to deal with changes on the fly, leaning into learning, not getting mopey when things continue to go awry, taking the time to listen to one another, and stick together, even when times get tough or it seems improbable that the team will be successful.
Grit, resiliency, uncovering possibilities - and true flow - via fun and creativity in pivoting.
Very often, when folks are putting project teams together, the focus is often based in a resource question: 1. who is available and 2. who has the expertise, but too little focus is placed on “what can we accomplish together?”
When in fact successful collaboration is “… marked by common mental attitudes: widespread respect for colleagues’ contributions, openness to experimenting with others’ ideas, and sensitivity to how one’s actions may affect both colleagues’ work and the mission’s outcome” says behavioural science Professor and researcher Francesca Gino in HBR.
“What can we accomplish together” is the key question when it comes to uniting and joining up to foster positive and immediate support. A clear why and purpose is an extremely motivating factor in how the team is able to persevere, succeed, and achieve flow.
In these times of extreme and disruptive change, where we know we will never go back to what was - nor do many of us want to - there is also an awareness that, despite the myriad of scary, trying, and painful challenges we have had to face in 2020, there have been some upsides when it comes to teams coming and banding together spontaneously and wholeheartedly. Complacency and “business as usual” is not really an option anymore.
This year is seemlingly analogous to the quote:
Come on! 1000 miles on one wheel? We’re trying to win a race, not set a record! - Shaky Finch
Since the pandemic hit, there seems to be a sentiment to question things beyond the “normal boundary conditions” and ask - is there a different, more impactful and helpful way to go about this? Is what we are doing even fit for purpose? Who can effect real change? Who ought to be involved? What lies at the core of the job to be done?
The accountability of the individual to foster positive change and set egos aside is becoming more and more real as the months of 2020 continue to bring more surprises.
Along the lines of - if not me, then who, if not us, then who?
All around us, we are seeing folks - and ourselves - join up our forces analog to the Hastily Formed Networks (HFN) of emergency response.
“An HFN has five elements: it is (1) a network of people established rapidly (2) from different communities, (3) working together in a shared conversation space (4) in which they plan, commit to, and execute actions, to (5) fulfil a large, urgent mission.”
Folks are pitching in for emergency response in their communities, but also to foster and support beyond one’s community. Like pick-up teams at the park - only fostering a larger impact or aim.
Where are we seeing this?
We are seeing teaming in the communities coming together to deal with the wildfires that are ravaging the West Coast of the US, we are seeing this in how folks are coming together to restart school, we are seeing this in cross-boundary networks like the one I am involved in L&D Cares to throw a Career Growth Summit to improve the process of talent matching for all parties involved.
Big or small, impact at scale or on an individual level - the teaming is having great and positive effects around the world - at a time when the world needs it more than ever.
Grit, resiliency, uncovering potential and possibilities by tapping into the creative flow - in spite of challenges to persevere and come out even better on the other side. This is where the beauty of high performance teaming lies.
To quote Farrah Fawcett, aka the film’s Beauty,
“Throughout the journey of my life, I have maintained a strong faith in the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity. I deeply believe in one’s own positive will to overcome even the most daunting challenges.” – Farrah Fawcett
Therefore I ask you, what is your Cannonball Run? Where could a peer network ala a Hastily Formed Network help you positively affect change? Find your pick-up team or build your own, and rev’ those engines!

Let the Catalyst be You: The Chemistry is What Binds You Together! (Groan - sorry, I couldn't help it)
Let the Catalyst be You: The Chemistry is What Binds You Together! (Groan - sorry, I couldn't help it)
On grit, resiliency, flow and perserverence
Building a resilient workforce: 6 lessons we can learn from grocers | Axonify
Grit: A Complete Guide on How to Be More Mentally Tough
What is a creative "Flow State"? And how can I achieve it? - Idea to Value
Ten tips for facilitating emergent processes - Sonja Blignaut - Medium
The essence of resilient leadership: Business recovery from COVID-19 Building recovery on a foundation of trust
Supporting Real Teaming
Successful collaboration starts with eight simple practices
Spark Team Creativity by Embracing Uncertainty
Cracking the Code of Sustained Collaboration
Question: What are the positive pick-up teams you are in?
“Do not look at the job you have today - look at the potential for work you could have tomorrow”. It is along these lines that the L&D Cares Career Growth Summit evolved from a seed idea around how we can help folks do that, to involving the stakeholders (L&D professionals both jobseekers and not, Recruiters/Sourcers, HR Tech Vendors in Learning, Talent &HR, and professional organizations) to building the 3 day summit going on next week virtually. Where we will meet together with 65 incredible speakers, upwards of 300+ guests, and 100% in the spirit of what we can do to improve the experience of talent matching so that it is not a soul-sucking process but rather co-create a better path forward. To say I am humble-proud-excited is not doing the feeling justice! If you are in Learning, Talent Acquisition, or in HR Tech, and would like to join in on the fun, simply sign-up, it is free. Because “if you are going to be a bear, be a grizzly!”
If you have any questions, or wish to get involved with the incredible, L&D Cares team, let me know!
Thank you everyone! Be safe - be well - stay curious!
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Elizabeth M. Lembke - Chief Talent Navigator (HR Consultant)
Elizabeth M. Lembke - Chief Talent Navigator (HR Consultant) @elizabethlembke

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Elizabeth Lembke, Transforming Talent Consulting: and