Teamwork and collaboration are essential and at the same time can be difficult. Teams often consist of a variety of conflicting personalities and styles. Getting to a point in which a team can collaborate and work in harmony can be a difficult task for a leader to achieve and takes time.
Steve Jobs often talked about the power of collaboration. He often talked about the collaborative nature of Apple. Apple was about teams not committees. It was organised much like a startup albeit a very big one, to keep the ideas flowing. Teams at the top met regularly to share what they were doing and this filtered down throughout the company. They didn’t just meet though, they got together to make amazing stuff happen and trust each other to get in with it.
He used to tell the story of a widowed man, he got to know, in his eighties, who lived up the street from him when he was a young boy.
One day the older man said to him, “come on into my garage, I want to show you something.” He pulled out a dusty and old rock tumbler that consisted of a motor and a coffee can with a little band between them, Jobs recollected.
He then invited him to the backyard where they collected some very regular and old ugly rocks. They put them in a can with a little bit of liquid and some grit powder. The old man then closed the can, turned the motor on and said, “come back tomorrow.”
Jobs remembered the can making a big racket as the stones went around in the can.
He came back the next day and when they opened the can and took out the rocks they were amazingly beautiful and polished. He states, “The same common stones that had gone in, through rubbing against each other like this (clapping his hands), creating a little bit of friction, creating a little bit of noise, had come out these beautiful polished rocks.” Teams, he states, are like these stones.
Individually we can be fairly normal, ordinary and even a bit rough. But through the process of teamwork we can end up in a very different state.
Jobs states that teams consisting of incredibly talented people who are passionate and are working hard towards something often times bump up against each other, argue, sometimes fight and make some noise. By working together they polish one another and their ideas and in the process create beautiful stones.
I love this metaphor. Leading ladies is about harnessing the power of an all female team to make amazing stuff happen. To build up enough trust to allow bumping up against one another and passionately disagree on occasion? Then to support cascading this out into their respective businesses too.
Embracing the process of “tumbling stones” creates more efficiency, better ideas, better problem solving and ultimately better teamwork. What’s not to love. For more on Leading ladies please feel free to get in touch
Shine bright x