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The Ability to Pitstop – Why it Matters & How to Develop It

A Pitstop will boost performance for the next few laps, but it is the habit of pit-stopping that enables teams to win race after race – to successfully deliver one critical project after project.  

Taking a pitstop or a series of pitstops is aimed at boosting the performance of key projects and teams.  However, the real long-term impact is realized in the progression to a new way of working that embeds greater speed, collaboration and agility.

Central to this more ‘pitstop-like’ way of working is an ability and a desire to more regularly and more effectively review and adjust:

  • the progress of key projects and priorities
  • how effectively people are working together

More frequent and more effective mid race adjustment of a key project or strategy boosts the prospect of its success. But the benefits can go much deeper – developing the habit of pit-stopping can increase the chance of success of all future projects.

The more people pause to reflect on what is working and what is not (incl. how effectively they are working together) the better they get at it.  This reflectivity – whether it is a full pitstop or just 10 minutes at the end of a team meeting – embeds an awareness of and sensitivity to the nature of effective collaboration as second nature. In short, people become more ‘collaboration-aware’.

When people are more ‘collaboration-aware’ they approach their work – whether it is a meeting, a task list or a project – in a more careful and deliberate manner.  They continually ask questions, such as:

  • Have we got the right people in the right roles?
  • Are we doing the right work?
  • Are we working (together) in the right way?
  • Are we getting the right result?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’ or ‘maybe not’, those involved will, as quickly as possible, adjust the approach. Afterall, there is no point in being more ‘collaboration-aware’ and doing nothing about it.

Why be more ‘collaboration-aware’? The primary motivation centers on the normal business goals of minimizing waste of the organization’s resources and maximizing returns to its shareholders. However, as people become more ‘collaboration-aware’ they also become more sensitive to the impact on their colleagues and themselves too. They become:

  • As conscious of wasting people’s time, energy and talent as they are of wasting the organization’s resources.
  • As conscious of maximizing the return to people (e.g. job satisfaction) as to the organization. They are increasingly sensitive to the need for people to feel:
    • that their contribution is valued
    • that they can give expression to their unique talents or skills, and
    • can further their own growth and all-round well-being.

So effective collaboration is about people as much as it is about performance.  It has a humanistic, as well as an economic dimension.  Teams that are more ‘collaboration-aware’ respect and value the contribution of all their members, they want to work together in a way that brings out the best in each other – that enables people to bring more of their full selves to their work – their unique talents and skills, that maximizes their performance potential (p2p metric) also.

‘…a new way of working that embeds greater speed, collaboration and agility’.

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