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Committed Teams by Derek Newberry, Madeline Boyer, Mario Moussa

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Chapter 2Check: What You Don't Know Is Probably Hurting You

What does Shakespeare have to teach the business world?”

The professor pondered the question. Hedging, he noted that he was not a businessperson himself, but after thinking a moment he added: “I find that reading Shakespeare is like overhearing yourself.” He paused to think again, and then he elaborated to the interviewer from the Harvard Business Review: “Your reader might reflect how often she herself is conscious of the will to change after she has the surprise of overhearing herself.”

The professor was the literary critic and MacArthur Prize winner Harold Bloom,1 who teaches at Yale. HBR wanted to know why Bill Gates and other business luminaries should be reading the great works of literature. How would it help them run their companies and manage teams? Bloom's answer underscored the importance of reflection in adjusting habits of thought and action.

For HPTs, reflection is the core activity in the second step of the 3×3: checking on alignment. Teams often underperform because people fall out of sync with one another and their environment. The result: lack of follow-through on commitments, or the goals, roles, and norms that drive team performance. HPTs are conscious of the stresses and strains that lead to misalignment, course-correcting in response to changing circumstances.

Making commitments and course-correcting. Simple? Far from it. Course-correcting is much easier said than done: the course that you are ...

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