Amplify Other Voices
The head of a small design consulting firm called me to talk about his team. They were a good group, he said, but they were having a few issues with the Controller. He was a staunch defender of the firm and a key person in making the place run, but the other members of the team found him tough to deal with. He caused a lot of conflict, and the team leader wasn't sure what to do about it. The good news was that he was willing to invest in making the team stronger.
As part of the process, we asked the members of the team to complete an assessment—one of the tools that uses colors to describe different styles.1 Every once in a while, the assessment report tells the entire story of a team. This was one of those times. Five members of the team (the ones who were consultants) clung to the right-hand side of the grid. They were the big-ideas people. And there, out in the wilderness on the bottom left corner of the grid, the home of the processes-minded, sat one lone dot. Guess who—the Controller.
This mismatch made the team dynamic really tense. They spent most of their time talking about inspiring, innovative programs that would differentiate their firm and provide the kinds of solutions that their clients needed. Unfortunately, they spent almost no time talking about the realities of the budget or the expectations of the parent company in Europe. They left those issues to the Controller to manage. The team had settled into a dangerous habit of pigeonholing ...