Eric Ries
once said: “If you don’t know your customer – you don’t know what quality
means!”

I cannot
agree more – it is so true!

I would
like to say the following:

“If you don’t
know your team and don’t treat them with respect – you will never get a high
performing team”, and I would like to add another quote from Eric:

“The
company’s greatest asset is its people, you need to care about them.” and extend
it slightly to include all your in-house consultants, I know that the majority
of managers that I have met, they see consultants as external, but most of the
time we use consultants as an alternative to in-house head counts (HC) due to
the way that our organization works. I have 3 consultants in my section, they
work in my teams as a full team member, they contribute to the teams work like
any other member with the same enthusiasm and they are equally eager to be
treated like a human being as our in-house team members.

There is
nothing like respect and openness to your team and team members, and this goes
for every team member, the only reason why we have consultants rather than
in-house HC is because the way our organization works, i.e. we have a budget
for HC and one for consultants. The only way I treat consultants different is
that I don’t have salary talk, and the company does not (normally) pay the
consultants additional education, but except from this, I believe that I treat
them exactly like any other HC, I have 1-1 with them every 2. week, I set continuously
targets for them, I want them to feel like they are part of the team in any way
that I can.

It is super
important that we empower the team, that we respect them and encourage
collaboration, there is no way that we can get high performing teams if we don’t
believe in them, HC or consultants, they are all human and have exactly the
same needs.

Why do we
want teams anyway?

I read this the other day http://www.agileconnection.com/article/empowering-agile-teams “….when
we empower teams, the IQ of the individuals actually goes up—that is, we
actually get smarter! And, sadly, the opposite is true: Controlling teams
actually causes team members’ individual cognitive power to decrease…”

And I would
like to add that the team spirit and energy you get from a high performing team
is so much more than the sum of the individual’s energy, you can sense the
energy floating from a high performing team, it is a truly exiting experience
to be near high performing and self-organizing teams.

You can
only get this kind of teams when you empower them, and that means all members of
the team, it means that you listen to them, it means that you allow them to
make mistakes, it means that they have fun together and that they are equal and
treated equal; the team members is not equal if you treat them different….