It was only recently that I found myself in a situation that made me realize that sometimes my ambitions outweigh my team’s reach. In a perfect world, teams are highly synchronized and not only share common ideals but are able to see a common vision. Unfortunately, in today’s world that is rarely the case. Instead, most teams are continuously battling the idea of reach vs ambition and it is very common that ambition ends up being the reason why some of today’s most synchronized work teams break apart.
While one person’s ambition to rule the world is often supplemented by other people’s abilities to bring it to life, it is often the definition of ruling the world that differs for each team member. While one person’s satisfaction ends with making a decent living, other people’s expectations go far beyond that of money and often create a clash in personality types.
So how can you test you team’s ambitions and how aligned they are with yours?
1 – Ask the simplest question: What is success to you?
Understanding what success looks like for each team member and understanding their desired outcomes from their work is key to understanding their limitations. Making sure their desires are aligned with your ambitions is always a great starting point.
2 – Test their commitment to the bigger picture.
While working on what they are best at is typically what most people do, test your team’s ability to get out of their comfort zone by giving them assignments outside of their immediate scope of work but more so related to the bigger goals at hand. Their ability to adapt quickly and seek out solutions when placed in a highly uncomfortable position is another great way to gauge how far they will take their reach.
3 – Sell them the opportunity, not the dream.
Selling someone a dream or exciting them about something is a great way to get their short term engagement (this is why MLMs work great in their first 3 months) but selling someone the opportunity is going to keep them around longer when the hard time hits. Selling someone a dream is no different than selling someone the idea of making lots of money. While it excites everyone, it also turns off everyone when the money takes longer to arrive, and also limits their ability to reach further as their financial goals are met earlier than expected.