Imagine the transmission went out on your vehicle this week. An unexpected and unpleasant surprise, to be sure. Naturally your first call is to a respected and trusted mechanic, who begins asking all the questions:
Is it making any noises?
What does it do when you step on the gas pedal?
Do you have transmission fluid?
Do you know how to check if you have transmission fluid? LOL
The hunt for the source of the car’s issues can make you feel like Indiana Jones on one of his noble quests. Through the process you may become astonished and in awe of how many different parts are required to keep a car running. One little thing out of place and the whole car throws a fit that even a toddler in the back seat would side-eye.
This is similar to how our agencies work. How all the different parts: policies, procedures, people, and technology, all must come together in just the right order for our programs to run smoothly and successfully.
Truly unifying these different parts can be complicated, so let’s explore what all of this might involve.
Can’t we all just get along?
One definition of unity is “multiple things coming together to form a complex whole”. That definition definitely applies to both your car and every public housing agency EVER.
Any work environment with more than just one person will have different personalities and preferences floating around. Add in all the different policies and procedures of a PHA and much like the maze of unrecognizable hoses and wires in a car, it can sometimes come together to create a petri dish for conflict and chaos.
Each one of those aspects is necessary and important. Take one away, and the whole thing falls apart in one way or another. So, removing any one of these important parts is not the answer. In order to effectively deal with these types of issues, we have to ask 2 questions:
- How can we minimize the conflict?
- How can we channel the differences and diversity of our team to maximize performance and potential?
Sounds fancy, right? Very “self-help section.” But I promise you, getting the right perspective on these two aspects of your PHA can help you target your efforts in a way where they can make the most impact.
Putting talented and responsible employees together doesn’t guarantee success any more than throwing car parts together in a box. The parts themselves may be the best quality out there, but it is their ability to work together that determines success. In order to minimize conflict, our people must be invested in each other and the best way to cultivate investment is through collaboration.
According to TeamStage 33% of HR directors reported poor collaboration among employees as a leading cause of low team morale. Poor connections equal poor performance. Based on that information, it stands to reason that, high levels of collaboration, or connection, among employees will inherently increase morale, teamwork, and loyalty.
This is the perfect opportunity to utilize technology as a way to help unify your teams. According to a recent study 83% of employees are using online collaboration tools. And it’s paying off with a 30% increase in productivity… this is a winning people/technology combo!
Collaboration increases alignment and investment… both of which are necessary to produce an efficient and productive team.
While challenging to be sure, diverse teams will always outperform their invariable counterparts… up to 35% better actually! That is a significant difference.
While it might seem easier in the moment to put like-minded team members together, you won’t see the energy and innovation that produces high quality results and advances your agency. The same way a car battery requires both positive and negative terminals to allow the energy to flow through and create power, teams have a similar requirement. It is the differences in our strengths, weaknesses, and perspectives that creates the energy to move us forward.
And speaking of energy, having a diverse team ensures a lower occurrence of burn out. In fact, more than 60% of employees report that good teamwork relieves them of workplace exhaustion. When you have a team that boasts different strengths, it allows each member to do what they do best, and also relinquish those things that are draining to them. The result is highly productive, high-functioning teams who are invested in each other, the team, and the good of the agency.
It’s worth it!
Establishing a culture of unity and appreciation for one another’s differences is not easy. It takes every part working to their full potential to succeed. But the one thing you can be sure of is that your team members, your agency, and your community are worth the investment.
“Your company’s success is a direct result of the people you bring that support the vision. A business can have all the systems and processes in the world. They can follow strict guidelines and be innovative beyond their competition, but it takes a team that is fully invested to see success past the obstacles.”
– AMA Consulting Group