Everyone knows the cliche that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The saying comes from Thomas Reid’s Essays on the intellectual powers of man which was published in 1786. Basically, a chain is composed of parts that work together to perform a particular action. If one link is malfunctioning shouldn’t the other links pick up the proverbial slack? Anyone ever ridden a bicycle whose chain had a broken link? Ergo, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
Why is one link weaker compared to the other links in the chain? A mistake in the design process of the bicycle chain? The link was damaged during a bicycle ride? Proper maintenance not performed on the bicycle?
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. How does this relate to team productivity in the digital age?
In the digital age, teams work across diverse software platforms, as well as, with each team member’s unique strengths and weaknesses in communication skills. What are some things that can weaken a team’s ability to win in the digital age? A hypothetical example is listed below. One issue that arises in teams is complacency. Complacency can get into the DNA of a very productive team. Further, the team starts to take shortcuts just to complete work on time.
“We always have done things this way!” becomes the team mantra. The team leaders start to disengage from the team, and productivity drops. Hubris sets in and criticisms and critiques of the team performance are ignored. Hubris led to the downfall of many leaders and their nations over the past two thousand years. You don’t stay great by allowing complacency and hubris to germinate in a nation or company.
I think one way to avoid complacency and hubris is having team members rotate into different jobs, and projects so their skillsets stay relevant. Another idea is holding each team member accountable to the same standards for getting the work done. Also, in the digital age, new productive ideas germinate each day from web blogs, journals, and podcasts. In the team weekly meeting, give a few minutes were new productive ideas are brainstormed and tried for one month.